East Asian Foodways: How Ingredients Speak of Regionality

Abstract

“Food can be studied from the viewpoint of many disciplines” (Mennell, Murcott, and Otterloo 1992: 35), however it is rarely used to identify regionality above nation states. Talking about East Asian food or an East Asian culinary sphere however does imply this regionality. By means of ingredients used, this paper is therefore testing four Asian nations for membership in this potential culinary region. While distinctive local taste preferences are not denied, this paper draws on diverse evidence to argue for common patterns pointing towards an East Asian culinary region. In doing so, it does not define the region exclusively but rather limits its scope for feasibility, inviting future research to expand on its findings.

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