Culture

Toutangmian with stewed meat topping. (Internet)

Art and history in a bowl of Suzhou noodles

Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai knows his bowl of Suzhou noodles. How is the toutangmian or head soup noodles connected to landscape poetry, Neo-Confucianism and Song dynasty music? And is it going to be the end of the world, if McDonald’s were to sell Suzhou noodles? Prof Cheng shares his thoughts.
The rabbit head is the epitome of “compound flavours” — the Sichuan people consume on average 300 million rabbit heads a year. (Internet)

Off with the rabbit’s head!

How would you feel if rows of rabbit teeth and sunken eyes stared at you on a plate? Food writer Tzu-i devours one like a pro in Sichuan.
Chiang Ching (left) and Brigitte Lin atop Wuyi Mountain. (Photo: Brigitte Lin)

Women of stories: Chiang Ching and Brigitte Lin

As the saying goes, “It’s not where you go, but who you go with.” Chiang Ching and I toured many places of interest, witnessing the full glory of the mountains and waters on our adventure to mainland China. We did many things we’ve never dreamt of doing and it was a really enriching trip. But, the most important thing was the company I had with me.
The amount of effort that went into every bowl of crab butter was so unimaginable that, the idea of sampling it wouldn’t even cross a commoner’s mind. (Internet)

Crab Butter Rice

Crab Butter Rice is unlike any other crab dishes: it is a seasonal delicacy that exclusively combines the autumn crab's paste and roe without using any of its meat. Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares his experience eating it, and its peculiar and debatable origins from Suzhou brothels.
The Universal Gate at Tsz Shan Monastery, designed by Prof Ho Puay-peng.

Encounters with Chinese Architecture

Professor Ho Puay-peng of NUS is an architect by training. His signature architectural work is the HK$1.5b Tsz Shan Monastery in Hong Kong, commissioned by business magnate Lee Kah Shing. Interestingly, Prof Ho’s father Ho Beng Hong was also an architect whose designs include several Chinese architecture-inspired modern buildings in Singapore. ThinkChina invited Prof Ho to reflect on how classical Chinese architecture has evolved and changed in contemporary times outside of China, through an exploration of his own works and those of his father.
Mala ooh-la-la! Classic Zigong (自贡) dish, boiled beef slices (水煮牛肉).

Mala ooh-la-la! Uncovering Sichuan cuisine’s myriad of flavours

If you think Sichuan cuisine is just about mala hotpots, you’re in for a surprise as we share the less-known flavours that make Sichuan cuisine uniquely Sichuan. 
Professor Ho Puay Peng: Singapore has to put in more effort in terms of how people identify with conserving buildings.

If they don’t care about it, tear it down

NUS Head of Architecture Ho Puay-peng talks about his relationship with Hong Kong’s elite, how Singapore lags behind Hong Kong, and why conservation is all about the views of the community.
Of the four confidences, cultural confidence is no doubt the most essential quality, for without which, the rest can neither stand nor work. (iStock)

China needs a ground breaking “New Culture Movement”

Does modernisation equate to abandoning tradition? Will copying-and-pasting Western models work? What can China learn from its 5000 years of civilisation?
Professor Wang Gungwu. (SPH)

Wang Gungwu: When “home” and “country” are not the same

Historian Wang Gungwu speaks to Zaobao about home, country, land, and the world in a globalised era.