The origins of Chinese food and its transition in the 21st Century

Mei Sheung Christine CHAN

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


The paper addresses a contemporary anthropological issue for medicine on the popular Chinese food culture in combating the world epidemic of childhood obesity in the 21st century in Hong Kong. The origins of Chinese food stems from Taoism which is a religious-philosophical tradition that has, along with Confucianism, shaped Chinese life for more than 2,000 years. The Tao regulates natural processes and nourishes balance in the Universe. It embodies the harmony of opposites. The Yin and Yan are symbolized as the two opposing forces in the nature of the Universe. And it is believed that humans intervene in nature and control the balance of Yin and Yang. Eating proper foods is one way of helping a person maintain such balance and can also return him to a state of balance that is the origins of Chinese food as medicine. However, political, social, economic changes of this popular food culture with the demands of globalisation in most of the modern Asian societies continue to reshape food architectural tradition. Traditional Chinese food has survived the changes but is continually under challenge and, to an extensive degree, particularly in newly urban places, requires socio-cultural reconstruction. The understanding of this popular food culture has huge impact on health education for the new generations in Hong Kong and China as a whole.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2008


Chan, C. (2008, December). The origins of Chinese food and its transition in the 21st Century. Paper presented at the First International Conference: Popular Culture and Education in Asia, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


Dive into the research topics of 'The origins of Chinese food and its transition in the 21st Century'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.