Chinese Food, American Style

It is often a standing joke that what Americans consider to be Chinese food is totally of our own making, and cooks and diners in China would find them completely foreign (like chop suey – what on earth is that?). But somewhere along the line, Chinese food was adapted from our Asian immigrants, Americanized and became wildly popular, not only as a take-out but served buffet-style and sit-down as well. Many dishes are accompanied by plain white, brown or fried rice. Let's review our most popular:

Dim Sum: bite-sized dumplings stuffed with veggies or meat, essentially a Cantonese preparation not always offered at many restaurants; can be also presented as small sampling dishes, depending on the menu and the cook's whim;

Hot and Sour Soup: a delightfully "sour" soup with a spicy broth, it contains red peppers or white pepper and vinegar; another favorite soup is a light broth with won ton (meat-filled dumplings);

Quick Noodles : a staple in every Chinese home and found on most Chinese restaurant menus, it comes in several versions, often called lo mein and may be plain or have veggies;

Szechwan Chilli Chicken: a fiery Sichuan delight loaded with pungent spices like ginger, green and red chillies and brown pepper; be careful if you are not a fan of hot chilli peppers;

Spring Rolls: Frequently a lighter version of traditional egg rolls, which are shredded meat and veggies encased in a papery thin dough, rolled and deep fried; a favorite to be sure;

Egg Foo Young : an egg pancake with veggies, often too bland for Chinese foodies, served with a brown sauce;

Shitake Fried Rice with water Chestnuts: mushrooms and water chestnuts are used frequently in Chinese cooking, and this is just another version of traditional fried rice; some things never go out of style;

Moo Shu: stir-fried veggies and meat, chicken, shrimp or tofu, rolled up in thin pancakes spread with plum sauce (this author's favorite dish);

Kung Pao Chicken: savory pieces of chicken cooked in a wok with veggies and flavored with peanuts and spices; from the time of the Qing Dynasty (circa 1876);

General Tso Chicken : deep-fried chicken dish in a tangy sauce, an all-time favorite; it may have been named in honor of a Qing dynasty military leader, but it's really anyone's guess;

Orange Chicken: another popular deep-fried chicken dish, coated with an orange sauce after cooking (not for a low-fat diet, to be sure);

Peking Duck: don't expect this specialty to be readily available at many Chinese restaurants, Peking duck harkens back to the Imperial Era (221 BC) and characterized by its thin, crisp skin; often must be ordered ahead of time but fit for an emperor;

Like many other cuisines, Chinese cooking uses sauces and seasonings native to their regions, which might include:

soy sauce
oyster sauce
sesame oil
rice vinegar
rice wine
soybean paste
star anise
five spice powder
chili sauce (or paste)
chili powder
sichuan peppercorns
black bean sauce

Many of these are available …

The Difference Between a Chinese and a Western Wedding Ceremony

Since the cultures of China and Western countries are quite different to each other, the weddings are quite different too. With the development of the technology, people know more about each other. And the world becomes smaller than usual. People have been influenced by each other. And they have to change their customs day by day. But there are still some differences between the Eastern and Western people.

The traditional Chinese wedding ceremony is quite complex. There are several important things should be done before the wedding. A matchmaker is needed to help the marriage. After the parents of the boy and girl made an agreement, the man should send bride-price gift to the girl's family. Bride-price is something like money or gold jewelries.

Before the wedding, the bride and the bridegroom could not see each other. Or there is something unhappy to occur. Both the families should prepare a lot for the wedding. And they would choose a lucky day to hold the wedding ceremony. The bridegroom should invite the relatives and friends to take part in his wedding ceremony. And the family of the bride should prepare amounts of things as the bride's dowry. In the past, parents would prepare some daily necessities for the new couple to start their new life. Now they would like to give the new couple money or house as the dowry.

At the wedding day, the bridegroom should go to greet the bride with a traditional band. The bridegroom is quite charming to ride on the horse. He must wear red robe and in a red hat. Unlike Western wedding, the bride wears black suits. Red in China shows happiness and good luck to the new couple. Then the bride leaves her parents to go to the bridegroom's home in a sedan which was carried by men. The bride wears a red Chinese style wedding dress and a Phoenix coronet. And there are several persons take her dowry with her.

Then the wedding ceremony should be hold at the lucky time. The couple would get down on their knees to thank for the God. Then they get down on their knees to thank for their parents. And they would ask their parents to drink their lucky tea. And the parents would give them some gifts in red envelopes to show their blessings. Finally, they would get down on their knees to thank for each other. Then they will be sent to their wedding room.

Chinese wedding is quite different from their traditional one now. Only some ethnic minorities will hold such a traditional wedding. Most of them would like the one between Chinese and Western style. They use the car to carry the bride instead of sedan. They do not get down on their knees on the wedding ceremony. Even some Chinese would choose the Western style wedding ceremony. Most of them do not wear the traditional wedding dress any more.

