The most common greeting in China is “Chi le mei?” (Have you eaten?) Maybe, because dining plays a central role in all social settings. An ancient Chinese proverb says, “Min yi shi weitian.” (To people, food is heaven.) __Paraphrased from “A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts – A Collection of Deliciously Frightening Tales” by Ying Chang Compestine
When my dad died and, as per Buddhist tradition, there was a spread of food at his wake. At that time, I did not know the significance of each of the types of food, so I said, “I want cha siu baos at my funeral.” (Served during Dim Sum (“small meals to delight your heart” – sort of Chinese tapas), cha siu baos are buns with a Chinese barbecue pork mixture filling, and can be baked or steamed.)
So, here’s a strange question: What kind of food do you want in your heaven?
Me? I’d want a banquet of all sorts of food. Not just Chinese, but rather food from a variety of cultures, and of course, I would be able to eat and eat to my heart’s content without feeling bloated or gaining a gazillion pounds.
Til then, I will follow the Buddhist mantra: eat in moderation.