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Thai Food in Taiwan: Tracing the Contours of Transnational Taste

Chi, H.C. and Jackson, P. (2011) Thai Food in Taiwan: Tracing the Contours of Transnational Taste. New Formations (74). pp. 65-81. ISSN 0950-2378

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This essay examines the recent proliferation of Thai restaurants in Taiwan, relating their development to different streams of transnational migration from Thailand, Myanmar and mainland China. Thai restaurants in Taiwan take many forms from low-cost 'ethnic' restaurants around the Taoyuan train station and in more peripheral areas, catering mainly to migrant workers from Thailand, to upmarket restaurants in city centre locations, catering to a 'cosmopolitan' clientele with high levels of economic and cultural capital. The paper traces the contours of transnational taste in Taiwan where Thai food has been adapted to suit local demand. In this context, as elsewhere, notions of culinary authenticity are contested, revolving around specific ingredients, recipes and dishes as well as notions of provenance, décor and other aspects of material culture. The paper examines the process of authentication, focusing on the culinary claims made by differently-located stakeholders. It also considers the material as well as the symbolic construction of 'taste', a term whose multiple meanings provide a valuable way of rethinking transnationality. As well as providing a case study of the evolution of culinary culture in a non-Western context, the paper sheds light on the role of food in defining Taiwan's contemporary political culture through notions of cosmopolitanism and modernity.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2012 Chi et al; licensee Lawrence & Wishart . This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Department of Geography (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Prof Peter Jackson
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2012 11:21
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2014 07:46
Status: Published
Publisher: Lawrence and Wishart
Identification Number: 10.3898/neWf.74.04.2011
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/74382

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