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Cuisine integral to culture

Updated: 2013-11-14 09:30
( China Daily)

It was reported that the South Korea's kimchi was to be officially declared part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity at the end of the year. Although UNESCO has since said the reports aren't true, it's a good time to reflect on the eight major components that enrich Chinese cuisine, says an article in People's Daily. Excerpts:

Japanese cuisine and the Chinese abacus have also been proposed for inclusion on UNESCO's list. And many people believe that if the kimchi and Japanese food can compete for the intangible cultural heritage, Chinese cuisines should try, too.

In fact, applying for recognition as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity is not a competition for cooking ingredients, but the culture in which it evolved. Perhaps Japanese and Korean food can not compete with Chinese food in terms of the variety of ingredients, flavors and cooking skills, but they are core parts of their cultures.

In South Korea, people believe the preparation process for kimchi ahead of winter shows the "sharing spirit" between neighbors and strengthens peoples' sense of belonging as a community. While the Japanese believe their cuisine reflects a society that "respects nature" and it promotes the connections within families and society.

When the "gastronomic meal of the French" was included on the list it was the result of a long campaign by a group of leading chefs, who even invited film star, Gerard Depardieu, to be a representative. In Japan, Kyoto University which has produced many Nobel Prize winners is considering starting a major in Japanese cuisine.

China should express more of its traditional cultural elements to the world as part of its soft power. Cuisines differ in flavors, as they are inherent to the culture in which they evolve. It is important to show the culture of Chinese food to the world.

(China Daily 11/14/2013 page9