Author:Yukari Sai (Waseda University)
Paper short abstract:
With today's increasing global awareness of the halal market, halal foods have been rediscovered as cultural and economic capital in China. Governments are encouraging the standardization of halal food production, and Muslims are reassessing the honesty and responsibility of the service providers.
Paper long abstract:
This paper describes how both Muslims and non-Muslims in China interpret and consume "halal" foods. It examines halal-related policies, the availability of halal foods, and the notions of halal cuisine, particularly those held by the Hui people of mainland China. Halal and the term "qingzhen", the Mandarin translation for Islam, have been negotiated through the institutionalization of halal food regulation, but Culinary image of "qingzhen" cuisine have also emerged through the historical interactions of regional food cultures and Islamic religious culture in China. Since the 1990's, governmental oversight of halal foods - initially as a matter of ethnic policy, later as economic policy - has bolstered the standardization of halal foods. With today's increasing global awareness of the halal market, halal foods and cuisine have been rediscovered as ethnic, cultural, and economic capital. This has also brought new players into the halal food industry. Although local governments are asserting their authority over halal foods, discrepancies remain between the governmental definition of "halal" and the understanding held by Muslim and even non-Muslim residents. This paper examines narratives about halal foods and local cuisines, how consumers assess halal foods, and how food service providers leverage the concept of halal in China. It explores the complex relationship between the common notions of a cuisine and the practicalities of the food industry.
Food culture and food business