Deep-Fried Locusts and Stinky Tofu: Performing and Consuming Street Food in Thailand and Taiwan

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Sujarittanonta, Lavanchawee and John Walsh, “Deep-Fried Locusts and Stinky Tofu: Performing and Consuming Street Food in Thailand and Taiwan,” paper to be presented at the 5th ICGBE (Bangkok: June 14th-15th, 2014).

Abstract

One of the principal attractions for tourists to East Asian cities is the colourful and exotic street food to be found, often in profusion. Some examples of these common snacks have become internationalized and recreated in the upmarket restaurants of the world. Others, however, remain stubbornly unloved by anyone apart from their long-term and traditional adherents. In recent years, street food has been transformed by the spread of fast-food outlets that seem to have opened in nearly every street of every large city of the region. Western foods, powerfully marketed and configured to be addictive in taste and increasingly available through convenience store chains, represent a significant threat to street food providers. In response, providers have sought to introduce new varieties in their product offerings and, in some cases, injected new theatrical elements into their performances of production and consumption. This paper introduces case studies of different locations in Thailand and Taiwan that are known for their street food and examines them in terms of which larger societal and economic changes are reflected at the level of the streets and draws conclusions from those studies.

Lavanchawee Sujarittanonta and John Walsh

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