Whether you admit it or not, the taste of the Chinese is getting heavier and heavier, and the hobby of spicy food is expanding, and it has become the first taste of the Chinese around 2000.
Although Shaxian snacks have replaced the status of Sichuan snacks in many places, this kind of Fujian flavor, which originally did not advocate spicy flavor, has to put chili sauce on the table.
In fact, the expansion of spiciness hobby has a wonderful connection with solar radiation, the development of mobile internet, and people's life rhythm.
When chili entered East Asia with a three-masted sailboat in the late Ming Dynasty, the elegant Orientals regarded this small herb with red, red, green and green fruits as a kind of ornamental bonsai. Then, they discovered that this plant, native to the hot land of South America, can give people a feeling of heat. The "Medicinal Properties Test" called this foreign plant "to dispel cold from the middle, remove wind, sweat, and remove cold cravings, and phlegm. Chase the wet". Thus, pepper became a kind of medicine. Of course, these ancestors who admired dilute peace would never think that their offspring would take this medicine as a dish and eat it all at the dinner table.
Of course, China's traditional spicy territory is highly consistent with the applicability of pepper as a medicine. It wasn't until around 2000 that the fixed boundaries of this territory were completely broken, and things changed drastically.
The relationship between spicy territories and solar radiation
Before the big changes around 2000, let us talk about the logic behind the taste pattern before things changed.
The general explanation of the traditional map of spiciness is usually associated with Qushi. Therefore, people in Sichuan, Hunan, Hubei, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Jiangxi have eaten peppers to an astounding level, which is often fixed with the year-round humidity and rain in these provinces. For example, "Compendium of Materia Medica" said that pepper "its taste is pungent and numb, and its temperature is hot, it is exposed to the sun in the south and the yin of the west, so it can enter the spleen to remove dampness, treat wind-cold, dampness, edema, and diarrhea." According to Chinese medicine. It is said that peppercorns are like a fire, which can burn all the excess water in the skin.
But here comes the problem - the rain and humidity in the south is not unique to the southwest and central south. Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Shanghai are all places where water can come out of the air without rain. But why are the traditional tastes of these places so light that Mala is regarded as a terrorist?
In fact, it is also humid. Southwest, Central and South is wet and cold, while Southeast China and South are wet and warm. According to the findings of Mr. Lan Yong from the Institute of Historical Geography of Southwest China Normal University, if the map of the spicy taste is compared with the "China Annual Solar Radiation Map", the secret behind the spicy map will be revealed. Parts of Sichuan, Hunan, Hubei, and Jiangxi, in other words, most of the upper reaches of the Yangtze River coincides with the thermal region where the annual total solar radiation is less than 110 kcal. The reason why people there eat spicy food is because they can't get the sun.
When the sun in the sky does not heat the blood nerves under the skin, people will find a way to heat themselves---eat chili. Moreover, in Yunnan, Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi, the more people in the mountainous area, the more spicy the taste, because the mountains in the mountains have more clouds and fog, which are higher and colder.
Therefore, in the traditional heavy spicy taste map, spicy is not only to get rid of "wetness", but also to drive away the cold. This is why people in southern and eastern China, which are also humid but warm, do not like spicy food. But this situation has been broken in recent years. Spicy flavors have expanded greatly in China, which is the biggest change in the oral and gastrointestinal life of Chinese people since around 2000.
Of course, Sichuan cuisine has entered non-heavy taste regions since the 80s. In the late 80s, you could find Luzhou Restaurant, Wuliangye Restaurant, Douhuazhuang, Yibinlou, etc., all of which were well-known Sichuan restaurants at that time. Fish-flavored shredded pork, kung pao diced pork, and boiled pork slices have also become popular dishes in restaurants. After the 90s, the emergence of boiled fish, spicy hot pot, mandarin duck hot pot, and Maoxuewang meant that the spiciness had appeared quietly. Kung Pao Chicken is spicy on the meat, but Maoxuewang is the meat in spicy oil. But even so, spicy and spicy still had not yet become a national taste. In Shanghai, students who were preparing for the college entrance examination in 1997 once did a question like "Excuse me, is this pepper spicy?" At that time in Shanghai, everyone ate chili, but they didn't want chili to be too spicy.