They keep the tradition to send the gifts to the new …

Chinese and Japanese Ancient Clothing

The Chinese were always a fashionable race and Chinese ancient clothing was largely influenced by all the dynasties which ruled it. The Han Chinese clothing or the Hanfu has the longest history of clothes worn. The Hanfu rules of dressing were followed strictly as a mark of respect for the culture. On the other hand, ancient Japanese clothing kept changing with every dynasty that ruled Japan. Since the Kimono is a national dress, it has always been mistaken for very ancient clothing worn by the Japanese people which is incorrect.

The basic design of the Ancient Chinese clothing Hanfu was largely developed during the Shang Dynasty. The Shang had two basic styles – the Yi which was the coat worn on top and the Shang whichwas the skirt worn beneath it. Buttons on any ancient Chinese clothing was substituted by a Sash. The clothing was in warm tones. The Zhou dynasty in western China varied in the sleeves being narrow as well as broad. The length of the skirt varied from knee length to the ankle and the different sizes and styles created a distinction between the people who wore them. Ancient Chinese clothing used minimal stitching on the garment and the use of embroidery and silk sashes to design the dresses.

Japanese ancient clothing was majorly influenced by Chinese clothing. Vigorous trade between Japan and its continental neighbors brought in Chinese dresses and styles into Japan during the Han Dynasty. The Tang styles and Sui dynasty from China influenced clothing in Japan while it was developing from a collection of loose clans to an Empire. All robes in Japan were to be worn from left to right just like the Chinese. Right to left was considered barbaric in China and the 'left over right' became the conventional rule of wearing a Kimono ever since. During the Heian period (894 specifically), Chinese influence began dying out and Chinese characters began being abbreviated in Japanese script. The Heian court was taken to sensitivity of art and subtle beauty and wardrobe became much more detailed. Colors, combinations and fabric textures changed and separated themselves from Chinese influence.

After the Heian period, the Kamakura period saw a number of clashes and war clans within Japan. The ancient Japanese clothing soon underwent another change and now clothes became more functional. The number of layers and broad sleeved clothes were shunned for more usable clothing. Soon the imperial land split into a southern and northern court and these people lives got influenced by the soft court life. Fights resumed and the gradual decadence is obvious in the elaborate dresses of the period. Women had stopped wearing the Hakama and the robes were lengthened to ankle level. Veils and robes over the head were some strange ways experimented and worn during this time.

Japanese ancient clothing was mainly robes and most of the patterns and designs were religious and auspicious. Dragons were printed with nine yellow dragons and five cloud patterns. These heavily embroidered robes were …

Are Chinese Women the New "Trophy Wives"?

It is a fact. Everywhere you look, more and more rich foreign guys are marrying Chinese women, especially in places with a dense Chinese population, like in the US. In cities like Los Angeles and New York it is common to see Chinese women shopping in expensive brand stores with their mixed children. So, what is it that got these guys ignoring all the skinny busty blondes and pursuing Chinese girls?

There are probably multiple answers to this question, but one that seems to come up over and over again is the fact that Chinese women tend to care more for their families. In these uncertain days, when every year seems to bring about a new financial crisis, more and more western women are investing time in their careers, while putting their families a little aside. Western men, in the other hand, have been watching helplessly as their women slowly take over their role as being the sole financial support of the household. The truth still remains: men enjoy having a wife to look after them, to look after the children and to keep things running around the house. Knowing that they have a wife that depends on them, gives them a feeling of dominance, which just makes them feel a little bit more like a man.

The last decade has brought about the rise of women to power. Never before have so many women attended universities and occupied important governmental and corporate positions. Western women love to boast the fact that they are financially independent, because to them it is almost like coming out from years of reclusion and finally being able to see the sunlight. Its like showing off the prize for winning a long and strenuous battle. What women didn´t really count on all these years, is that you may be able to change the way society thinks, but you can´t change the laws of nature.

It is a fact that women love to feel secure. When looking for a partner, most women will even put financial security ahead of many other aspects and this is something that they do even unconsciously. Even those women who have a thriving career and are completely financially secure, will not allow themselves to marry or even fall in love with a man who earns less than them or who has an inferior education. Not to mention the old saying that women love guys with expensive cars and pockets full of money. It´s not about the steel shaped structure in form of an expensive car they love so much. It´s not about the greenish colored rectangular piece of paper with dollar signs printed on it. For women, it´s all about the sense of security and confidence, which these objects are able to bring them.

In this scenario, where the figure of the male provider is coming to an end, Chinese women have come to fill a gap. Most adult Chinese women today were raised by very traditional parents, who taught them …