Chengdu, is the capital city of Sichuan province and is located at the southwest of China. This city has more than 4,000 years’ of history.It is a unique city, in the sense that it did not change its name in history. Chengdu is well known for its rich historical and cultural background. It is certainly a hidden gem in China,which owns five historic sites listed in World Heritage Sites.(Pearson and Pearson, 2016).
Video: CHENGDU a City+of+Gastronomy
In 2010, Chengdu became the second UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Chengdu has been well-known in history as a food city, and it is also the birthplace of many food traditions. The unique culinary culture embodies the local culture and demonstrates the preservation and nurturing of culinary creations. Sichuan cuisine is the most prominent feature of the food here which encompass seven basic flavours, such as sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, pungent, aromatic and lastly salty.
Around the end of the 17th century, new chili peppers was introduced into China from Mexico, India and Macao, and after it came to Chengdu, Sichuan province, they became a popular food flavouring for the local people. (Jianfei and Lili, 2014). The history of Sichuan cuisine can be dated back to the Qin and Han dynasties, also Sichuan cuisine was famous more than 800 years ago during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). In the late Qing Dynasty around 19th century, Sichuan cuisine became a unique local flavour, and part of the four cuisine together with Shandong, Guangdong and Huaiyang cuisines. (Cits.net, 2017)
Chengdu was also known as the “heavenly country”, and Sichuan foods in Chengdu has many features. Particularly, the high usage of pepper, garlic, ginger and chili pepper in the food preparations. All these seasonings create the Sichuan cuisine’s unique feature—spiciness. Besides spicy dishes, there are the other signature flavours of Sichuan cookery.One of the popular dishes is called “Fish fragrant eggplant (Yúxiāngqiézi)” which has nothing to do with fishes, it was just the seasonings giving out the flavour of a fish and also another popular dish is called “Mouth watering Chicken-Saliva Chicken (koushuiji)”. There is a famous sentence in Chengdu, “100 Sichuan dishes, 100 different tastes”, which means that each Sichuan cuisine is unique on its own.
(HuffPost UK, 2017)
Why do Sichuan people love the spicy foods? Because Sichuan province has a high humidity and there are many rainy days. Pepper can help people reduce internal humidity, and chili can help people do the detoxification in the body though foods therapeutic method. (Cits.net, 2017)
(Hello Tea Cup, 2017)
In Chengdu, there are more than 2,000 super chefs and around 300 national-level master chefs. Furthermore, over 70,000 chefs and more than 600,000 employed people work in food industry in Chengdu. The annual growth rate in catering industry has double-digit in Chengdu during the past 20 years. In 2010, its retail food sales revenue reached RMB 29.34 billion, with a year-on-year growth of 19.6%, which accounted over 12% of the society’s total retail sales. (Unesdoc.unesco.org, 2017)
Chengdu as a Creative City of Gastronomy, it has a lot of meanings in Intangible Cultural Heritage. For example, it has becomes a messenger of cultural exchange with the other cultures. Bring the positive evaluation of China to the whole world and protecting the Chinese traditional culture by encouraging people participated in gastronomy-related events and actives. Speed up the research of food culture and provided better education opportunities (Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Museum and Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine) in gastronomy. In the future, the author believes Chengdu will be able make more contributions to the world’s intangible cultural heritage as an UNESCO City of Gastronomy.
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Jianfei, N. and Lili, Z. (2014). Research on Sichuan Cuisine Enterprises Crisis. SHS Web of Conferences, 6, p.03002.
Pearson, D., & Pearson, T. (2016). Branding Food Culture: UNESCO Creative Cities of Gastronomy. Journal of International Food & Agribusiness Marketing, 28(2), 164-176.
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Eats, S. (2017). More Than Ma La: A Deeper Introduction to Sichuan Cuisine. [online] Seriouseats.com. Available at: http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/08/what-is-sichuan-szechuan-chinese-cuisine.html [Accessed 30 Nov. 2017].
Huang S. (2017). Log in or sign up to view. [online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=569050196770604&set=a.540255706316720.1073741829.100009968853124&type=3&theater [Accessed 29 Nov. 2017].
Hello Tea Cup. (2017). 8 Delicious Szechuan Cuisine Dishes (With Food Video Recipes). [online] Available at: http://helloteacup.com/2017/10/15/sichuan-szechuan-food-cuisine-recipe-dishes/ [Accessed 30 Nov. 2017].
HuffPost UK. (2017). How Sichuan Cuisine Is Seducing America. [online] Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/sichuan-cuisine-in-america_n_7040538 [Accessed 30 Nov. 2017].