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Why Do Chinese People Drink Hot Water?

Why Do Chinese People Drink Hot Water?
By Demi Guo

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Hot water thermosSomething you may be used to coming from the Western world is actually commonly found throughout China, and that is boiling water before drinking it. Yes, Chinese people love to drink hot water, and they drink it all year round in any situation, whether they are at home, at work, in restaurants, at hospitals or even while they are traveling. Actually, many Chinese people who travel to America are quite pleasantly surprised to see the looks on peoples鈥 faces when they ask for hot water in fast-food and sit-down restaurants.

 

It is really common for Chinese families that every morning, the mom or wife will prepare hot or warm water for her family to drink as soon as they get out of bed to help rinse and flush out their body. If you stay in a hotel in China, you will notice that in every single room there is a kettle for boiling water, as well as a few glasses for you drink out of, whereas in Western countries, this may be a coffee or tea maker, with sugar packets and sometimes a creamer.

 

There is even a joke about drinking hot water in China among young people, that the only thing a dumb boyfriend would say when his girlfriend gets sick or is feeling bad is, 鈥渄rink more hot water鈥.

 

Chinese people drinking hot water can be traced back throughout Chinese history for thousands of years. The ancients used to drink hot, room temperature, and even cold water, which has been found in records dating back to the Song Dynasty when people mastered the technique of keeping ice.

 

During early age China, many people found themselves having diarrhea after drinking too much water, which of course was cold or not previously heated. After a while, they gradually began to realize if they heated the water, they could avoid upset stomach and diarrhea. Henceforth, various medical books began recommending hot water as a means of curing certain stomach issues.

TP 201805 Art 03As time went by, Chinese people realized that heating the water could actually kill the bacterium that was making people sick. Later on, as water-boiling equipment got better, like Chinese pottery, hot water was much more frequently used, due to better and more convenient methods of producing it.

 

Of course, there are more reasons as to why Chinese people like to drink hot water, and these are not just limited to ancient Chinese medical history. Hundreds of years ago, poor people in China could not afford to drink hot water due to the equipment and recourse needed. During the Ming Dynasty, the Western Bacteriology Theory was introduced and "Drinking hot water" was scientifically supported. The government then began promoting drinking hot water intermittently. After 1949, the year in which the People's Republic of China was founded, the government comprehensively promoted the idea of drinking hot water. It was around the mid-1990s when conditions finally were sustainable for majority of Chinese people to have access to hot water, whether they lived in urban or rural areas, rich or poor.

 

It is really interesting to look back through history and observe the evolution of modern day culture and habits among people living in today鈥檚 China. Many people may not actually understand why they were brought up always drinking hot water, and just be left to accept whatever explanation was passed down to them by their parents or grandparents.

 

Different geographic and climate conditions, eating habits, food diversity and so on, all have played their part in the development of what China has become today. Whether drinking hot water is actually something you feel may be unnecessary or unfamiliar, to Chinese people, it鈥檚 ingrained into our lifestyle, and most believe it is key to sustaining a healthy lifestyle.

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