Food And Drink Traditions On UNESCO's List Of Intangible Cultural Heritage
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Different from historical and religious sites, cultural traditions have also been recognised by UNESCO under ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’. UNESCO defines intangible cultural heritage as “the practices, expressions, knowledge and skills that communities, groups and sometimes individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage”. This includes cuisine alongside performing arts, costumes and rituals. The list aims to help preserve culinary traditions so that they are not bastardised or diluted. Here are five such traditions:

Kimjang, making and sharing kimchi in the Republic of Korea

Kimchi is essentially fermented and pickled cabbage with other vegetables like carrots. The practice of Kimjang is a marker of Korean identity and an opportunity to bond with the family. Kimchi forms an important part of Korean meals, working as both a starter and a side.

Hawker culture in Singapore, community dining and culinary practices in a multicultural urban context

In Singapore, stalls manned by hawkers function as opportunities for community dining. People from varied backgrounds congregate to experience eating hawker food, where they mingle. This practice has been derived from street food culture and forms an important part of the cultural landscape of the city.

Washoku, traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese, notably for the celebration of New Year

Washoku is another name for Japanese cuisine, which uses ingredients in a way so as to create harmony among flavours for a nutritious and well-presented meal. It indicated respect for nature and a relationship to the use of natural resources. The rituals associated with washoku are typically seen during New Year celebrations in Japan.

Turkish coffee culture and tradition

The special techniques used for the preparation and brewing of Turkish coffee represent Turkey’s rich culture. Turkish coffee is usually drunk in coffee houses where people meet with each other to converse and share ideas. The tradition symbolises friendship, hospitality and entertainment. 

Beer culture in Belgium

The production and appreciation of beer forms a part of the living heritage of many communities in Belgium. Different fermentation methods result in the production of close to 1,500 varieties of beer. Skills and knowledge are communicated among people within similar social circles and also passed down by master brewers.