at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Food and Society in Southeast Asia


Feeding Manila in Peace and War, 1850–1945
Daniel F. Doeppers

Over the past decade policymakers and scholars have come to realize that getting food, water, and services to the millions who live in the world’s few dozen megacities is one of the twenty-first century’s most formidable challenges. As these populations continue to grow, apocalyptic scenarios—sprawling slums plagued by hunger, disease, and social disarray—become increasingly plausible. In Feeding Manila in Peace and War, Daniel F. Doeppers traces a century in the life of Manila, one of the world’s great megacities, to show how it grew and what sustained it. Although the export of commodities played a role, Doeppers argues that change in this era was also fueled by the relationship between the metropolis and the surrounding countryside, and in particular by the country’s ability to provide the city’s population with food and drink. Doeppers follows each commodity—rice, produce, fish, fowl, meat, milk, flour, coffee—in its complex connections with other commodities. In the process he considers the changing ecology of the region as well as the social fabric that weaves together farmers, merchants, transporters, storekeepers, and door-to-door vendors.

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Food, Foodways and Foodscapes: Culture, Community and Consumption in Post-Colonial Singapore (50 Years of Nation-Building)
Lily Kong (Author, Editor) and Vineeta Sinha (Editor)

This fascinating and insightful volume introduces readers to food as a window to the social and cultural history and geography of Singapore. It demonstrates how the food we consume, the ways in which we acquire and prepare it, the company we keep as we cook and eat, and our preferences and practices are all revealing of a larger economic, social, cultural and political world, both historically and in contemporary times. Readers will be captivated by chapters that deal with the intersections of food and ethnicity, gender and class, food hybridity, innovations and creativity, heritage and change, globalization and localization, and more. This is a must-read for anyone interested in Singapore culture and society.

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Chicken in the Mango Tree: Food and Life in a Thai-Khmer Village
Jeffrey Alford

In the small village of Kravan in rural Thailand, the food is like no other in the world. The diet is finely attuned to the land, taking advantage of what is local and plentiful. Made primarily of fresh, foraged vegetables infused with the dominant Khmer flavours of bird chilies, garlic, shallots and fish sauce, the cuisine is completely distinct from the dishes typically associated with Thailand. Best-selling food writer and photographer Jeffrey Alford has been completely immersed in this unique culinary tradition for the last four years while living in this region with his partner Pea, a talented forager, gardener and cook. With stories of village and family life surrounding each dish, Alford provides insight into the ecological and cultural traditions out of which the cuisine of the region has developed. He also describes how the food is meant to be eaten: as an elaborate dish in a wedding ceremony, a well-deserved break from the rice harvest, or just a comforting snack at the end of a hard day.

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Rice: Global Networks and New Histories
Francesca Bray (Editor), Peter A. Coclanis (Editor), Edda Fields-Black (Editor), and Dagmar Schaefer (Editor)

Rice today is food to half the world’s population. Its history is inextricably entangled with the emergence of colonialism, the global networks of industrial capitalism, and the modern world economy. The history of rice is currently a vital and innovative field of research attracting serious attention, but no attempt has yet been made to write a history of rice and its place in the rise of capitalism from a global and comparative perspective. Rice is a first step toward such a history. The fifteen chapters, written by specialists on Africa, the Americas, and several regions of Asia, are premised on the utility of a truly international approach to history. Each one brings a new approach that unsettles prevailing narratives and suggests new connections. Together they cast new light on the significant roles of rice as crop, food, and commodity and shape historical trajectories and interregional linkages in Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

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