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.
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.
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.