Spicy food for all people in 2000
But after about 2000, spicy became the first taste of all Chinese people. This is in fact very different from the traditional Chinese culture advocating dilute balance.
The year 2000 was chosen as the decisive moment when the Chinese people's tastes changed and Mala's victory came from a landmark event that was far-reaching but almost unknown.
As of 2000, the main flavor of a certain brand of instant noodles with the largest sales in the country was "Braised Beef Noodles." But after 2000, the instant noodle giant found that its sales had entered a growth bottleneck. In order to reverse the decline, they expanded the bowl noodles to cup noodles and bucket noodles, but with little success. The breakthrough in this situation was the launch of its first series of products with flavors in the southwest region in 2003: Youlizi Legend.
In another small sample case, the turning point in time also occurred in 2000. In the mid-to-late 90s, businessmen from Wuhan went to the sea to do duck neck business in Guangdong. This kind of spicy local food that would make you sweat after a bite is only available in Shenzhen, because most of the city is not Cantonese. But people from Sichuan, Hunan, and Hubei who came to work. However, after 2000, the duck neck business has expanded to Guangzhou. Not only the workers from the southwest and central south, but also many of them are genuine locals in Guangdong.
The confirmation of this major event has taken place in the past two or three years. A series of investigation reports have brought us the data and information that "Spicy Emperor" has become the No. XNUMX taste in China.
In 2010, the China Comprehensive Well-off Research Center and the Media Investigation Laboratory of Tsinghua University conducted a survey on the diet of Chinese people: Sichuan cuisine ranked first in the popular list with 51.2% of the voting rate, followed by Dongbei cuisine and Hunan cuisine. , Shandong cuisine and Cantonese cuisine. Among various flavors, people who like "spicy" are the most, accounting for 40.5%; second is "sweet", 28.4%; and then "salty", 17.3%. 47.28% of people eat at least one spicy meal a day, 23% eat it once every two days, and 18.78% eat it once a week.
In 2013, "Douguo.com" analyzed various data on the Internet and released the "2013 China Food Network Development and Trend Report". The report named China's top ten flavors in 2013, and spicy flavor ranked first.
Taking the data of Dianping.com on September 2014, 9 as an example, in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, the number of restaurant group purchases that day also confirmed the dominant position of "spicy" in the Chinese catering industry.
On the Beijing page, there is no Beijing cuisine option. The number of group purchases in Cantonese restaurants is 269 (all figures are in integers), and the number of group purchases in Sichuan is 000.
The situation in Shanghai is similar. The number of group purchases of Jiangsu and Zhejiang cuisine is 299, while the number of group purchases of Sichuan cuisine is 000.
In Guangzhou, Cantonese cuisine won by a narrow margin: Cantonese restaurant group purchases were 331, and Sichuan cuisine group purchases were 000.
It's clear at a glance. Spicy flavors have completely occupied Shanghai's local light stomach. The original salty and light-spicy flavors of Beijing have also become more spicy. Guangzhou is the only city where the light local taste still holds the stomach of most locals.
There is also a peculiar phenomenon in this set of data in Guangzhou—there is a huge outlier in Sichuan cuisine group buying. If the maximum value of the South Beauty (236) is taken away, the other Sichuan restaurants are almost of the order of magnitude. Hovering in thousands. According to the algorithm of removing a highest score and removing a lowest score, it can be concluded that the spicy flavor in Guangzhou is actually not mainstream.
But the huge data of South Beauty also shows that the more high-end Sichuan cuisine is in fact very popular.
Spicy stimulates appetite? Just to stimulate you to save yourself
The whole of China is becoming a "colony" of Sichuan and Lakes, and is ruled by spicy food. To explain this big problem, we need to go back to the origin of what the hot pepper is.
