Food as the great diplomat – how food breaks boundaries_Lifestyle_Asia Pacific Daily

To download APD News app

1. Please scan the QR Code 2. Download and install APD News App

Food as the great diplomat – how food breaks boundaries

Lifestyle2017-10-13

People in the US are fighting for a taste of Sichuan (locally spelled as Szechuan) chili sauce? Are you kidding? On October 7, Americans waited in long lines outside McDonald’s to get their hands on the limited Chinese Sichuan sauce. The one-day event for the famed hot and spicy sauce turned to outrage when the limited amounts advertised turned out to be extremely limited, with reports of customers in California fighting over 20 packets of sauce. The "hot and spicy" people shouting and quarreling has since gone viral. This is free publicity for the Chinese chili sauce and McDonald's, though the burger chain eventually apologized to customers for the “not cool” stunt. Sichuan sauce aside, this is perhaps a sign of how more and more Americans are falling in love with Chinese food. Indeed, Chinese cuisine is gaining popularity all over the world, and it’s come a long way from where it started. Chinese food was among one of the earliest “Made in China” products introduced to the world, if you exclude the four ancient inventions: gunpowder, compass, paper and printing. However, Chinese people and their food were not always accepted in their new countries. Discrimination against Chinese was codified in 1882 with the Chinese Exclusion Act, which placed a moratorium on Chinese labor immigration. The act was the first major law in the US to prevent a specific ethnic group from entering the country. Szechuan sauce was first introduced with the release of the Disney film “Mulan.” It became popular again when it was mentioned in the show “Rick and Morty.” This difficult experience led many early Chinese immigrants to live exclusively in Chinatowns, which helped preserve traditional Chinese culture, including Chinese food. I have to say Chinatowns are a testament to the struggles Chinese people faced, and the eventual integration into the local community is a source of pride for many Chinese. As time passed, Chinese food was gradually accepted by Americans, but the food had to be reinvented to appease American tastes – the sweet and sour flavor is a notable example. The many Panda Expresses, Great Walls and Chinese Gardens are examples of this Americanization of Chinese food. China's popular street food snack Jianbing. In recent decades, the trend has turned to more authentic Chinese food. Chinese snacks like Roujiamo, a Chinese burger delicacy from northwest China's Shaanxi Province are finding their way to the US. A New Yorker has also opened a restaurant that sells Jianbing, a kind of pancake originally from Tianjin in northern China. He fell in love with the snack while he was studying in Beijing and longed for it after he returned to New York, so he decided to make it himself and sell it to Americans. He’s now considering opening chain stores to sell the Chinese street food. Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice founder Xiaolu Yang. Foreign food is also gaining popularity in China, a country which prides itself in its rich, diverse and ever-changing food culture. As the big cities in China become more international, you can find almost any major foreign cuisine here. Ironically, foreign food and foreign cultures have also had a hard time when they were first introduced to China. Foreigners were called Yang Guizi or “foreign devils” by the Chinese in the past. Western food was smeared as tasteless and barbaric. But now the Chinese taste is becoming more open and inclusive. Take American fast food for example, you can find a McDonalds or KFC even in the remotest cities and towns in China. I have to say that in a globalized world, we are fortunate to have access to diverse and rich food cultures from different countries. That's the blessing of modern civilizations. Open your mouth and take a taste of other cultures. (The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of APD.) (CGTN)

People in the US are fighting for a taste of Sichuan (locally spelled as Szechuan) chili sauce? Are you kidding? On October 7, Americans waited in long lines outside McDonald’s to get their hands on the limited Chinese Sichuan sauce. The one-day event for the famed hot and spicy sauce turned to outrage when the limited amounts advertised turned out to be extremely limited, with reports of customers in California fighting over 20 packets of sauce.

The "hot and spicy" people shouting and quarreling has since gone viral. This is free publicity for the Chinese chili sauce and McDonald's, though the burger chain eventually apologized to customers for the “not cool” stunt. Sichuan sauce aside, this is perhaps a sign of how more and more Americans are falling in love with Chinese food.

Indeed, Chinese cuisine is gaining popularity all over the world, and it’s come a long way from where it started. Chinese food was among one of the earliest “Made in China” products introduced to the world, if you exclude the four ancient inventions: gunpowder, compass, paper and printing.

However, Chinese people and their food were not always accepted in their new countries. Discrimination against Chinese was codified in 1882 with the Chinese Exclusion Act, which placed a moratorium on Chinese labor immigration. The act was the first major law in the US to prevent a specific ethnic group from entering the country.

Szechuan sauce was first introduced with the release of the Disney film “Mulan.” It became popular again when it was mentioned in the show “Rick and Morty.”

Szechuan sauce was first introduced with the release of the Disney film “Mulan.” It became popular again when it was mentioned in the show “Rick and Morty.”

This difficult experience led many early Chinese immigrants to live exclusively in Chinatowns, which helped preserve traditional Chinese culture, including Chinese food. I have to say Chinatowns are a testament to the struggles Chinese people faced, and the eventual integration into the local community is a source of pride for many Chinese.

As time passed, Chinese food was gradually accepted by Americans, but the food had to be reinvented to appease American tastes – the sweet and sour flavor is a notable example. The many Panda Expresses, Great Walls and Chinese Gardens are examples of this Americanization of Chinese food.

China's popular street food snack Jianbing.

China's popular street food snack Jianbing.

In recent decades, the trend has turned to more authentic Chinese food. Chinese snacks like Roujiamo, a Chinese burger delicacy from northwest China's Shaanxi Province are finding their way to the US. A New Yorker has also opened a restaurant that sells Jianbing, a kind of pancake originally from Tianjin in northern China. He fell in love with the snack while he was studying in Beijing and longed for it after he returned to New York, so he decided to make it himself and sell it to Americans. He’s now considering opening chain stores to sell the Chinese street food.

Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice founder Xiaolu Yang.

Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice founder Xiaolu Yang.

Foreign food is also gaining popularity in China, a country which prides itself in its rich, diverse and ever-changing food culture. As the big cities in China become more international, you can find almost any major foreign cuisine here.

Ironically, foreign food and foreign cultures have also had a hard time when they were first introduced to China. Foreigners were called Yang Guizi or “foreign devils” by the Chinese in the past. Western food was smeared as tasteless and barbaric. But now the Chinese taste is becoming more open and inclusive. Take American fast food for example, you can find a McDonalds or KFC even in the remotest cities and towns in China. I have to say that in a globalized world, we are fortunate to have access to diverse and rich food cultures from different countries. That's the blessing of modern civilizations. Open your mouth and take a taste of other cultures.


(The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of APD.)

(CGTN)

Hot Recommended

  • NDRC signs Belt and Road agreement with HKSAR

  • China's State Grid eyes further investment along Belt and Road

  • B&R by the Numbers: Belt and Road projects need language talents

  • 'Youthquake' named Oxford Dictionaries' word of 2017

  • Brazil's Embraer eyes 2024 commercial launch for Uber flying cabs

  • Facebook will try running ads in front of Watch videos