Unit 9 Chinese Food
Part I Reading Comprehension and Language Activities
Part II Extended Activities
Part I Reading Comprehension and
Language work (A, B, C)
Part I Reading Comprehension and
1. Do you prefer Chinese food or Western food?
What is your favourite dish?
2. Do you think cuisine reflects the cultural
characteristics of a people?
Turn to p. 161
"Few things in life are as positive as food, or are taken as intimately
and completely by the individual. One can listen to music, but the sound
may enter in one ear and go out through the other; one may listen to a
lecture or conversation, and day-dream about many other things; one
may attend to matters of business, and one's heart or interest may be
altogether elsewhere... In the matter of food and eating however one can
hardly remain completely indifferent to what one is doing for long. How
can one remain entirely indifferent to something which is going to enter
one's body and become part of oneself? How can one remain indifferent
to something which will determine one's physical strength and ultimately
one's spiritual and moral fibre and well-being?”
- Kenneth Lo
This is an easy question for a Chinese to ask, but a Westerner might
find it difficult to answer. Many people in the West are gourmets and
others are gluttons, but scattered among them also is a large number of
people who are apparently pretty indifferent to what goes into their
stomachs, and do not regard food as having any ultimate moral effect on
them. How, they might ask, could eating a hamburger or drinking Coca
Cola contribute anything to making you a saint or a sinner? For them,
food is quite simply a fuel.
Kenneth Lo, however, expresses a point of view that is profoundly
different and typically Chinese, deriving from thousands of years of
tradition. The London restaurateur Fu Tong, for example, quotes no less
an authority than Confucius (the ancient Sage known in Chinese as
K'ung-Fu-Tzu) with regard to the primal importance of food. Food, said
the sage, is the first happiness. Fu Tong adds: "Food to my countrymen is
one of the ecstasies of life, to be thought about in advance; to be
smothered with loving care throughout its preparation; and to have time
lavished on it in the final pleasure of eating."
Lo observes that when Westerners go to a restaurant they ask for a
good table, which means a good position from which to see and be seen.
They are usually there to be entertained socially -- and also, incidentally,
to eat. When the Chinese go to a restaurant, however, they ask for a small
room with plain walls where they cannot be seen except by the members
of their own party, where jackets can come off and they can proceed with
the serious business which brought them there. The Chinese intentions
"are both honourable and whole-hearted: to eat with a capital E."
Despite such a marked difference in attitudes towards what one
consumes, there is no doubt that people in the West have come to regard
the cuisine of China as something special. In fact, one can assert with
some justice that Chinese food is, nowadays, the only truly international
food. It is ubiquitous. Restaurants bedecked with dragons and delicate
landscapes -- serving Such exotic as Dim Sin Gai (sweet and sour
chicken), and Shao Shing soup, Chiao-Tzu and Kuo-Tioh (northern style),
and Ging Ai Kwar (steamed aubergines) -- have sprung up everywhere
from Hong Kong to Honolulu to Hoboken to Huddersfield.
How did this come about? Certainly, a kind of Chinese food was exported to
North America when many thousands of Chinese went there in the 19th century to
work on such things as the U.S. railways. They settled on or near the west coast,
where the famous or infamous "chop suey joints" grew up, with their rather
inferior brand of Chinese cooking. The standard of the restaurants improved
steadily in the United States, but Lo considers that the crucial factor in spreading
this kind of food throughout the Western world was population pressure in the
British colony of Hong Kong, especially after 1950, which sent families out all over
the world to seek their fortunes in the opening of restaurants. He adds, however,
that this could not have happened if the world had not been interested in what the
Hong Kong Chinese had to cook and sell. He detects an increased interest in
sensuality in the Western world: "Colour, texture, movement, food, drink, and rock
music---- all these have become much more part and parcel of the average
person's life than they have ever been. It is this increased sensuality and the
desire for greater freedom from age-bound habits in the West, combined with the
inherent sensual concept of Chinese food, always quick to satisfy the taste buds,
that is at the root of the sudden and phenomenal spread of Chinese food
throughout the length and breadth of the Western World."
There is no doubt that the traditional high-quality Chinese meal
is a serious matter, fastidiously prepared and fastidiously enjoyed.
Indeed, the bringing together and initial cutting up and organising of
the materials is about 90% of the actual preparation, the cooking
itself being only about 10%. This 10% is not, however a simple matter.
There are many possibilities to choose from; Kenneth Lo, for
example, lists forty methods available for the heating of food, from
chu or the art of boiling to such others as ts 'ang, a kind of stir-frying
and braising, t'a, deep-frying in batter, and wei, burying food in hot
solids such as charcoal, heated stones, sand, salt and lime.
