Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chinese “ Figure ”

In China, whenever foreigner (Indians are also foreigners here) ladies meet each other they can’t skip a topic to discuss, It’s Chinese “figure”!!!

My friends from diplomatic community keep telling stories how they can’t find clothes that suit their size. And how Chinese shopkeeper ladies blatantly comment on their XXL size! (Chinese do comment blatantly just as us!)

Indian friends keep discussing, “Yeh Chinese kitni slim hoti hai yaar!” “Unki kamar bhi dekho kitni patli hoti hai!”

Then obviously we foreigners keep discussing what Chinese eat, how they eat n the possible reasons of their “figure”.

In my China stay I am trying to unveil the secrets behind this Chinese “figure”. As sometimes I also feel jealous of their skin, especially texture, color and the glow. These do apply to Chinese women and men too! What I revealed observed is that they really have balanced lifestyle.

In our initial days in Beijing, we used to go in a nearby park in the evenings for a stroll. The park used to be always crowded with people, many of them having their after dinner stroll @ 6.30 pm. Initially I used to wonder, if they eat at 6.30 evening don’t they feel hungry again? Then I got to know, most of them do sleep @9.00 pm, means 2 hrs after dinner. So no chance to feel hungry! I know how some Indians feel proud if they eat late. Or it’s a status symbol or just to show how busy we are?

Here you will find around 11.30 am or 6.30 pm every single Chinese is busy having his meal. Yes! They are really “time ke pakke” when it comes to food. I have found Chinese do their “petpooja” on-time wherever they are! Like Muslim people do “namaz” on their time wherever they might be! They do put their snacks on their office table or in drawers or in bags and keep eating every after say 2-3 hrs.

I would say it’s not merely time, they are very scientific when it comes to food. I mean the proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber, minerals, vitamins etc., etc. No wonder why they are ahead in sports. Not only that they have crossed their average height. It has certainly to do with their food-habits and lifestyle.

Worth mentioning thing is that even in Chinese restaurants, where vegetarian dishes are available I found variety of dishes containing vegetables and tofu. And those were tasty! Compared to that I didn’t find much variety in noodles or rice, I mean carbohydrates. So, this balanced food is not just with home-made food.

I still remember my first visit to vegetable market. I was surprised to see the heaps of vegetables and fruits at vegetable markets here. Such bliss for a vegetarian! Further I was shocked to see people carrying bags full of fruits. No doubt compared to India here fruits are abundant and so affordable too. One more thing I have noticed about fruits is that fruit plate is invariably the last item in the Chinese dinners! Before coming here I had heard scary stories how Chinese are snake eaters, dog eaters but I found them as fruit eaters (too)! Might be because I couldn’t dare to visit non-veg section second time again :-). Fact is that they eat plenty of fruits and they don’t at all consider it as “bimar aadmi ka khana”. Actually, I have seen Chinese people enjoying their “falahaar” in metro, bus stations, on roads too.

I can’t resist sharing this with you. I do remember the shocking “nazar” of our Ayi (maid) when first time she saw me putting salt in sabji. (As per Indian standards of salt, I believe I use less salt.) Chinese eat very less salt. They call it original taste of the food. They can’t enjoy Indian popular dishes like snacks, Indian tea and esp. our sweets!

This reminded me of the incident I heard from my husband. Once he hosted a dinner for his Chinese counterpart in an Indian restaurant. As a sweet dish he ordered “Gulab-Jamun”. When the Chinese man tasted the syrup he instantly added water in that!!! To his taste it was too sweet. Yes! Chinese can’t bear Indian level of sweet. They are really amazing or it’s Indians?

And I need not to say anything about green tea, everyone knows about it. It’s essential part of Chinese life. Especially, in winter one can see Chinese do carry a green tea bottle with them literally for 24 hrs. They do sip their tea frequently to keep them hydrated, warm, cold-cough free. Traditionally, they don’t drink iced cold water even in summer.

Unfortunately they have lost their ancient culture, although now they are trying to dig it out. They haven’t lost their food culture. Thank god! Or thank whom?

I am in Love with Chinese lifestyle! And do try to follow it in my own Indo-Chinese way!