Singapore wants its hawker culture to be on the UN intangible cultural heritage list. Here are the other gastronomic practices on it.

published: NOV 20, 2020

Pizza, kimchi and beer: Food culture on Unesco’s list of heritage treasures

Hawker culture in Singapore just had its chances of being an official Unesco intangible cultural heritage boosted: An expert panel recommended it be put on the coveted list. Singapore will find out if it gets on it in December.

What’s on the coveted list?

The Unesco convention to safeguard living heritage has hundreds of practices on its list. They include the performing arts, craftsmanship, traditional medicine and, of course, food. Here are some of the tasty entries...

ITALY'S PIZZA

The art of Neapolitan “Pizzaiuolo” in Italy involves preparing the dough and baking the pizza in a wood-fired oven, with the baker using a rotating movement, said Unesco. The delicious practice links communities together.

SOUTH KOREA'S KIMCHI

Kimjang, the South Korean practice of making and sharing kimchi, was inscribed on the list in 2013. Its entry states that kimjang affirms the Korean identity and is an opportunity for strengthening family cooperation.

Arabic coffee

Serving coffee is an important aspect of hospitality in Arab societies and is considered an act of generosity. Coffee is prepared in front of guests, and the most important or oldest one is served first.

Belgium’s beer

Making and appreciating Belgian beer was recognised as a cultural experience by Unesco in 2016. Almost 1,500 beers are produced in Belgium.

JAPAN'S WASHOKU

Washoku, from Japan is a social practice related to the production, processing, preparation and consumption of food, says Unesco. The characteristics of washoku are typically seen during New Year celebrations.

FRANCE'S Gastronomic meal

What constitutes a French meal that is recognised as cultural heritage? According to Unesco, the gastronomic meal should respect a fixed structure, commencing with an aperitif and ending with a liqueur, with at least four courses in between.

There are many more living heritage gastronomic practices on the list, from the preparation of flatbreads in Armenia to the Mediterranean diet and traditional Mexican cuisine. Do you think Singapore’s hawker culture has a place on the list?

How hawker culture is special
How hawker culture is special

SOURCE: ST REPORTS BY CLEMENT YONG AND CHARMAINE NG; VIDEOS BY UNESCO/YOUTUBE, UNESCO/ASSOCIAZIONE PIZZAIUOLI NAPOLETANI/YOUTUBE, UNESCO/TCA ABU DHABI/MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND INFORMATION OF SAUDI ARABIA/MINISTRY OF HERITAGE AND CULTURE OF OMAN/MINISTRY OF CULTURE, ARTS AND HERITAGE OF QATAR/YOUTUBE

PRODUCED BY: DENISE CHONG

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