Culinary Nostalgia : Regional Food Culture and the Urban Experience in Shanghai

Shanghai_Culinary Nostalgia is the first Western-language book to explore the unique significance that the Chinese people attach to their country’s many distinct regional foods, as well as the shifting roles that Western food plays in urban life. Author Mark Swislocki focuses on Shanghai—a food lover’s paradise—as a rich intersection of urban, regional, and national identities, and examines how tastes registered change and continuity at pivotal moments throughout the city’s history. From the earliest accounts of Shanghai’s specialty foodstuffs to the dazzling variety of regional cuisines and restaurants in the metropolis of today, this book uncovers how city residents have constructed their relationship to the city itself, to other parts of China, and to the wider world. This new history of Shanghai develops an original framework for studying food culture as an intrinsic part of the way Chinese people connect to the past, live in the present, and imagine a future.

In this book, a historical study of restaurant food and its meanings in Shanghai, Mark Swislocki brings fresh and interesting material to the field of modern Chinese history and, simultaneously, to the rapidly expanding field of culinary history . . . Swislocki’s research builds on earlier histories of native-place in Shanghai, but takes the reader into hitherto unexplored domains of this hybrid city. Readers will enjoy the journey. Original, engaging, and stimulating, this is the first book-length English-language study of a local food culture in China. It extends by a wide margin the existing body of research in this area.American Historical Review

Mark Swislocki is a cultural historian specializing in Chinese history and associate professor of History at NYU.
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