The origins of Chinese cuisine can be traced back millennia. Chinese cuisine is extremely diverse with wide regional variations, and it is not uncommon for even Chinese people themselves to find the cuisine from another region to be completely foreign to them.
Through the Chinese Empire, Chinese culture has influenced lands such as today's Mongolia and Vietnam. The Chinese cuisine has for a long time been renowned in other Asian nations such as Korea and Japan.
In modern times, the Chinese diaspora has taken the Chinese cuisine with them to other parts of the world.
- Meat, especially pork, is ubiquitous. Lamb and goat are popular with Muslims and in general in western China.
- Poultry such as duck and chicken are popular.
- Rice is the archetypical staple food, though wheat products (such as wheat noodles) dominate in northern China.
- Vegetables are usually steamed, pickled, stir-fried or boiled.
Dairy products are not too common, though rubing, a form of goat cheese, is made in parts of Yunnan province. Bread is hardly ubiquitous by comparison with European countries, but there is a lot of good flatbread in northern China, and baodzi (Cantonese: bao) — buns — are integral to Cantonese dim sum.
Major Chinese cuisines hardly have any taboos, and especially the Cantonese cuisine has a reputation to include more or less any animal species.
In Muslim communities, pork and alcohol are taboo.