Some 1.3 billion people eat it every day, and a good deal of the rest of our planet's inhabitants have tasted it at least once. Food is, arguably, the most recognisable aspect of Chinese culture. Refined over 3,000 years of China's varied history, the range and depth of Chinese cuisine are as vast and complex as the country itself. Why, then, does it not get more respect among non-Chinese? For most diners in many countries, Chinese food is what they eat when they want a cheap, quick and plentiful meal. They even get to have some exotic fun fiddling with chopsticks and reading their fortunes from a cookie. And everyone counts on Chinese restaurants for the fastest delivery in town when they crave a midnight meal. But few choose to have their wedding anniversary dinner or power business lunch over sweet and sour pork, fried rice and jasmine tea. Things are, of course, very different here. In Hong Kong and the mainland, a good meal can boast a dozen courses featuring a profusion of fresh ingredients from all corners of the realm, with the prematurely filling bowl of rice banished until the very end (why eat steamed seeds when you can gorge on steamed crab meat?) People also do not eat some generic 'Chinese food' but indulge in one of the country's eight highly distinct regional styles of cuisine. So it is about time someone tried to correct what may be the greatest misconception about Chinese culture. Enter master chef Wang Renxiao, who was in Paris this week to show the world's fussiest gourmands what a Chinese haute cuisine is capable of. Winner of the first national cooking contest, Wang is one of only 26 chefs in China with the title of grand master. His celebrated restaurant in Hangzhou seats 800 diners. Wang took with him an assistant and baskets of his own ingredients from China for his week-long engagement at a local Chinese restaurant. His top priority: to wash away the diluted flavours of Frenchified Chinese dishes (which are often catered by Vietnamese-Chinese) and restore the authentic tastes of their original recipes. Judging by the gushing commentary from French food critics, Wang's creations, such as his West Lake Vinegar Fish, have succeeded in opening up a new culinary frontier in a land stuffed with three-star chefs. But without a celebrity chef to whet their appetites, are the French now convinced that a good Chinese meal is worth 100 euros ($940) or more (and that's per head)? Only time will tell. As the French might say, like a bottle of good wine, discovering a new cuisine cannot be rushed. Meanwhile, food lovers in China ought to take it upon themselves to introduce a new Chinese dish to their foreign friends every time they have a meal together. The quickest path to breaking down deeply ingrained cultural prejudices may just be through the stomach.