SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Klein, Jakob A. (2020) 'Ambivalent Regionalism and the Promotion of a New National Staple Food: Reinventing Potatoes in Inner Mongolia and Yunnan.' Global Food History, 6 (2). pp. 143-163.

Text - Accepted Version
Download (1MB) | Preview


This article addresses the relationship between national, regional, and local dimensions of Chinese culinary cultures and identities through the prism of the potato. Specifically, I explore how the central government’s strategy to transform the potato from a marginal food into a Chinese national staple opened new possibilities for actors in some marginalized inland regions to reimagine their potato foods as recognized elements of local and wider regional cuisines and culinary identities. In doing so, I also draw attention to the constraints that actors faced in their attempts to reimagine local potato foods, including the sense of ambivalence that continued to surround foods once widely associated with poverty. I discuss these processes of culinary reimagining with reference to potato-growing areas in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in north China and Yunnan Province in the southwest.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: China, Inner Mongolia, Yunnan, potatoes, marginal foods, local foods, regional cuisines
SOAS Departments & Centres: School Research Centres > SOAS Food Studies Centre
Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
ISSN: 20549555
Copyright Statement: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Global Food History on 08 Jun 2020, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 19 May 2020 07:12
Funders: Other

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item