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Food in Chinese Culture: More than What You Eat

Wan Qing CultureFest logo celebrating Food in Chinese Culture

Food takes centre stage in this year’s Wan Qing Culture Festival, organised by the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. Proving that food is more than what you eat, this year’s festival celebrates the significance and symbolism of food in Chinese culture throughout the various stages of life.

From customary practices that take place during a newborn’s first month celebrations, to the superstitions that support the pursuit of academic excellence as well as the rituals behind Chinese wedding betrothals, you are invited to embark on a journey of discovery as you learn more about food in Chinese culture and what these traditions mean.

The festival will be held online via their Facebook page from 14 to 29 November 2020, and will be narrated by three digital mascots as they traverse through the three key chapters in life – childhood, adulthood and the golden years.

In addition, you can look forward to exciting programmes such as a ‘live’ ang ku kueh-making demonstration, a step-by-step guide on how to prepare betrothal gifts for a Guo Da Li and conduct a wedding tea ceremony, an interactive ‘live’ Q&A session with a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) physician and dietician on the dos and don’ts of pre and post-natal foods, and more.

In the Kitchen with The Ang Ku Kueh Hut

In the Kitchen with The Ang Ku Kueh Hut, 15 November, Facebook Live/IGTV (Courtesy of Ang Ku Kueh Hut)

Many of us are familiar with the Ang Ku Kueh, literally meaning ‘red tortoise cake’, a traditional Chinese pastry made from soft, sticky glutinous rice flour wrapped around sweet mung bean filling that has accompanied us throughout our childhood. However, how many of us actually know how it is made?

Designed to resemble a tortoise’s shell, ang ku kuehs symbolise fertility, prosperity and longevity and are consumed during festive occasions such as the first month celebrations of newborn babies.

Join host Ang Qiu Ting (@BongQiuQiu) in the kitchen with father and daughter duo, Priscilla and Francis from The Ang Ku Kueh Hut as they discuss the rich symbolism of ang ku kuehs in the Chinese culture and guide you through the steps to create this popular dessert!

Baby’s Full Month Celebration

Baby’s Full Month Celebration, 17 November 2020 (Photo Courtesy of Flickr)

Preparing a party for your baby’s full month? In Chinese culture, red eggs are traditionally presented as gifts to guests attending the celebration, alongside other foods rich in auspicious meaning.

Find out more about the symbolism of red eggs, how the number of eggs gifted reflects the gender of the baby, and other lesser-known Chinese customs surrounding a baby’s full month celebration through this virtual experience!

Schooling & Exams: Taboo Foods to Avoid

Schooling & Exams: Taboo Foods to Avoid, 19 November 2020, (Photo Courtesy of Flickr)

Is exam season coming up for your kids? They say it is better to be safe than never. In Chinese culture, it is believed that one should avoid consuming eggs while studying for exams, while a bottle of chicken essence daily is believed to boost brain power and focus.

The Chinese culture is full of superstitions and taboos, particularly when it comes to ensuring academic excellence. Learn more about such taboos when it comes to food in Chinese culture as you navigate through this fun interactive experience!

Chinese Wedding 101: Guo Da Li

Chinese Wedding 101: Guo Da Li, 21 November 2020 (Photo Courtesy of The Chinese Wedding Shop)

Pig trotters, abalone, oranges and dried mushrooms – these are just some of the many food items that are to be included in the customary gift set presented by the groom to the bride during the Chinese wedding betrothal ceremony known as Guo Da Li.

However, what really is Guo Da Li, what do these food items symbolise, and why are they a must-have during Chinese weddings? Join host Elaine Rui Min (@Elaineruimin) together with experts from The Chinese Wedding Shop in their two-part video series as they discover fun facts about Chinese weddings and gain a deeper appreciation for our social practices and rituals!

Chinese Wedding 101: Tea Ceremony

Chinese Wedding 101: Tea Ceremony, 22 November 2020 (Photo Courtesy of The Chinese Wedding Shop)

Did you know that the tea, served on a red tray to symbolise auspiciousness, is not only an expression of reverence, but also symbolic of the relationship between the married couple? The tea ceremony, or ‘Jing Cha’, is a Chinese ritual performed by newlywed couples on their wedding day and is considered a vital component of the wedding ceremony.

In the second part of their video series, join host Chloe Choo (@Chloeandchoo) together with experts from The Chinese Wedding Shop as they learn more about this age-old ritual through a series of fun challenges!

Pre & Post-natal Foods – Can Eat or Not?

Pre & Post-natal Foods – Can Eat or Not?, 25 November 2020, FB Live (Photo Courtesy of Flickr)

Find out what foods to consume and avoid, their various symbolic and health benefits, and other helpful tips to tide you over your pre-natal and post-natal stages.

Click HERE for more information on the different ways food has been incorporated into Chinese Culture!

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Katherine Sng

Katherine Sng

I am a single mother living in Singapore. I am an advocate of living a healthy lifestyle through exercise; eating right; keeping a positive and youthful outlook of life; and, to live vicariously while you can. When not spending time watching Bubba grow, I am catching up on the latest news and entertainment gossip. I strongly believe that empowerment is possible for anyone, as long as they believe in themselves and the people around them.


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