Rice is an important part of almost every Chinese meal. Here we explore rice as the staple food of China from very ancient times until today, and its centrality to economics and culture.
The Chinese people have over 4 thousand years of change and development of agriculture, using labour-intensive methods of agriculture. Scholars see this agrarian system as based on the idea of “recycling”, ie, this farming system did not waste anything since almost everything was recycled back into farming. For example, farming techniques included the collection of human/animal manure as fertilizer for the fields, and non-edible parts of the crop such as rice-husk used to feed farm animals. The basic Chinese diet consisted of a nutritional balance of vegetable, meats and grains, including rice.