Our ancestors in the Ming dynasty kept hot pepper away, treating it as a bonsai, as a medicine, rather than as a food. Is there any intuition hidden in it? The real question is, is spicy, really a taste?
The reason why pepper is hot is that there is a group of alkaloids in pepper, usually collectively called capsaicin. The spicy sensation of capsaicin is produced by the decomposition of a receptor on the sensitive cortical membrane, which is called vanilloid receptor (VR1). When the vanillin body is stimulated by capsaicin to reach or exceed 40 degrees Celsius, it disintegrates on its own and releases ions to nerve cells-that is, "fire", which transmits signals to the brain through nerves. This signal is exactly the same as the signal when the capsaicin receptor senses heat. When capsaicin touches the nerve, what happens in our body is the medium of pathological pain that jumps on the pain nerve quickly. And this kind of pain stimulates the human brain, causing it to produce a compensation mechanism, releasing endorphins-producing euphoria.
So far, see the picture. We can see that spicy is not actually a sense of taste, but a sensation similar to touch. Capsaicin is a burning pain caused by directly stimulating the oral mucosa and trigeminal nerve. It is fundamentally different from other taste sensations such as sweet, sour, bitter, and fresh that rely solely on taste buds to convert stimulating signals. The stimulus that spicy brings to our nerves is the same as that of heat when burned by fire.
Therefore, the oral use of chili is actually a kind of external use, which is a weapon to whip our digestive tract with burning pain. In fact, capsaicin itself is indeed a weapon, and there is capsaicin spray in riot equipment.
Spicy's highest rank is to become the protector of global netizens. For those transoceanic optical cables under the Pacific Ocean, high-purity capsaicin is added to the outermost layer of plastic sheath. This layer of plastic wrapped by the submarine optical cable may be the hottest substance in the world. Not only does any fish dare not eat it, but it can even prevent the adhesion of algae, shellfish and mollusks. Of course, the defensive substance of this Internet is not a product of naturally grown peppers, but artificially refined capsaicin.
When the "riot weapon" is taken internally into our own throat and esophagus, our body is actually in a severe stress response. The burning pain of being burned will make our nerves constantly alarm, so our heartbeat and blood circulation are instantly accelerated, and there is a large amount of saliva secreted in the mouth, so you eat it, and your appetite is open. All kinds of food and rice are stuffed into your mouth. It is a meal for you, but it is actually a rescue operation for your nerves. Other food materials are used to cover and reduce the destructive stimulation caused by spicy food.
Spicy is cheaper than sweet and fresh, and the time cost is also lower
From such a physiological point of view, the purpose of copying the spicy bottom is to see one thing clearly. That is, spicy flavors have spread throughout the past ten years and even become popular. It is not a simple catering culture problem. It is not that the food culture of Sichuan and Huxiang occupy the table of the people of the country, and it is not that one flavor replaces other flavors. It is our overall diet that has entered a change in which the oral cavity directly stimulates the taste of substitutes.
This overall change-the time node around 2000 when the whole people are addicted to hotness, has a strange synchronization relationship with the full rise of Internet mobile communications and the overall changes in air quality.
There seems to be some overlap between the hundreds of millions of people with cell phones bowing their heads and the hundreds of millions of street vendors eating spicy food. For example, in Shanghai and Guangzhou, a large number of the local population who buy spicy food online are basically those under the age of 35. This group of people is precisely the one who has grown up with the Internet and is now immersed in mobile phones. Among the older Shanghainese and Guangzhounese, in fact, more of them retain the traditional light taste and are not fond of spicy. Spicy eating is actually an acceleration of chewing, an acceleration of the body's rhythm. Looking from another direction, it is also the process of life time being more fragmented.
First of all, some spicy varieties of Sichuan and Huxiang are indeed from the invention of fast eating. For example, the Mala Tang at the gate of any community around any university comes from the trackers who pull fibers in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. They stayed on a certain shore, took out the small pot they brought with them, and ate as they burned. Because it cannot be cooked well and the ingredients cannot be fresh every day, hot and spicy is used to cover up all the bad tastes and replace all the different tastes that can be produced by cooking. In fact, Mala Tang is a fast food with low ingredient cost, low labor cost and low time cost.