The preparation is detailed, and the enjoyment must therefore
match it. Thus a proper Chinese meal can last for hours and proceed
almost like a religious ceremony. It is a shared experience for the
participants, not a lonely chore, with its procession of planned and
carefully contrived dishes, some elements designed to blend, others
to contrast. Meat and fish, solids and soups, sweet and sour sauces,
crisp and smooth textures, fresh and dried vegetables -- all these and
more challenge the palate with their appropriate charms.
In a Chinese meal that has not been altered to conform to
Western ideas of eating, everything is presented as a kind of buffet,
the guest eating a little of this. a little of that. Individual portions as
such are not provided. A properly planned dinner will include at
least one fowl, one fish and one meat dish, and their presentation
with appropriate vegetables is not just a matter of taste but also a
question of harmonious colours. The eye must be pleased as well
as the palate; if not, then a certain essentially Chinese element is
missing, an element that links this cuisine with that most typical
and yet elusive concept Tao. Emily Hahn, an American who has
lived and worked in China, 'has a great appreciation both of
Chinese cooking and the "way" that leads to morality and harmony.
She insists that "there is moral excellence in good cooking", and
adds that to the Chinese, traditionally, all life. all action and all
knowledge are one. They may be chopped up and given parts with
labels, such as "Cooking". "Health", "Character" and the like. but
none is in reality separate from the other. The smooth harmonies
and piquant contrasts in Chinese food are more than just the
products of recipes and personal enterprise. They are an
expression of basic assumptions about life itself.
Keenth Le is a Chinese British, well-known gourmet and
successful restaurant owner. He is the author of a
number of books on food.
attend to matters of business: take care of business
and ultimately one's spiritual and moral fiber and well-
being: Food can determine whether a person is
spiritually and morally strong and sound.
quotes no less an authority than Confucius … : cites
as important an authority as Confucius.
No less than: as much as.
e.g. I paid no less than $ 25for the book.
with regard to the primal importance of food: in
relation to the supreme importance of food.
to be smothered ... through its preparation: Great
love and care are to be given to the preparation of
food. to smother... with ...: to give an excessive
amount of something (such as love / attention /
care etc) to ...
to have time lavished on it ... pleasure of eating: to
spend plenty of time enjoying the food
plain walls: walls unadorned with paintings, picture,
proceed with the serious business: go on with the
serious business of eating.
to eat with a capital E: to perform the ceremonious
act of eating, i.e., to eat really seriously.
Hoboken: a city in the eastern part of the USA.
Huddersfield: a town near Leeds. Bradford and
Manchester in the UK.
Certainly, a kind of Chinese food... as the US railways:
Many Chinese emigrated to America (especially to
the western part of the USA) in the 19th century to
work on railway construction jobs and they brought
with them some kind of Chinese food.
chop suey joints: small restaurants serving a Chinese-style
dish of meat stewed and fried with bean sprouts,
bamboo shoots, onions, and served with rice. Joint: an
informal term for a cheap restaurant or night club
(usually in poor condition).
…all these have become much more part and parcel of the
average person life: Sensual pleasures (color, money.
e.g. He can notsbuy it because of his lack oftexture,
movement, food, drink, rock music) have become an
important pan, of people’s lives in the West.
quick to satisfy the taste buds: (Chinese
cooks are always) ready to satisfy people’s
desire for tasty food. taste buds: small
points on the surface of one’s tongue,
sensitive to the flavor of food or drink
phenomenal spread: incredibly widespread,
spread to a very large area.
The length and breadth of : in or through every
It is a shared experience …others to contrast:
eating a Chinese meal in a restaurant is a
communal experience of sharing many
different kinds of dishes, painstakingly
designed to create special effects.
…all these and more challenge the palate: the rich
variety of Chinese food will never fail to attract
In a Chinese meal that has …as a kind of buffet: The
Chinese have not changed their way of eating to
follow the Western practice. In a Chinese meal, food
is presented as a kind of buffet, with each person
helping himself to the individual dishes.
The eye must be pleased as well as the palate: Chinese food
is pleasant to see as well as to taste.
… there is moral excellence in good cooking: there is a
spiritual dimension to Chinese cooking in that when eating
one participates in the ultimate unity and interconnectedness
of all life (food, animals, plants, fruits, human beings, water,
etc.) that is, participates in Tao– the ultimate oneness and
harmony of the universe.
Comprehension work （P 164)
(Discuss the following questions.)
1. What is Kenneth Lo’s view of food and
2. How does Lo's view contrast with the
approach common among the
3. What authority is cited to support Lo's
(Discuss the following questions)
4. What difference is there between typical
Westerners and Chinese in their
behaviour in a restaurant?
5. How has Chinese food fared in the world
at large? How has this come about?
6. What is a "proper Chinese meal" like?
And how does it reflect the basic cultural
characteristics of the Chinese?
