Charlene Chow

Charlene Chow

Content Editor, ThinkChina

Charlene loves stories. She enjoys exploring the worlds of people, culture and food. She is also the content editor of ThinkChina. 

Diners eat in a restaurant in Guangzhou city's Tianhe district in China's southern Guangdong province on 1 December 2022. (CNS/AFP)

Why we eat alone

In urban cities, from Singapore to Beijing to Shanghai, eating alone is increasingly embraced, even if it seems to go against human instinct or some food cultures of communal dining. The pandemic has changed some nuances, but the essence of having a cuppa with yourself, nourishing mind and palate, is here to stay.
A roadside offering of iced gem biscuits. (Photo: Terence Heng)

Lasting ties: Food for the departed

In life as in death, food brings people together and is a means to commune with one another, as seen in rituals during the seventh lunar month or Hungry Ghost Festival. Perhaps in feeding the spirits of the dearly departed, the unknown and indeed their own, people are reminded that an ending is not the end and that the bond between the living and dead is never broken.
 A miniature chicken rice stall photographed in Maxwell Food Centre in 2018. Singapore's hawker culture has been Inscribed in 2020 on the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. (SPH Media)

Chicken rice for the Singaporean soul

With Singapore HeritageFest around the corner, ThinkChina’s Charlene Chow counts the ways she finds a friend in chicken rice.
A reunion dinner spread with wishes for all things in the new year to be yuan yuan man man (圆圆满满, good and well). (iStock)

Full Circle: Ruminating on the round in Chinese New Year dining

As Chinese around the world celebrate the Lunar New Year, it is almost taken for granted that the round is auspicious and preferred. What is this fascination with the perfect circle, and how does it present itself in the dining traditions and dishes of the season? For ThinkChina's Charlene Chow, the circular jogs the memory of the beautiful things in life.