World-renowned sinologist Thomas O. Hllmann tracks the growth of Chinese food culture from the earliest burial rituals to today's Western fast food restaurants, detailing the cuisine's geographical variations and local customs, indigenous factors and foreign influences, trade routes, and ethnic associations. Hllmann describes the food rituals of major Chinese religions and the significance of eating and drinking in rites of passage and popular culture. He also enriches his narrative with thirty of his favorite recipes and a selection of photographs, posters, paintings, sketches, and images of clay figurines and other objects excavated from tombs.This history recounts the cultivation of what are probably the earliest grape wines, the invention of noodles, the role of butchers and cooks in Chinese politics, and the recent issue of food contamination. It discusses local crop production, the use of herbs and spices, the relationship between Chinese food and economics, the import of Chinese philosophy, and traditional dietary concepts and superstitions. Hllmann cites original Chinese sources, revealing fascinating aspects of daily Chinese life. His multifaceted compendium inspires a rich appreciation of Chinese arts and culture.