We all know that this year’s Edmonton Heritage Festival has migrated online. At World FM, we wanted to help raise excitement for the release of the online Heritage Festival experience on August 1st. Click HERE to check out the website and read more about what they have planned.

 

We want to take this week to introduce our audience to some of the different cultures we show on World FM. Today we’re going to learn about China from Steffi, one of our Chinese program hosts. Catch Mandarin from 1-3 and Cantonese from 3-4 on 101.7 World FM.

 

Without further ado, here are words from Steffi: 

 

My home country is the People’s Republic of China. China is an ancient country with rich culture and long history. With the economic development in 40 years, it shows the vitality of China to the world.

Facts and Statistics about PRC (China): PRC is a country in East Asia. It is the world’s most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion in 2019. The country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometers.

Capital: Beijing

Landscape: The landscape of China is vast and diverse, ranging from the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts in the drier north to the subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from much of South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China’s coastline is 14,500 kilometers long and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East China, and South China seas.

Climate: There is a huge temperature difference in China between winter and summer. In the winter, northern winds coming from high-latitude areas are cold and dry; in summer, southern winds from coastal areas at lower latitudes are warm and moist.

Biodiversity: China is a megadiverse country. It is said that China has over 34,687 species of animals and vascular plants, making it the third-most biodiverse country in the world, after Brazil and Colombia.

Now the giant panda is considered as China’s national symbol, it is a conservation-reliant vulnerable species.

Ethnic Group: The People’s Republic of China legally recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups, who altogether comprise the Zhonghua Minzu. The largest group is the ethnic Chinese or “Han”, who constitutes more than 80% of the population. Ethnic minorities are about less than 25% of the population of China, according to the 2010 census.

Language: By a measure, there are 292 living languages in China. The official national language is standard Mandarin which is spoken by 70% of the population, and other varieties of Chinese language: Yue, Wu, Min, Xiang, Gan, and Hakka. Other ethnic minority languages include Tibetan, Qiang, Naxi, Yi, Zhuang, Thai, Dong, Sui, Miao, Yao, Wa, Manchu, Mongolian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Salar, Korean, Sarikoli, etc. Chinese characters have been used as the written script for thousands of years. In 1956, the government introduced simplified characters, which have been replaced the older traditional characters in mainland China.

Literature: Chinese literature is based on the literature of the Zhou dynasty. Concepts covered within the Chinese classic texts present a wide range of thoughts and subjects including calendar, military, astrology, herbology, geography, and many others. The Four Books and Five Classics served as the Confucian authoritative books for the state-sponsored curriculum in the dynastic era. Classical Chinese poetry reached its peak during the Tang dynasty. Li Bai and Du Fu were the masters of romanticism and realism poetry respectively. In the Ming and Qing dynasty, the Four Great Classical Novels which include Water Margin, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West, and Dream of the Red Chamber marked the milestones of Chinese classical fiction. With the influence of the New Culture Movement after the end of the Qing dynasty, Chinese literature stepped in a new era with written vernacular Chinese for ordinary citizens. Hu Shih and Lu Xun were pioneers in modern literature. Mo Yan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012.

Cuisine: Chinese cuisine is highly diverse. It is well known that there are “Eight Major Cuisines”, including Sichuan, Cantonese, Jiangsu, Shandong, Fujian, Hunan, Anhui, and Zhejiang cuisines. Each of them is featured by unique and fine skills in shaping, heating, and flavoring. Chinese cuisine is also famous for its variety of cooking methods and ingredients, and Chinese people value food therapy to maintain their own health.

Peking Duck

Peking duck is a historical dish that has been served since the imperial era. Generally, people mostly enjoy duck’s thin, crisp skin and little meat. The chef will slice the meat in front of customers. After raised for 65 days, ducks will be slaughtered and seasoned before being roasted in a hung oven. The dish is often eaten with spring onion, cucumber and sweet bean sauce with pancakes rolled around the fillings.

Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head is a dish from the Huaiyang cuisine of eastern China. The dish consists of large pork meatballs stewed with vegetables. There are two different cooking methods: plain and cooked with soy sauce. The plain dish is usually stewed or steamed with napa cabbage. Another type of dish can be stewed with cabbage or cooked with bamboo shoots and tofu. The name “lion’s head”, originates from the shape of the meatball. In Chinese culture, the lion has been considered as a guardian of the home.

Laziji

Laziji, also known as spicy chicken, is a dish of Sichuan cuisine. The dish consists of marinated then deep-fried pieces of chicken, dried Sichuan chili peppers, spicy bean paste, Sichuan peppers, garlic, and ginger.

Chongqing Hotpot

Chongqing hotpot is well known as a spicy hotpot. When eating a hotpot, people will put the food in the container, wait till it is ready, then dip it in the sauce and eat. There is a variety of food that could be used to cook in the hotpot, such as beef, pork, chicken, fish, duck blood, vegetables, and more.

Chongqing Hotpot is not only an iconic food but also represents the core of Chongqing’s food culture. When eating the hotpot, families, and friends gather together, it is the perfect food choice for the traditional Chinese culture of reunion.

Long-simmered Chinese Soups

Long-simmered Chinese soups are generally cooked by the Cantonese people. This soup is often simmered with low heat for several hours with meat, dried herbs, vegetables, and edible fungi, like dried mushroom or wood ear. The Cantonese usually pair different species of ingredients to reinforce health-benefiting functions of the soup.

Yangzhou Fried Rice

Yangzhou fried rice is a typical Chinese-style fried rice dish in many Chinese restaurants throughout the world. The ingredients may vary, but some of its key items include cooked rice, BBQ pork, green onion, egg, and vegetables. The cook prefers to use a wok, in which they can quickly cook all the ingredients.

Crossing-the-bridge Noddles

Crossing-the-bridge noodles is a rice noodle soup from Yunnan province, China. It is one of the iconic dishes in Yunnan cuisine. The dish is served with a large bowl of boiling hot broth and various ingredients. The soup base is made with chicken, pork bone. Also, the cook uses a layer of chicken fat to keep the broth warm for longer. Those ingredients are placed separately in plates. Staple ingredients include thin slices of turkey, chunks of chicken, strips of bean curd sheets, chives, sprouts, bamboo shoots, and rice noodles. Once added into the broth, it cooks quickly in just a few minutes.

Dim Sum

Dim sum is prepared as bite-sized portions of food served in small steamer baskets or on a small plate. Dim sum is generally derived from Cantonese. Dim sum dishes are usually served with tea then form a brunch.

In Cantonese area, enjoying Dim Sum in a restaurant is treated as a weekend family event. Generally, a dim sum brunch includes a variety of food, such as steamed buns, sticky rice, wheat dumplings, rice noodle rolls, water chestnut cake, and egg tart, etc.

Festival:

Lunar New Year:

Lunar New Year is one of the most important Chinese festivals that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the Chinese lunar calendar. It is also a significant holiday for all family members to reunite and celebrate together.

During Lunar New Year, red envelopes are passed out from married people to unmarried juniors or children. The meaning of the money is to suppress or put down the evil spirit. Besides, people are encouraged to wear red clothes throughout the Chinese New Year. They believe that red could scare away evil spirits and bad fortune.

Dragon Boat Festival:

The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional holiday originating in China, occurring near the summer solstice. The festival now occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese calendar, which is the source of the festival’s alternative name, the Double Fifth Festival.

Three of the most widespread activities conducted during the Dragon Boat Festival are eating (and preparing) zongzi (rice dumpling), drinking realgar wine, and racing dragon boats.

Mid-Autumn Festival:

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival celebrated by the Chinese people. The festival is held on the 15th day of August on the lunar calendar with a full moon at night. The traditional food eaten in the Mid-Autumn Festival is mooncakes, which is a rich pastry typically filled with lotus seed paste, nuts, or meat.

 

Head to heritagefest.ca between August 1st and 3rd to explore the virtual map and choose a pavilion to visit. Each country page is unique, and you’ll find performances, recipes, photos, history of the culture and their association, and more! Visit the Multicultural Market to shop for unique items submitted from pavilions. It is important to note that we as people have more in common across various ethnicities than differences. 

 

NEXT: Learn more about the Philippines!