A Bite of China – Best food TV ever

When you think about China, what’s the first thing in your mind? Is it the giant population? The amazing speed of GDP growth? ‘Made in China’ all over the place?

Or is it our ancient hieroglyphic writing ? The wisdom of Confucius? Or the world famous Great Wall?

If you have never been to China before though, your closest contact with our culture probably comes not through your mind but through your mouth – every time you go to a Chinese restaurant.

Food plays a very important part in Chinese people’s life. In your country, when you meet some friends on the street, you might greet them with ‘How are you?’ then chat about the weather a little bit. But we often greet people with ‘Have you eaten?’. We even ask strangers! If you come to China, and happen to manage a conversation with a Chinese person, he might well ask you ‘Have you eaten?’, then invite you to have dinner with his family (if you say no).

Have you eaten

But if you think real Chinese food is anything like the Chinese take away near your house, you’ll be very wrong. China is a country with vast expanse of territory, a rich diversity of natural resources and cultural traditions. All of this comes together in the mouthwatering variety of Chinese cuisine.

Luckily there is a great way to immerse yourself in Chinese food culture that goes far beyond your local takeaway. A Bite of China is a hugely popular TV series from China Central Television (CCTV). Now in its third season, the program introduces different regions of China through their typical local dishes. You not only learn about the kind of food people commonly eat, but also experience the different landscapes and ways of life in these places.

A Bite of China really is a beautifully produced TV programme (which, to be honest, is unusual on Chinese television. In fact, the Guardian said it’s the best food TV series ever made.

To more than tickle your tastebuds, here are the full first two seasons:

Series one

Series two

What do you think?

Our Correspondent
Cult China correspondent
Jia Jia - Shanghai

Recently described by Bill Murray as a "ridiculous person", I was born in a little town near Guilin in the south of China where people eat cats and rats. I hunted snakes for fun when I was a kid. Now I'm living ...

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Continent: Asia
Capital: Beijing
Population: 1,330,044,000
Area: 9,596,960 km2
Currency: Yuan Renminbi
Languages: Chinese

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