Festivals, Festival Foods, and Dietary Acculturation: A Journey of Hybridization and Identity Formation for Chinese International Students in Ottawa

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Liu, Shihan




Through participant observation at the 2018 Ottawa Night Market Chinatown and interviews with fifteen post-secondary Chinese national students in Ottawa about their dietary acculturation, this research aims to answer the following questions: How does hybridity play out in Chinese students' dietary acculturation? What are the impacts of festivals and festival foods on hybridization and identity formation? The findings suggest that Chinese students do become more "hybrid" in their food practices, but this is less so from incorporating Canadian food habits, and more a result of increased consumption of various Chinese regional cuisines and Asian cuisines. However, becoming more hybrid does not weaken the participants' Chinese identity; rather they retain it through attending the Night Market, celebrating traditional Chinese festivals, and maintaining cultural beliefs related to food choices, health and nutrition. This study suggests that hybridization involves multi-cultural and multi-dimensional influences, and confirms that hybridization is distinct from identity formation.


Mass Communications




Carleton University

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