Eating is a dominant aspect of Chinese culture, and in China, eating out is one of the most common ways to honour guests. Similar to Westerners, eating together in China is a way to socialize and deepen friendships.
Table etiquette is very important to Chinese people. In Chinese culture, using correct table manners is believed to bring “luck” while incorrect use will bring shame. Similarly, table etiquette indicates children’s educational status: holding chopsticks incorrectly leaves a bad impression and shames the parents, who have the responsibility of teaching them. In casual settings, and sometimes with the youth, many of these table manners go by the wayside. In formal settings, if you watch closely, these table manners become more apparent.
When we use the term ‘cheap eats’ and ‘Toronto’ – table etiquette does not apply.
In the 19th century, Chinese in San Francisco operated sophisticated and sometimes luxurious restaurants patronized mainly by Chinese, while restaurants in smaller towns served what their customers requested, ranging from pork chop sandwiches and apple pie to beans and eggs. These smaller restaurants developed Western Chinese cuisine when they modified their food to suit a more Western palate. First catering to miners and railroad workers, they established new eateries in towns where Chinese food was completely unknown, adapting local ingredients and catering to their customers’ tastes.
Stir frying, pan frying, and deep frying tend to be the most common Chinese cooking techniques used in Western Chinese cuisine, which are all easily done using a wok.