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Dietary Habits

In Guangzhou, "three meals a day" has long been something from the past. Today, the standard fare includes "three teas and two meals": morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, night tea, and a midnight snack. In here you can learn about the Guangzhou citizens' dietary habits.

In Guangzhou, "three meals a day" has long been something from the past. Today, the standard fare includes "three teas and two meals": morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, night tea, and a midnight snack.

Yum Cha

Yum cha (drinking tea) is a term in Cantonese which literally means "drinking tea". It refers to the custom of eating small servings of different foods while sipping Chinese tea. It is a lifestyle feature of Guangzhou folk and, as a gourmets' paradise, an integral part of the culinary culture of Guangzhou City.

For local people, yum cha is actually a social activity �C friends gather in a teahouse to chat, eat dim sum and drink tea. Teahouses are also places where business deals are struck and people enjoy their leisure time. For this reason, local people also call "yum cha", "tan cha", which means enjoying tea in Cantonese. The overwhelming popularity of this ritualized drinking of tea has given rise to a flourishing century-old teahouse industry. A large portion of Guangzhou's time-honored catering establishments are actually teahouses.

Although there are not strict rules of etiquette governing the proper conduct of yum cha, the guest usually tap the table with his forefinger and middle finger of the same hand when the host is refilling his cup; it's a gesture of gratitude to the host.

Teahouses in Guangzhou offer morning, noon and evening teas. The morning tea is typically on offer 4 to 11 am and evening team from the evening until 1 or 2 am the next morning. Some teahouses are open all night. Teahouses are often packed in the morning. On holidays, teahouses are so busy that customers usually have to wait for seats. In summer, teahouses are the favorite place for local people to enjoy some cooling moments.

Kung-Fu Tea Ceremony

Many Guangzhou citizens enjoy sipping "Kung-Fu tea" in their leisure time. Originally a way of preparing tea in Chaozhou and Shantou areas. Kung Fu Tea has become immensely popular in Guangzhou. "Kung-Fu" here actually means great skill, which is required as tea masters are very particular about the utensil, tea leaves, water quality, and brewing and serving methods. The level of skill required distinguishes "Kung-Fu tea" from others.

The Midnight Snack

As part of their daily rituals, Guangzhou people usually have midnight snack. After 10 pm, Making some snacks in their own kitchens or going out alone or with friends to a roadside food stall, teahouse or restaurant is a custom. Therefore, many downtown teahouses and restaurants offer "midnight snack" services.

Slow Cooked Soup

People in Guangzhou have been enjoying this soup for ages as a way to cope with the hot and humid climate in the Lingnan area and to remove internal humidity. This soup is prepared according to a medicated food recipe based on principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The varieties of the soup change with the seasons and, over the past few decades, broths have become an integral part of the local diet and are a hallmark of the local culinary culture… along with Guangzhou Cold Tea.

Local people prepare the Slow Cooked Soup in many different ways. Different ingredients and cooking techniques are used to produce soups of different tastes and dietary effects. Preparing this soup is not a tiresome task, but it is a time-consuming process, in fact, the preparation is not hard as long as the right ingredients can be obtained, properly mixed, and simmered for a sufficient number of hours.

Herbal Tea

Drinking herbal tea is a local habit. The herbal tea is prepared by simmering medicinal herbs which are cold in nature and able to remove internal heat in summer and alleviating sore throat in dry winter weather. Local people tend to suffer from excessive internal heat as they eat a lot of fried food and live in a city with a subtropical monsoon maritime climate thus, drinking cold tea has become a part of the local dietary habit.

The herbal tea has a long history in Guangzhou and is available in many varieties. Since the 1980s, a great diversity of herbal tea granules and soft-package herbal tea has been developed and become a favorite drink for many families in the summer.

Drinking Syrup

Guangzhou people enjoy drinking syrups all year-round. Local folk believe that drinking syrups prepared with medicinal herbs, beans, fresh fruits and flour are beneficial to the health and relieve internal heat and increasing body fluid. There are a wide variety of syrups, some of which are prepared with red and green beans; some taking the form of sesame, almond or peanut paste; some are mixed with lily bulb or lotus seeds to produce tonic effects; some are stewed with egg, pawpaw, sweet potato, sesames, ginger and buffalo milk, or uncongealed tofu. The syrup can be boiled and drunk hot or cooled in a freezer as a cold drink.

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