Drinking Hot Water

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A lot of people ask, why do Chinese people like water hot?

I came across the talk show 锵锵三人行, and the host talked about the Thermos phenomenon and why Chinese people like hot water. His answer really surprised me:

  • In antiquity, Chinese people always liked drinking water cold, sometimes with ice. People have enjoyed ice tea since the Song dynasty.
  • The concept of 寒 (cold) in Chinese medicine refer to a category of foods (green bean, durian, etc) and not the temperature.
  • By the end of the 19th century, foreigners established concessions in Chinese cities, and many settlers contracted typhoid fever and died. The disease also infected the surrounding Chinese communities, aggravated by unsanitary living conditions.
  • In 1934, cities in China advised the public only to drink water after boiling
  • In the 1950s, "drink hot water" has become a political slogan seen on posters. Factories and institutions start to centrally provide boiled water to the workers. This is why you need a big thermos to store hot water for your family.
  • In 1959, kindergartens are instructed to feed kids with hot water 3 times a day to get them into the habit of drinking hot water

So really, Chinese people like water hot just because it kills germs.

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