Cuisine class presents a tasty take on Asian cultures
One of the best methods to learn about different cultures from around the world, Bria Davis said, is through the food they eat and prepare for friends and family.
“Especially when it comes to Asian cultures,” Davis elaborated.
To learn more about those cultures, Davis, an English major minoring in Chinese, enrolled in Radford's Asian Cuisines and Cultures course taught by I-Ping Fu, Ph.D., a professor of Chinese in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.
In the course, students explore and learn a broad array of Asian cultures and express them through cooking that country's typical cuisines with an understanding of their nutritional values, the professor said.
“This course is designed to explore a variety of Asian cultures and improve students' lives and the world around them,” Fu said. “There is an emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches to equip students to explore new tastes for Asian cultural inquiries and their popular cuisines.”
Course topics during the fall 2023 semester include recipes from Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese cultures and their cuisines.
“I want to expand students' tastes in Asian food, and I want them to be able to critically evaluate the Western food they consume in daily life in comparison to the Asian food that they learn in class,” Fu said.
The course, CCST 320, is a three-credit-hour lecture course taught in English to fulfill the REAL Curriculum's E area. It is also intended to be a gateway course for students who may want to choose Foods and Nutrition as a major or for students who wish to take Chinese language and culture as a minor.
Fu said she aims to encourage students to explore, understand and creatively expand her students’ appreciation of Asian cultures and cuisines. “Students critically evaluate and synthesize the choices of food they could consume in the light of Asian cultures and make choices to keep their bodies healthy,” she noted.
One of the many ways the course benefits Davis is by encouraging students to try new things, the Woodbridge, Virginia, junior said. “I love that because I'm picky with foods I don't know.”
When the class ends in December, Davis hopes to have the “ability to cook at least half the dishes we have made in the class on my own.”
She and her classmates will have plenty of tasty dishes to select.
Fu is teaching students to prepare one cuisine each week of the course.
“I taught my students to make Vietnamese summer rolls, pho and the dessert bubur cha cha,” Fu explained. The next week, she taught her students to make sushi, California rolls, Japanese ramen noodles and miso soup.
“I love cooking Asian food, so this class is really helpful in teaching specifics and other ways to make recipes,” said Davis, who also revealed an extra bonus from taking the course.
“This class is also a good bonding experience because when it comes to cooking Asian dishes,” Davis said. “There is usually a lot of ingredient preparation needed, so we all work as a team while cooking.”