The Newsletter 75 Autumn 2016

History and hybridity of East Asian food culture

Kim Chong Min

<p>Asian foodways today are as diverse and multifaceted as the complex political, ecological, institutional, and socio-cultural transformations the region underwent throughout its modern history. Extensive inter-cultural exchanges in food culture in Asia occurred on the occasions of colonization, wars of various scales, and, more recently, globalization. These changes made at macro-political levels often introduce new factors to the local food practices, influencing and enriching the ways of preparing and consuming food at the everyday level.</p>

In this issue of News from Northeast Asia, we have three articles each capturing key aspects of the history of Asian foodways: the article by Seejae Lee examines acculturation in the formation of Western-Japanese fusion cuisine in modern Japan that began with the Meiji Restoration in late 19th century; Young-ha Joo writes about the history of the instant ramen industry in Korea, Japan and Taiwan, which reflects the exchanges and hybridization of food in colonial and post-colonial East Asia; and the article by Zhao Rongguang illuminates Chinese national culinary culture, focusing on philosophical, historical and cultural dimensions.

KIM Chong Min, Regional Editor of ‘News from Northeast Asia’; Research Fellow, Seoul National University Asia Centre (