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PALATES OF PLEASURE: THE PHILOSOPHY & POLITICS OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN FOOD Conference at NYU and elsewhere, April 19-21, 2001
Program and Institute at New York University
The French Culinary Institute
CONTACTS: Program: Amy
Besa (212) 343-9012. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration: Fannie Chan (212) 992-9651 Southeast Asian Food Conference 2001
The region of Southeast Asia is complex in its history of cultural contact with other Asian and Western countries. Through trade, wars, and extensive periods of colonization, the lifeways of this region have and still are in constant transformation and development. A primary expression of these evolving processes is illustrated in the food systems of these countries.
In several Southeast Asian nations such as the Philippines and Vietnam, western colonization has not only influenced cuisine, but has actually assimilated food systems of these contemporary societies. Still in other countries such as Cambodia, indigenous cuisine, as well as time-honored food systems have virtually disappeared today. A number of factors contribute to this region's continuing food transformation processes, including the significant increases in "McDonaldization" within major cities as well as the serious ecological impacts on the landscapes as a result of wars and conflicts.
Yet with the disappearance of "authentic" foods and rituals and corporatization spurring the increase of Western "fast food" practices within the region, another contemporary trend has been occurring simultaneously: the growing popularity, distribution and consumption of Southeast Asian food in the Asian Diaspora. The world-wide restaurant industry has been experiencing a robust increase in the commercialization and commodification of Southeast Asian cuisine and culture, as evident in major American urban centers from mom and pop operations to trendy, expensive restaurants.
By exploring the historical as well as the contemporary developments and processes of Southeast Asian food systems, we seek to achieve a greater understanding of cultural and community identities within the region and throughout the Diaspora. By doing so, we begin the process of reclaiming indigenous Southeast Asian cuisine and food systems with the goal to preserve them for the future. Through this international symposium, Cendrillon Restaurant will work towards the establishment of a foundation to support Southeast Asian food studies and culinary arts professions.