China to Chinatown : Chinese food in the West

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China to Chinatown : Chinese food in the West

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Name:China to Chinatown : Chinese food in the West

Author :J A G Roberts

Indroduction:”Since Marco Polo first recorded his responses in 1275, the West’s encounters with Chinese food have been a measure of the times. For Jesuit missionaries, eating the exotic food of the people was a way of understanding them; for the British merchants in the 19th-century treaty ports, Chinese cuisine was an object of suspicion. During the Cultural Revolution, food was political: despite widespread food shortages, lavish hospitality was used to influence the views of visiting intellectuals and politicians, while, for some, eating the meagre food of the Communist peasantry was a Western gesture of solidarity.” “But how did a cuisine that, to the Western palate, admitted the inadmissible – sharks’ fins, dog’s flesh, cats’ eyes – spread to the extent that there is now a Chinese restaurant or takeaway on every high street and a wok in every kitchen? In charting the first immigrant communities, Chinatowns and restaurants in Britain and North America and the gradual domestication of Chinese food, Roberts provides a brilliant analysis of how cultures assimilate and adapt, at times abandoning strict ethnic authenticity, in order to survive.”–Jacket.