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Bon appetite

By Raymond Zhou | China Daily | Updated: 2014-06-14 08:46

Bon appetite
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Bon appetite

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Bon appetite

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The thought of eating items only a few can afford is the reason why some species are endangered.

In that sense, the makers of A Bite of China have been right to steer away from those rare edibles that represent status symbols in high society.

But maybe the biggest upside of the series is the awakening of love among a wider swath of the Chinese public, simply for the food they consume on a daily basis.

It is not every day that people treat what they eat as part of their culture. But it could certainly be argued that Chinese food is the only part of Chinese tradition that has deeply touched almost every other culture around the globe.

In the US, for instance, even small towns with no Chinese inhabitants have Chinese restaurants.

Chinese food is known to be delicious and affordable - maybe not exactly Michelin-caliber - and for those places which do have a Chinese community, the restaurant can act as a lifeline of many who settle there.

However, for a long time, some have harbored the elitist view that food is somehow low on the list of a country's cultural markers.

In the 1980s, I joined a group of Chinese dignitaries on a tour of North America.

They dined out in so many Chinese restaurants (they were not yet accustomed to Western food, not even fast food) that some feared that many Americans might simply consider Chinese food was all China had to offer.

That offended many Chinese-Americans, who made a good living as restaurateurs. But after watching this show, surely nobody would now dare make such a flippant remark.

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