What are the differences between Chinese food and Japanese food?
-------------译者：Beren and Luthi-
Jim Gordon I've eaten for over 65 years. Have lived/visited and eaten in 37 countries sin upxed Jul 4 2011
This question is as useful (not!) as asking the difference between Italian and German cuisines.
There are many similarities from preparation and cooking techniques to common use of ingredients.
Every cuisine comes out of the interaction of available foods and fuels which reflect location landform and climate. Religion economics and governments influence the interaction. There is a "sophistication" or esthetic factor affecting taste. The larger the country the more likely is the development of multiple cuisines.
Japan is very much a deep-water cold-water maritime nation with a scarcity of agricultural land with a temperate climate that has real winters.
Much of China has extensive arable land resources it also has a long coastline but different seafood species and parts of China have very long or multiple growing seasons. Fuel for cooking has always been very scarce and expensive.
In Japan rice was introduced from Southeast Asia a couple of centuries before the common era and became the staple food of the upper classes while the poorer Japanese ate millet and other grains. By the 12th century as aristocratic society was replaced by warlord feudalism rice production improved and rice became more widely available to all on a daily basis.(1 2)
In contrast rice first appeared in the Yangtze delta about 5000 b.c.e. Although agriculture developed over the centuries and imperial agricultural policy appeared less than acentury b.c.e rice production in China was less efficient and less reliable from harvest to harvest. Because of supply reliability and the crop's unsuitability for arid or cold climates rice is only the staple of some regions of China while other regions rely on breads or noodles. Although Chinese governments fostered a constructive agricultural policy toward production tax levies often pushed the population below the margin of subsistence. (3)
The effects of religion and ritual were different in Japan which came to be dominated by Buddhism (with its emphatic disapproval of meat and its delicate use of ritual in eating) and China with its pragmatic traditions of multiple deities and gods and its hunger-based enthusiasm for eating anything that walked flew swam or grew.
Japanese cuisine serves many more uncooked ingredients and foods than does Chinese cuisine which could not overcome technological lacks slower or more cumbersome logistics and the risks of food-borne illnesses.
Japanese sauces tend to be based on dashi (fish stock) shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) miso (fermented-rice/soybean paste) MSG and salt.
Chinese sauces are often based on aromatic flavorings combined with wine soy sauce vinegar sugar.
Contrary to stereotype the Japanese fry tempura and other things in deep oil. They traditionally use wasabi (horseradish) ginger mustard sansho (Japanese pepper) shiso (a plant with strongly flavored leaves and berries) and various members of the allium family as well as mild spices such as sesame and mustard seeds and powdered nuts. (3)