Phase 1: Posing Real Questions

Updated 3 years 8 months ago

In Phase 0, our process was to generate questions to choose a topic we are going to inquire in our local community, and decide on our final topic. Our topic is what we will be learning in Xizhou for a week, where as our final product will be a collection of interaction with locals and interviews. Using these steps, I decided that my topic is Food & Snacks in Xizhou.

I have several prior knowledge about the food in Xizhou. First of all, Xizhou is close to Sichuan, which means that food is likely to be similar. Sichaun cuisine is known for its usage of heavy spices. The spices include peppers, garlic, and chili oil. For example, the most known dishes include Tan tan mian, which its flavor is very spicy by using lots of chili oil. As food is highly influenced by its region, Xizhou cuisine is similar to the food culture of SIchuan. However, I do not have much more knowledge about the Xizhou cuisine, because I have never been to Xizhou myself, and secondly, XIzhou is a relatively less-known village. Due to this, there are not much information out there.

The information that I mentioned in the paragraph above came from several sources. When I used to have an ayi, her family was from Sichuan. As she sometimes would tell my parents how to cook some of her dish, I would listen to what she would say about her hometown food. My second source would be the menus of restaurants. Whenever I would go to the restaurant like Ding Tai Fung, I would read the information sections, which often gave me detailed information about the Chinese cuisine.

In Xizhou, there are several things I would like to investigate about the food. First of all, I would like to know the recipe on the food. Although this may seem simple, the recipe of the food can show many aspects of the local environment. This can include what crops are available in the region, and what type of geographic features are around. For example, if the region is rich in seafood, they would usually have lots of seafood cuisine. Secondly, I would like to learn about the history of the food. This means how the food was invented, and if it has any meaning like the moon cake or jiaozi, I would like to learn it. This is important because this is the most important way of showing the Xizhou culture, which is very unique from other places of China.

After seeing that I do not have much knowledge related to the food of Xizhou, I decided to do research on the cuisine. The reason why I continued researching is because I realised I did not have much knowledge other than the food of Sichuan. Also, I did not have much information regards to the history. The research is placed in Phase 3, which will include all of my research progress.

However in Xizhou, questions are required in order to find deeper information, as only researching may result in only finding shallow information that can be found outside Xizhou. The whole point of going to Xizhou was to find information outside the bubble of Shanghai, which is why I came up with 10 questions that I will use. The questions are also categorized in different topics to make things easier to identify. Also, this will help categorize information better throughout the research, which leads to a better output.

Note: The words in italics are my possible answers without any further investigation.

Modern Influences


1. How does social media affect Yunnan cuisine?
Information can only be found locally, and varies by food.


2. Does migration affect the charateristics of Yunnan cuisine?
Yes, because food is a combination of culture and heritage.


Views from Foreigners


3. How do foreigners, or tourists think about this dish?

A representation of the region's history and locally grown ingredients.


4. Did this food do any effect on the reputation from tourists of Xizhou?

Yes, because food is one of the biggest tourist attractions of a region, which has a large effect on the region's reputation.


Local Effects on Food


5. Does heritage of your family have any effect on how the dish is prepared?

Yes, because tribes may vary in religion which usually differs in the food that is permitted.


6. Are recipes varied whether if locals or tourists are eating it?

No, because the whole point of eating local food is experiencing the system of locally-enjoyed food.


7. How is it eaten in Xizhou? Does it vary by region?

Information can only be found locally, and varies by food.


Additional Information


8. Are there any unique foods that will only be found in Xizhou?

Yes, because materials that are available vary by region, which leads to unique dishes in Xizhou.


9. What are the difficulties while preparing this dish?

Information can only be found locally, and varies by food.


10. Are there any related or similar dishes from the other region to this dish?

Yes, because Yunnan province shares its borders with other countries, which means that the cuisine has a high likeliness to be influenced.


Before heading off to our final destination Xizhou, I would like to investigate more on the views from foreigners on Xizhou cuisine, because this can help contrast the views from locals against the views from non-locals who have only basic knowledge about the cuisine. Since locals may have a different amount of pride or confidence in its region's cuisine, it would be interesting how the foreigners who have no prior information about the food will view the culture.


In Phase 2, I will be finding helpful sources in order to find better information. The information that I will be finding from the sources will help me answer these fundamental questions in depth.


Hello! My name is SeYoung. I am currently 13, and I came back from Xizhou. I have lived in China for 7 years. I came to Guangzhou when I was 7, which I lived there for a year. After that, I lived in Beijing for three years and Shanghai since fifth grade. I decided to join Microcampus because I think that only learning in Shanghai is different from actually interacting with the locals. It was so amazing to be in Xizhou, and I wish I could go back in time to visit again!