Tasting the good and the beautiful: the aestheticization of eating and drinking in traditional Chinese culture

Exploring traditional Chinese gastronomic culture in terms of its interdisciplinary expression and values, this article argues that eating and drinking, as sources of creative imagination and aesthetic pleasure, are integral to the creative process in Chinese literature and art, and possess a double value integrating the good with the beautiful. Gastronomic and artistic creations are mutually enhancing and mutually inspiring in their common pursuit of beauty. While exemplifying the holistic values of Chinese culture, the aestheticization of eating and drinking contributes to finer, richer gastronomic experiences. An investigation into this phenomenon opens a window to understanding the development of Chinese gastronomy, thus shedding cross-cultural light on the study of contemporary gastronomy.