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Re-orienting Cuisine: East Asian Foodways in the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Kwang Ok Kim
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 310
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  • Book Info
    Re-orienting Cuisine
    Book Description:

    Foods are changed not only by those who produce and supply them, but also by those who consume them. Analyzing food without considering changes over time and across space is less meaningful than analyzing it in a global context where tastes, lifestyles, and imaginations cross boundaries and blend with each other, challenging the idea of authenticity. A dish that originated in Beijing and is recreated in New York is not necessarily the same, because although authenticity is often claimed, the form, ingredients, or taste may have changed. The contributors of this volume have expanded the discussion of food to include its social and cultural meanings and functions, thereby using it as a way to explain a culture and its changes.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-563-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    Kwang Ok Kim

    Positing food and food practice in the context of time and space, this book aims to further expand a genre of anthropological study of human agency in and through material culture. Previously, most studies of food, like other subfields of material culture, have been focused on the so-called authentic culinary methods, forms, and meanings of a particular “national” or “ethnic” cuisine or dish, produced and consumed in its supposedly “original” social place. However, as the movement of foods and the emergence of foodways across national and geographical boundaries produce a world in motion (Inda and Rosaldo, eds. 2002), the boundaries...

  6. Part I. National/Local Food in the (Re)Making

    • CHAPTER 1 Dining Elegance and Authenticity: Archaeology of Royal Court Cuisine in Korea
      (pp. 13-30)
      Okpyo Moon

      The age-old traditions of the Korean royal court were lost with the fall of the Joseon dynasty at the hands of Japanese imperial forces at the beginning of the twentieth century. Many court-life traditions faded away and disappeared as displaced royal family members and their former attendants grew older and more impoverished after the establishment of the Japanese colonial administration in 1910. It was only in the 1970s that royal court cuisine began to receive official attention as part of efforts to reconstruct and preserve national cultural heritage that had been lost or was in danger of vanishing. In 1970,...

    • CHAPTER 2 History and Politics of National Cuisine: Malaysia and Taiwan
      (pp. 31-55)
      Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao and Khay-Thiong Lim

      Food serves to help solidify group membership and to distinguish oneself from others. It is therefore argued that there exists a relationship between food and identities such as ethnicity, race, nationality, class, and gender. But since ethnicity and nationhood are “constructed,” the associated cuisines may also be “imagined.” However, “once imagined, such cuisines provide added concreteness to the idea of national or ethnic identity” (Mintz and Du Bois 2002: 109). There are various ways to imagine or create an ethnic or national cuisine, such as by using cookbooks to create an Indian national cuisine (Appadurai 1988), or by inventing the...

    • CHAPTER 3 Wudang Daoist Tea Culture
      (pp. 56-70)
      Jean DeBernardi

      This chapter explores the promotion of tea culture at Wudang Mountain, a Daoist temple complex in Hubei Province that is a popular tourist destination. At shops in temples and market areas, vendors brand their teas as Wudang Daoist tea, emphasizing its health benefits and connecting their teas to the Daoist discourse of life-nourishing (yang sheng) practices. In their marketing materials and on their website, the management of the Eight Immortals Temple Tea Plantation further cites folklore and mythic history to claim profound local roots for Wudang tea culture. In so doing, this company echoes the memory narratives of more famous...

    • CHAPTER 4 Rice Cuisine and Cultural Practice in Contemporary Korean Dietary Life
      (pp. 71-88)
      Kwang Ok Kim

      Comparing Korea with other Asian countries where the staple food is rice, the present chapter pays special attention to the proliferation of rice cuisine as well as the distinctive dietary structures and modes of culinary service in Korea. Taking food as a genre of culture rather than a medico-nutritional sphere, this chapter analyzes the contents, forms, and consumption patterns of rice dishes in order to understand underlying meanings of diversification and invention of dishes as cultural commodities in the globalizing food market.

      In China, at the end of a luxurious banquet, guests are served a main dish of plain steamed...

  7. Part II. Food Practice across Cultural Boundaries

    • CHAPTER 5 Noodle Odyssey: East Asia and Beyond
      (pp. 91-107)
      Kyung-Koo Han

      This is an attempt to use Japaneseramen,Chineselamian,and Koreanramyeonto examine some of the major issues in the study of food and culture. East Asians are known to the West as ardent consumers of cooked rice, but they have been eating other cereals in many different ways. Noodle is one of them. As rice has been increasingly cherished and prized as the national food in modern Japan and Korea, much attention has been paid to rice (see Kim, chapter 4, this volume), resulting in the relative neglect and marginalization of noodles and other cereals. Let this...

    • CHAPTER 6 Cultural Nostalgia and Global Imagination: Japanese Cuisine in Taiwan
      (pp. 108-128)
      David Y. H. Wu

      The ubiquitous Japanese foodways and cuisine in Taiwan become an integral part of today’s Taiwanese culture and society. This chapter is an attempt to investigate the Japanese foodways in Taiwan in the cultural context and political economy of the island’s history, including Japanese colonization and cultural assimilation of Taiwan between 1895 and 1945; postwar Chinese Nationalists’ anti-Japanese cultural policy on the island; and underground Taiwanese nostalgic expression of Japanese culture between 1945 and 1990. Powerful representation of Japanese foodways in Taiwan can be further explained in connection with the global resurgence of Japanese capitalism since the late twentieth century. Food...

