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  A Nation of the Art of Eating

The Story of Alcoholic Drinks
The Invention of Alcohol

China is one of the first countries to have invented alcohol as a drink. A large number of pottery wine vessels were discovered in Shangdong at the ruins of the Dawenkou culture which dates back 5,000 years. Recorded history tells about wine-making techniques of more than 4,000 years ago.

The earliest wines were made from food grains, mainly from various kinds of rice, broom corn and millet. As a result of improvements in brewing skills, the yellow wine made its appearance probably in the Warring States Period (475 - 221 B.C.)

From an ancient tomb of the Warring States in Pingshan County of Hebei Province, a large numbers of wine-storing and drinking vessels were excavated in the 1970s. Two of them contain an alcoholic drink made from wheat 2,280 years ago. It is probably the oldest liquor ever brought to light in the world.

The Story of Noodles

Noodles is a form of staple food very popular among the Chinese. They can be made either by hand or by machine and are divided into "cut noodles" or "dried noodles". They may be of different widths, varying from ribbons to threads. As a prepared dish, they can be served hot or cold, dressed with chilli oil or not, eaten with fried bean sauce, pork or chicken sauce, duck chops and soup of any concoction.

There is also a variety of "instant noodles", which are precooked, dried and commercially packed. Before eating, all one has to do is to soak them in hot, boiled water for a few minutes. They are very handy for a quick lunch in the office or on a journey.

As noodles are always in the form of long strings, they are symbolic of longevity and are therefore indispensable at Chinese birthday parties.
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