Who would want to torture themselves by spending hours browsing picturesque plates of food they can’t eat? Apparently a lot of people, as food museums in China are soaring in popularity. BBC reports:
The cuisine museum in the eastern city of Hangzhou is one of a growing number of food museums in China, but it’s probably the most magnificent. It occupies a large site in the scenic hills on the outskirts of town, and was built at a cost of nearly $30m (£18m). Unlike the more modest food museums in cities such as Chengdu and Kaifeng, which are run by private collectors, the Hangzhou museum has been funded by the city government, and entry is free of charge.
The Hangzhou museum has literally hundreds of life-sized models of mouth-watering food. Visitors can feast their eyes on replicas of Buddhist vegetarian dishes, snacks eaten by canal-dwellers in the Middle Ages, and the delicate sweet pastries made in Hangzhou during the Song Dynasty, 800 years ago. There’s a whole cabinet filled with different kinds of zongzi – the leaf-wrapped rice parcels eaten at the Dragon Boat Festival each spring, illustrating their historical evolution.
……The Chinese are famously obsessed with food, but until recently food culture was something most people took for granted. The last few years, however, have seen a surge in interest in China’s culinary heritage, with a boom in the publishing of gastronomic memoirs and cookbooks, and feverish public interest in the 2012 television series, A Bite of China, an encyclopedic documentary on Chinese cuisine.
Visitors drool over a mouthwatering display at the Hangzhou Cuisine Museum
Hopefully this increased fascination with China’s food heritage will also inspire a need to preserve food streets and other culinary landmarks that are currently being bulldozed to make way for bloated malls and fast food chains.