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The Travel of Taste Buds: Europe and America Travel Writing on Diet in the Late Qing Dynasty
After the outbreak of the First Opium War in 1840, many Chinese traveled to learn from the West and wrote a large number of overseas travel writings. They experienced western diet culture on their journey. It challenged their diet habits and impacted their original living cultures. In their travel writings, the main criticism of western diet focuses on its extravagant diet style and the positive impressions of western diet come from good food hygiene and scientific catering. They witnessed the implementation of modern civilization on their journey and it echoed their motive to travel to learn from the West. However, familiar Chinese hometown food does not soothe Chinese travelers' homesick but also inspire national confidence. It becomes a tool to compete with Western civilization and subsume other culture. Furthermore, Westerns have the wild imagination on Chinese food and they also participate in innovating Chinese food. It projects the distorted and remodeling oriental imagination which offers Chinese travelers their own image in the eyes of the West.
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