Language work (A, p. 165)
1. The manager of the indebted company was elusive. He could
not be reached by phone. So finally, we had to ask the police
for help. ( hard to find/catch)
2. On National Day the city’s main streets are bedecked with
flags and colourful balloons. ( decorated )
3. To cater to public curiosity, the media often lavish their
attention on the private lives of some movie stars. (spend too
4. The audience cheered in ecstasy when their football team
scored a decisive goal in the last minute of the match. (great
Language work (A, p.165)
5. We have to consider the inherent risk of investing in that
country because of its political situation. (innate/in-built)
6. Hardly can you be free from the assault of those ubiquitous
garish advertisements that aim to lure you into buying this or
that. (be present everywhere )
7. The young man’s father, whose foresight had saved the
country from plunging into war, was regarded as a sage in
the kingdom. ( an old and wise man)
8. If human beings are to survive, they must live in harmony with
Nature.( a state of peaceful agreement )
Language work (B, p.166)
1. Beautiful packages can create a dream, and that is the at the
root of their appeal.
2. The pop singer’s fame has dramatically dropped, but he does
not know how this has come about.
3. In English there are many loaned words that are derived from
Latin and Greek.
4. With regard to food supply, our logistics division will attend to
5. Every hotel must install a fire warning system which conforms
to the requirements of the local government.
Language work (B, p.166)
6. As soon as war was over, the administration began to attend
to the reconstruction of the local economy.
7. The closing down of unprofitable overseas branches is part
and parcel of the company’s plan to save money.
8. After answering a question from someone in the audience, the
lecturer proceeded with his speech.
9. Children would fail to make progress, if their teachers and
parents remain indifferent to their success.
10. The peaceful settlement of the ethnic clash in the region was
welcomed through out the lengthen and breadth of the
Language work (C, p.166)
1. a. He looked as if he was attending to his work, but actually he
was thinking about the football match he saw the night before.
b. She was apparently attending closely to her school work,
yet her thoughts were altogether elsewhere.
c. You never seem to attend to what I say, so there’s no point
in your coming to my classes.
Language work (C, p.167)
2. a. In the matter of a job interview, your success
largely depends on your own confidence.
b. In the matter of family planning, people have
to understand why it is important to stop
population from growing too fast.
c. In the matter of life and death, very few of us
can remain as calm as he did.
Language work (C, p.167)
3. a. Matha observed philosophically, “life is full of
b. In his speech, the President observed that the
economy would improve in the following year.
c. The manager observed that the company would
need restructuring to enhance its market
Language work (C, p.167)
4. a. Being recognized in the street is part and parcel
of being famous.
b. These things happen to be part and parcel of my
c. Keeping accounts is part and parcel of my job.
Language work (C, p.167)
5. a. I have nothing to say with regard to your
b. I am writing to you with regard to your letter
on March 15th.
c. He wants to speak to you with regard to your
personal financial situation.
Language work (C, p.167)
6. a. Sam has no appreciation of the finer things in
b. She has little or no appreciation of good music.
c. Charlie has a great appreciation of both
classical architecture and Chinese calligraphy.
Part III Extended Activities
Script of the Dictation
There may come a time when you feel you want to give a
dinner-party. It is a pleasant way of offering hospitality to
friends or business associates. Operate within your capabilities
and allow time to prepare. You don’t have to clean the house
first, but be sure it is tidy and welcoming with no heaps of
newspapers in the corners or dead flowers in vases. Strangers
don’t usually notice details, so ignore them yourself and relax
once your guests have arrived. There are several vital
ingredients in a successful dinner-party: the food and drinks are
important, your house should be warm and delightful and, if
possible, bedecked with flowers. And you should be in
command of yourself, your family, and for the time being, your
a. 1. to be fooled
2. to let
3. to blame
4. to be invited
5. to be hold
6. to come
7. to win
8. to be found
9. to do
10. to be sold
b . 1.They are to have their wedding next month.
2. He is to be congratulated on his brilliant discovery.
3. If it were to rain tomorrow, the match would be postponed.
4. Don’t despair. The best is yet to come.
5. That was in 1550. He was to sail to the New World of
America in the following year.
6. You are not to talk in the reading-room.
7. The new traffic regulations are to be observed.
8. The route is to be planned before the expedition.
1. The landlady told me that the rent must be paid in advance.
2. Although this company boasts that its products are superior to
those of other companies, they are actually inferior in quality.
3. What lies at the root of the problem is their lack of interest.
4. The police interviewed several witnesses, but none of them
could tell how the accident came about.
5. The new building of the department store does not conform to
the safety regulations.
6. She derived great satisfaction from her stamp collection.
7. Colorful balloons and flags added to the festival atmosphere of
the small town.
8. Money is very important, but happiness is not always
associated with wealth.