Roasted pigs and bao dumplings: Festive food and imagined transnational identity in Chinese-Vietnamese festivals

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Abstract

This article explores the ways by which special dishes prepared for the Chinese community festivals in the Vietnamese town of Hoi An negotiate and expand the notions of ethnic identity and place of origin of migrant groups. Although the festivals stress specific regional identities in (Imperial) China, the food consumed in the communal feasts defines much wider scopes of ethnicity and territory. By discussing these alternative scopes and comparing the feasts in two festivals, the article suggests that a new transnational 'greater-Chinese' identity is celebrated in contemporary Chinese-Vietnamese community festivals. The scope and importance of this new identity is analysed in relation to an imagined 'greater-China' as a dominant player in the forthcoming 'Pacific Century'. The position of the culinary sphere as a privileged arena for sociocultural negotiation, especially in post-socialist authoritarian regimes, is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-293
Number of pages13
JournalAsia Pacific Viewpoint
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chinese diasporas
  • Ethnic identity
  • Food
  • Transnationalism
  • Vietnam

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