1. Reads
  2. Lite

Quarantine Cooking: The Coronavirus Lockdown in China has Given Birth to a New Cuisine

Professor of Financial Economics and Part-time Value Investor, Transfin.
Mar 3, 2020 6:45 AM 2 min read

There’s an interesting illustrated feature in The New Yorker about how people in China are finding relief from the coronavirus anxiety in their kitchens – and inventing an entire new cuisine in the process.


Something is Cooking in China

More than 750m people are under some form of travel restriction in China. And entire cities and provinces are under total lockdown.


The lockdown has forced hundreds of millions of working professionals who relied on food-delivery apps for all their meals and rarely visited the kitchen before to pick up the utensils and don their chef hats...and cook!


Of course, you can’t expect the usual picture-perfect cakes and complex, elaborate broths associated with mainstream Chinese cuisine. Not only because the cooks are amateurs who might not differentiate between a ladle and a pan but also because the ingredients available are limited and in short-supply.


Birth of a Cuisine

A new cuisine is thus taking shape. It is the product of an overabundance of time and a scarcity of ingredients. Its cooks are novices and it is guided by the need to make the most of what you have, with presentation as important as cooking the dish itself.


It’s like experimental performance art, meant to be an escape from the ceaseless coronavirus concerns. A coping mechanism to deal with the loneliness and possibility of death lurking everywhere. It’s meant to be shared on social media platforms to encourage further culinary innovation, providing millions a temporary retreat from the melancholy outside their windows.


Call it Quarantine Cooking.


How well do you know the top news of the last week? Have a go at our TheWeekThatWas Quiz and test your wits.