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I ate with a Chinese who mentioned the soup was 清淡 (qing dan): clear, and bland. On Google all I found were acupuncture and "macrobiotic diet" websites.

Is 清淡 (qing dan) an adjective commonly applied to food that is simple and light, or is it reserved for food from a special diet?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's written as 清淡 and used in different contexts.

  1. For light colors, smells
  2. For light (non-greasy, non-oily) food
  3. Business running slow or slacking
  4. In arts for a simple style
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When referring to food, "清淡" means "low-salt, low-fat, less sugar, less meat, low cholesterol, non-alcoholic and not spicy".

In a wide sense,it does mean light and simple food, no fried-no barbecue-less edible oil; In a narrow sense, it is related to the Chinese culture which is very intriguing and complex to explain.

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These words are related to the Chinese culture.

Tea have been thought of qing dan, but coffee is reverse. Vegetable been thought of qing dan, but meat is not.

In traditional culture all these stuff like eat vegetables, drink tea, no sexual life, no smoke and no wine are be seen as Qing.

Before, some people thought it can make themself live long.

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Most of the time, it refers to food as low-salt, low-fat, less sugar, less meat, low cholesterol, non-alcoholic and not spicy. Seldom for other usage, do not make things complicated.

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