Food in Philosophies

Chinese cooking is not only delicious and visually beautiful, but masterfully incorporates the Taoist principles of yin and yang. Taken literally, yin and yang mean the dark side and sunny side of a hill.  People commonly think of yin and yang as opposing forces.  However, it is really more appropriate to view them as complementary pairs.

The Yin and Yang concept is based on the idea of opposites set in balance to create harmony at the table and in the body. If this balance is not achieved, the Chinese believe the body becomes vulnerable to illness. There are multiple ways yin and yang are balanced, and here are just a few examples of how the Chinese incorporate these principles into a meal.

When adhere Chinese dish to the philosophy, certain foods are thought to have yin or cooling properties, while others have warm, yang properties.  The challenge is to consume a diet that contains a healthy balance between the two.  When treating illnesses, an Oriental physician will frequently advise dietary changes in order to restore a healthy balance between the yin and yang in the body.

Besides ingredients, Cooking techniques are also classified into yin and yang methods. Steaming, poaching and boiling are said to be yin methods while deep-fat frying, stir-frying, pan frying and roasting are yang methods. Balance is created in a meal by using a mixture of yin and yang methods.

Decoration with Yin and Yang Symbol.