But what we are talking about at the moment when eating spicy food is associated with the accelerated pace of life and fragmentation of time does not mean that people who eat spicy food directly spend less time eating. In fact, among young people, the time spent eating may be more than in the 80s and 90s. When dating in the 80s, they usually said that they liked literature to show their interest in life; in the 90s, they used to go to the sea to show their economic strength. In recent years’ TV blind date shows, a considerable proportion of women will declare that they are foodies and take this as the fun of life. The writer Wang Xiaoni noticed her dependence on food in her post-90s students at Hainan University in her "Class Notes". Eating a hot pot or a bowl of hot noodles will be posted on WeChat. Wang Xiaoni analyzed that those children often only get comfort in their feelings and heat in their body and mind only after they sweat profusely.
Therefore, it should be said that Chinese people after 2000 spent more time eating than before, but their time and life rhythm are not long. The mechanism of this is the same as we let ourselves live in front of the computer screen for years and months, but feel that there is less and less time to watch a movie, even if it is a movie on the computer screen. You can spend hours in front of a hot pot full of red soup, but every bite of yours is rushed and nervous. Spicy directly stimulates your oral lining, and the taste system is actually in shock shock. If you taste umami, you need to mobilize the taste buds of each part of the tongue, and at the same time feel the taste of different levels of ingredients, from front to back, carefully aftertaste, in order to get the beauty. Because early taste can take a few minutes, but it takes a long time to get a fresh taste. Therefore, it is not the amount of time, but the question of how time is spent in what rhythm, and what function time is in. Spicy is precisely an enhancer of quick stimulation and short rhythm.
At this level, we can also understand why it is fresh, the reason why the most respected taste in the original Chinese taste is no longer in the center. Because fresh is high-cost, and spicy is low-cost. In addition to the above mentioned in the analysis of Mala Tang, Mala can hide the freshness of the ingredients and reduce the cost of the ingredients. After the pepper is dried, its preservation and transportation are also convenient and low-cost. Therefore, the spicy restaurants are available throughout the country. The chain expansion and full-scale rollout are particularly efficient.
In addition, the attention and time devoted to food taste by spicy food is also cheap. For fresh food, light fresh ingredients is a high-cost investment in the vast north and inland. Seafood and fresh vegetables need to be transported at speeds such as air transport or high-speed rail. In fact, even the fresh locally produced ingredients are becoming less and less tasteless due to environmental changes and large-scale artificial breeding. And to taste the umami, it takes even more minutes for the diners to have a leisurely and calm mood, which is obviously a very luxurious requirement at the moment.
Similar to the fading out of fresh, sweetness is no longer welcomed. Although in some surveys, sweet is still ranked second. But this sweetness is no longer the sweetness of traditional cuisine. Even in the local area of Suzhou, although the tradition of cooking with less salt and more sugar is still maintained in old restaurants, this sweetness is becoming an endurance rather than an enjoyment for more and more diners. And the sweet, which is still the second-taste in the country, is actually more sweet than dinner. It is a dessert, a variety of Taiwanese desserts on the streets. In other words, the sweetness is separated from the main part of the formal dining table and becomes a separate embellishment. When a piece of pork ribs dipped and wrapped in sweet and sour enters the lips, what we feel is a kind of plumpness and fullness, sweet and meaty and fat mixed together. On the other hand, a cup of ice cream or Taiwanese taro balls is a purely isolated sweetness, a cleanser that can almost remove grease.
This sweetness change, in fact, has a similar trajectory to the disappearance of freshness and the prevalence of MSG, chicken essence, and seafood soy sauce. It is against the background that the body sensibility is constantly compressed and shredded by the rhythm, we have seen the hot red of the country. Spicy beats freshness, sweetness jumps out, and it has become the first taste of Chinese people.
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