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Chinese Food and Foodways in Southeast Asia and Beyond

Edited by Tan Chee-Beng

Publication Year: 2011

Chinese cuisine has had a deep impact on culinary traditions in Southeast Asia, where the lack of certain ingredients and acess to new ingredients along with the culinary knowledge of local people led Chinese migrnats to modify traditional dishes and to invent new food. This process brought the cuisine of southern China, considered by some writers to be "the finest in the world," into contact with a wide range of local and global cuisines and ingredients. When Chinese from Southeast Asia moved on to other parts of the world, they brought these variants of Chinese food with them, completing a cycle of culinary reproduction, localization andinvention, and globalization. the process does not end there, for the new context offers yet another set of ingredients and culinary traditions, and the "embedding and fusing of foods" continues, creating additional hybrid forms. Written by scholars whose deep familiarity with Chinese cuisine is both personal and academic, Chinese Food and Foodways in Southeast Asia and Beyond is a book that anyone who has been fortunate enough to encounter Southeast Asian food will savour, and it provides a window on this world for those who have yet to discover it.

Published by: NUS Press Pte Ltd

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix

We are grateful to Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange for funding participants of the conference project “Chinese Foodways in Multicultural Southeast Asia” which was coordinated by the editor of this book. The project participants presented their papers at The 10th Symposium on Chinese Dietary Culture, which was co-organized...

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pp. 1-19

In writing about Chinese food in southern China, E.N. Anderson and Marja Anderson (1977: 319) write: “The food of contemporary southern China is, in the opinion of many, the finest in the world. It combines quality, variety, and a nutritional effectiveness that allows it to sustain more people per acre than any other diet on earth except modern laboratory...

Part I: Overview and Chinese Food in Diaspora

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1. Cultural Reproduction, Local Invention and Globalization of Southeast Asian Chinese Food

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pp. 23-46

Migration and the reproduction as well as invention of cuisines deserve serious academic attention. Much has been written about migration and migrants’ adaptation to the host societies. Since the 1990s, scholars influenced by post-modern rhetoric have rephrased this as migration and deterritorialization, emphasizing detachment and fragmentation, and in...

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2. Gastronomic Infl uences on the Pacific from China and Southeast Asia

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pp. 47-74

Global flows of food out of Asia have a long time depth as people migrated south and east out of China across the Pacific, and around the world (Irwin 2006; Flannery 1994; Bellwood 1985). But this track has been previously overlooked as globalization of foods and other consumer goods has been attributed to a much later process of “Westernization”...

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3. Global Encounter of Diasporic Chinese Restaurant Food

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pp. 75-103

I write this chapter to make sense of what constitute Chinese cuisines and how they represent Chinese cultures or Chineseness overseas. Since my childhood, I have tasted Chinese food in restaurants and food stalls in large and small cities, in private and public banquets, and in remote village markets all over the world.1 This paper discusses the complexity of Chinese...

Part II: Chinese Food and Foodways in Southeast Asia

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4. The Dragon’s Trail in Chinese Indonesian Foodways

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pp. 107-123

The Republic of Indonesia is an archipelago consisting of 18,108 islands, large and small, spanning an area of about 1,919,440 square kilometres. Only 6,000 of the islands are inhabited, of which the largest are Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan (Borneo) Sulawesi and the Western part of Papua (New Guinea). Although the island of Java is not the largest, it has...

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5. Acculturation, Localization and Chinese Foodways in the Philippines

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pp. 124-140

This is a common advice given to Filipinos going to China. Unknowing Filipino tourists in China sometimes assume these two most popular dishes in the Philippines to be “China” in origin. In actual fact, these are examples of how “Chinese” food has transformed and become indigenized, and they in turn have infl uenced foodways in the Philippines. Filipino cuisine has...

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6. The Chinese Foodways in Mandalay: Ethnic Interaction, Localization and Identity

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pp. 141-155

The idiom “the masses regard food as their primacy (民以食為天)” shows the primacy of food in human life. Chinese food and foodways are part and parcel of Chinese civilization and they have a long history (see Anderson 1988; Chang 1977). The Chinese foodways in different places reflect their adaptation to local environment ecologically, economically and...

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7. Banh Cuon and Cheung Fan: Searching for the Identity of the “Steamed Rice-flour Roll”

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pp. 156-171

Banh cuon (rice-sheet roll) has been my favourite breakfast dish after spending an extended time in Vietnam from 2000 to 2003. As a person who had often eaten cheung fan (肠粉) while growing up in Hong Kong, I found banh cuon triggered many childhood memories. Eating banh cuonin Vietnam helped cure me of my homesickness. To me, banh cuon...

Part III: Beyond Southeast Asia

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8. Transnational Cuisine: Southeast Asian Chinese Food in Las Vegas

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pp. 175-191

In less than 15 years, Las Vegas has been transformed from “a dining wasteland,” or a place where “money could buy anything except a good meal” to one of the top restaurant cities in the world (Apple 1998: F1, F6). In her description of the wide-ranging selection of restaurants clustered within a few blocks, food columnist Heidi Rinella captures the diversity...

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9. Four Dances of the Sea: Cooking “Asian” As Embedded Australian Cosmopolitanism

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pp. 192-217

At the time when Chef Cheong Liew first conceptualized Four Dances of the Sea, he was no stranger to celebrity. The year was 1995; the place, Adelaide, Australia. Cheong had already established his reputation for innovation (“the first to open other chefs’ taste buds to Asian possibilities”) (Ripe 1993: 20) through his legendary restaurant Neddy’s (1975–88). This...

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10. Southeast Asian Chinese Food in Tea Café and Noodle Shops in Hong Kong

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pp. 218-235

TV programs such as “Travellicious,”1 “Where the TV Stars Eat and Drink?”, “The Starry Kitchen”2 and “Chua Lam Brings You to the Vegetable Wholesales Market”3 are very popular in Hong Kong, attracting huge audience from all walks of life. Millions of viewers, men and women, young and old are all fascinated by these food and travel stories from an “insider”...


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pp. 236-238


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pp. 239-243

E-ISBN-13: 9789971696030
Print-ISBN-13: 9789971695484

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 21
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: New