BA KUT TEH
(Spiced Pork Bone Soup)
HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE
HOKKIEN FRIED NOODLES
(Hokkien-style Fresh Spring Roll)
A little can go a long way when there are several kinds of ingredients cut small, tossed into a hot kuali (wok) with a little oil and stir-fried with fragrant garlic and salted soya beans. Cutting food into bite-size pieces makes for rapid, even cooking. Small pieces are also easier to eat when you are manipulating two thin pieces of wood to pick up your food, and they simplify sharing in the communal style of eating. Although large chunks of meat are not unknown, these are braised until the meat falls away from the bone and can be eaten in bite-sizes, or else the meat is cut into small pieces before being taken to the table.
While stir-frying is very Chinese, so is steaming, where the prepared food is placed in bamboo steamers over a kuali of boiling water. Equally popular is braising or stewing, long slow cooking with such basic seasonings as garlic, soy sauce, bean paste or oyster sauce which turns tough cuts into favourable melting morsels. Deep-fryng or stir-frying are sometimes combined with braising or steaming. A sauce can be prepared with stock, rice wine, soy sauces, sweet-smelling greens such as spring onions and coriander leaves and other colourful vegetables, to be poured over the deep-fried ingredients.
Many Chinese dishes combine several vegetables with meat or seafood, making for naturally colourful food. Pit-roasting is another cooking technique to get that delicacy of roasted suckling pig, and various roasted meats are done in kiln-like ovens or large drums, although Chinese "roast" chicken is actually deep-fried.
Although it may appear that the Chinese, "cooling" or "yin" while others were "heaty" or "yang" and some were neutral. The human constitution was classified the same way, with some people being more ying and some people being more yang.
Balancing the yin and yang in your bady by eating the ocrrect foods kept you in good health, and it was therefore important to eat everything in moderation and to eat a wide range to get the right balance. The concept is thought-provoking and certainly it remains a great conversation topic for Singaporeans of all races at meal times.