TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2017, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (4): 562-568.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.002963

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Catering Cultural Production under the Background of Globalization and Locality: Spatial-temporal Characteristics of Teochew Cuisine Ingredients

LI Jiancheng   

  1. (Department of Geography,Institute of Chaoshan Studies,Hanshan Normal University,Chaozhou 541021,China)
  • Online:2017-07-05 Published:2017-07-05


Under the background of globalization and locality, Teochew cuisine is a case study of catering cultural production “from locality to globalization”. Teochew cuisine sources from Chaoshan, Guangdong, China. As Chaoshan is a region feeding relatively larger population with limited farmland and the cultural feature is reflected on its fineness. Regarding the food culture, it is characterized by making the best use of various food materials as well as pursuing exquisite and fresh delicacies. Therefore, Teochew cuisine is also known as fine food. “Harmony between nature and men” is a chief notion in the culture of Teochew cuisine, and “delicacies in season” is the supreme pursuit for the flavor of Teochew cuisine. Teochew cuisine is spread with the immigration of its people. Nowadays, the population of overseas Teochew and their descendents is almost matched by that in the mainland. Thus, Teochew cuisine has been in the form of the distribution pattern of three pillars: locality, Southeast Asia and Hongkong. Such spatial distribution characteristic of Teochew cuisine is a reflection of the local cultural communication and transformation formed under the influence of immigration from Chaoshan together with the global integration. Based on the analysis of incoming data of local Teochew restaurants, combined with local knowledge, this study discusses the Man-land relationship of Teochew cuisine, the temporal and spatial characteristics of ingredients, the influence of globalization and the adaptation of overseas Teochew cuisine from the perspective of food geography. The geographical advantages of Chaoshan provide abundant food plants, hence the “cradle” of Teochew cuisine contains diverse ingredients, priority with seafood, featured by the conspicuous seasonal variations and geographic concentration. Teochew people form their unique cooking method and flavor of seasoning through accumulation of local food making experiences. The background of globalization and locality means, in one aspect, local Teochew cuisine is influenced by globalization, and food ingredients from all over the world tend to be obtained because of the increasingly developed logistics worldwide. Cultural communication affected by globalization also leads to the integration of external elements into Teochew cuisine. In the other aspect, the overseas Teochew cuisine has still kept the local flavor in translocal catering cultural production by using the unique methods of cooking and seasoning. Moreover, globalization makes the space compression and breaks through time limit, and, to some extent, food ingredients are relocated to satisfy the seasonal requirements of local Teochew cuisine. In other words, globalization expands the range of available food supplies. Overseas Teochew cuisine maintains some similarities with differences comparing with the local one. As a local branch of cooking styles, it manifests the cultural expansion of “making what is regional worldwide” in terms of foreign communication. Meanwhile, its constitution of ingredients shows the cultural infiltration of “making what is worldwide regional”. As a part of catering culture, Teochew cuisine exactly embodies the cultural blending in the background of globalization and locality. Therefore, globalization is conducive to the spread and development of Teochew cuisine. However, flavors of Teochew cuisine have not been homogenized in the globalization process, instead, richer flavors have been obtained. By integrating with external elements in the globalization background, local Teochew cuisine is also advancing with times. In cross-region diet culture, the temporal and spatial limitation to ingredients is offset by seasonings with Teochew cuisine flavors in the overseas production process of Teochew cuisine. So as discussed above, Teochew cuisine has a sustainable development prospect under the background of globalization and locality. Teochew cuisine has now been listed as a national intangible cultural heritage, which highlights its diversity and locality in the globalization process.

Key words: globalization, locality, restaurants, Teochew cuisine, food ingredients