    • CHAPTER 7 The Visible and the Invisible: Intimate Engagements with Russia’s Culinary East
      (pp. 129-149)
      Melissa L. Caldwell

      Accounts of the dramatic culinary and cultural transformations taking place across the formerly Soviet world over the past twenty years have consistently emphasized the influence of global trends and flows originating in the West. From the arrival of McDonald’s inside “the Iron Curtain,” first in Yugoslavia in the late 1980s and subsequently in the Soviet Union itself in 1990, to the more recent arrival of avant-garde international cooking trends such as dining in the dark, molecular gastronomy, and the creative experimentation promoted by Spain’sEl Bullirestaurant (Shectman 2009), post-Soviet culinary traditions have undergone profound changes inspired by Western trends...

    • CHAPTER 8 Experiencing the “West” through the “East” in the Margins of Europe: Chinese Food Consumption Practices in Postsocialist Bulgaria
      (pp. 150-169)
      Yuson Jung

      In postsocialist Sofia, Bulgaria, red lanterns have become the symbolic markers of the globalization that came with the democratic changes and capitalist market economy. Just as McDonald’s became the emblem of capitalism and the visual evidence of the drastic social change that followed the collapse of the socialist regime in 1989, so did the red lanterns that were hung in the entrance of every Chinese eatery in Bulgaria. But unlike McDonald’s golden arches, which could be spotted only in major downtown areas or along major highways, the red lanterns gradually permeated the local urban landscape throughout Sofia, the capital city...

    • CHAPTER 9 Exoticizing the Familiar, Domesticating the Foreign: Ethnic Food Restaurants in Korea
      (pp. 170-185)
      Sangmee Bak

      A food connoisseur whose job allows him to travel abroad frequently, Mr. Lee telephoned an Indian restaurant near a university in Seoul to make a reservation for dinner with a group of colleagues. He had dined there once previously, and found the place satisfactory. The restaurant was charmingly decorated with an Indian theme, the food was delicious, and the manager and staff appeared to be Indian. Everything was in line with his expectation of what a proper ethnic restaurant should be: a place where one can dine on authentic ethnic food as part of a cultural experience. However, as soon...

    • CHAPTER 10 Serving Ambiguity: Class and Classification in Thai Food at Home and Abroad
      (pp. 186-200)
      Michael Herzfeld

      Anthropologists have long argued a direct correlation between formal social structure and the elaboration or simplicity of food presentation and consumption (Douglas 1966, 1970; Goody 1982). These arguments are today further complicated by two factors. First, ethnography often celebrates indeterminacy and ambiguity as its most promising grounding (e.g., Malaby 2003; Steedly 1993; Tsing 1993). And second, renewed interest in taste and smell (e.g., Bubandt 1998; Seremetakis 1993) changes the conceptual context in which we understand the capacity of food to create as well as to cross social boundaries.

      Where better to conduct such an ethnographic investigation of these matters than...

  8. Part III. Health, Safety, and Food Consumption

    • CHAPTER 11 Well-Being Discourse and Chinese Food in Korean Society
      (pp. 203-220)
      Young-Kyun Yang

      Since the early 2000s, a craze for “well-being” has spread throughout Korean society. We can find this phenomenon in various spheres of society. Such a keen interest in healthy living by the public is not a special characteristic unique to Korean society. Many societies, especially those with developed economies, exhibit high public interest in well-being. However, in the Korean case, public interest in well-being has grown very swiftly due to the Korean ability for collective effort, most notable in Korea’s rapid economic development and political democratization. The speed with which the concept has penetrated society is also closely related to...

    • CHAPTER 12 The Social Life of American Crayfish in Asia
      (pp. 221-237)
      Sidney C. H. Cheung

      Recent studies on foodways have brought attention to changes in the local dynamics of production, representation, identity construction, postmodern consumerism, and several other social and political changes. For an understanding of the traditional side and its relevant changes in the mode of production of food and foodways, therefore, a holistic understanding of the agricultural innovation that took place in some important farming grounds of human societies should not be overlooked. The globalization of local foodways, as well as the localization of foreign foodways, remind us that foodways are simultaneously local and global in terms of production, manufacturing, and marketing. Meanwhile,...

    • CHAPTER 13 Eating Green: Ecological Food Consumption in Urban China
      (pp. 238-262)
      Jakob A. Klein

      The most recent decades of dietary globalization have involved not only the intensification of international food trade and the growing presence of transnational retail and restaurant chains, but also the spread of “organics,” fair trade, Slow Food and other movements that are critical of dominant social and ecological relations of food production, distribution and consumption, along with the growth of markets in “alternative” or “ethical” foods (Wilk 2006; Nützenadel and Trentmann 2008). In cities in the People’s Republic of China, the rise since the early 1990s of globalized fast foods, packaged foods and drinks, and supermarkets (Watson 2006; Yan 2000;...

    • CHAPTER 14 From Food Poisoning to Poisonous Food: The Spectrum of Food-Safety Problems in Contemporary China
      (pp. 263-286)
      Yunxiang Yan

      The safety of the foods that we eat every day, once an ordinary issue too mundane to warrant scrutiny from society or the state, has become a focal point in public opinion, scholarly research, professional management, and government regulations throughout the contemporary world. In Europe, although food-safety standards have been raised and the actual number of people who die or are sickened by food poisoning is small, the fear of food-safety problems remains strong and features centrally in the political agendas of governments (Jensen and Sandoe 2002; Pawsey 2000). The rising importance of food-safety concerns is widely attributed to the...

  9. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 287-291)
  10. Index
    (pp. 292-296)