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Festive Food and Drink in Asia

In this conversation recorded for the FEAST! theme of the Resonate Festival, Beat Kümin from the University of Warwick's Global Research Priority on 'Food' talks to Dr Shrikant Botre and Leiyun Ni (both from the History Department) about festive dishes / drinks and celebratory cultures in India and China.

Illustrations and further details of festive dishes / beverages mentioned in the conversation


Egg Dumplings
Egg dumpling
(饺, discussion starts at 2.20 minutes) is a popular dish for spring festival in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. It has a shape of dumpling with a cover made from eggs. The difficult part of this dish is to make egg covers. People would pour flavoured egg liquid to a metal laddle and heat it over a stove to form a beautiful round shape. Then meat fillings will be added to the egg cover to form a dumpling shape. There are many ways to cook egg dumplings. People can fry it, braise it in soy sauce, make it into a soup or add it into a hot pot.




Chakali (discussion starts at 5.09 minutes) is a crispy, spicy, and savoury snack made during the Diwali festival. The spiral shaped deep-fried item is prepared from the ground mixture (dough) of rice flour, black lentils, chickpea, yellow lentils, chilli powder, and various spices. Chakali recipes with multiple combinations of ingredients can be found on the you tube.


Til-Gul (discussion starts at 6.28 minutes) prepared on the occasion of Sankranti are round or square shaped sweet cakes prepared from the mixture of sesame, jaggery syrup, ground coconut or peanuts, clarified butter, and cardamom. In western India, Til-Gul are presented to relatives and friends on Sankranti with a mutual assurance of maintaining good relations in future.



Bhang (discussion starts at 19.13 minutes) is a beverage prepared from condensed milk, various dry fruits (cashews, almonds, pistachios etc.), and marijuana (herbal cannabis). Though a popular drink during the Holi festival, Bhang has been legally prohibited in a few Indian states.

If you would like to find out more about modern Chinese foodways, you may find this resource helpful: