Chinese Food Philosophy: A Recipe for Life

By on January 10, 2019

What can the world learn from a distinctive food culture that promotes spiritual, mental and physical health?

Chinese culinary traditions reveal much about the social, moral and religious codes that have long governed Chinese society. The content of staple dishes, and the rituals surrounding their preparation, presentation and consumption, are rich with symbolic value and have remained constant over centuries.

In this session, our panellists will explore recent developments in Chinese food culture. How are young Chinese embracing and adapting distinctive culinary traditions? In highly commercial, urban environments, does tradition sell? And are characteristics that define China’s food heritage – balance, restraint, health and pleasure – being lost in our increasingly globalised world? If so, what are the consequences for health and well being?

This event is part of the Lee Kum Kee Culinary Culture Series, and is organised in partnership with the Oxford Cultural Collective. We are grateful for the support of PB Catering, the SOAS Food Studies Centre and the China Institute at SOAS University of London.

About Vivienne Lo
Vivienne Lo is a Senior Lecturer and the convenor of the UCL China Centre for Health and Humanity. She has been teaching the History of Asian Medicine and Classical Chinese medicine at BSc and MA level in UCL since 2002.

Vivienne’s core research concerns the social and cultural origins of acupuncture, therapeutic exercise, and food and medicine. She translates and analyses manuscript material from Early and Medieval China, and publishes on the transmission of scientific knowledge along the so-called Silk Roads. She has a long-term interest in visual cultures of medicine and healthcare. Current projects include a book on film and the Chinese medical humanities, and a history of nutrition in China.

About Bee Wilson
Bee Wilson is a food writer, historian and journalist. She began her professional writing career as food critic for the New Statesman, and went on to write for The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Times Literary Supplement and The New Yorker, amongst other publications. She has written five books and her latest, First Bite: How We Learn to Eat, won a special commendation at the 2017 Andre Simon Awards.

About Ching-He Huang
Ching-He Huang is an international Emmy-nominated TV chef and cookery writer, who is now firmly established as the UK’s ‘go to’ expert on Chinese cuisine.

Ching’s approach to cookery reflects her family’s origins in a farming community in Southern Taiwan. Fusing heritage with innovation, she uses fresh, organic and ethically sourced ingredients to create modern Chinese dishes. She is renowned for making Chinese food accessible, healthy and nutritious.

Her media career, which spans over a decade, has introduced a new generation to the delights of Chinese cooking. The immense popularity of her television work is testament to her engaging style and natural skill as a teacher. Her success is truly international, with many of her television shows having been sold, distributed and broadcast around the world. Ching has published eight best-selling cookbooks including Exploring China, with Ken Hom, and Chinese Food Made Easy. Her latest book, Stir Crazy, was published in September 2017.

About Donald Sloan
Donald Sloan is the Chair and founder of the Oxford Cultural Collective.


This event is part of the Asia House 2019 Winter Arts and Learning Programme, a completely unique initiative in the UK in presenting a pan-Asian artistic and cultural programme with a scope of more than 40 countries in the region. Through our programme of events on arts, culture and education we act as a catalyst for the discovery of the diverse arts and cultures of Asia and the Asian diaspora, and serve as a bridge of understanding between the UK and Asia.

Chinese Food Philosophy: A Recipe for Life – Dr Vivienne Lo, Bee Wilson and Ching-He Huang in conversation with Donald Sloan will be held at Asia House Wednesday 16th January 2019.

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