Getting a cold drink might seem like the perfect way to relax after a long, hot summer day, but for most Chinese the opposite is true. They routinely consume hot beverages with their meals and all through the day irrespective of the weather. So don’t be surprised if on a balmy day, you see a Chinese person sipping hot water from a thermos!
While the western world might find this bizarre, the Chinese actually think that the Western habit of chugging ice-cold water is very strange. The idea of consuming anything at room temperature or below is, according to them, bad for your health. “In the big family I was brought up in, no one would dare to pour even room temperature water,” journalist Nicole Liu writes for the LA Times. “Doing so would risk a chorus of criticism, with parents, aunts, cousins, and grandparents chastising you almost simultaneously: ‘Cold water gives you cramps!’”