Food is not only the source of nutrition for
human, but also plays various roles in our daily life, beliefs, and
socioeconomics. Foods has become symbolic either through
the presence of analogous qualities or by association in fact or though with
particular reference. Analogous, or like qualities include the physical
structure or appearance of the item, which is its texture, color, flavor, and
even its nutrition components. Food
intake can directly influence one’s biological function through life, as its
results are on a biological level.
are also an expression of culture, history, and lifestyle. Preserving food practices including
the traditional ones are crucially important for every ethnic group in this
world. Many scholars urged on the essentials of preserving the techniques of
preparation and skill of traditional food by transmitting them to the next
generation. When food was consumed by a group of people together
or eaten in a religious ceremony, the sociality of food is identified. But, if
it was consumed by one person alone it is not a social food.
and health is an important component of a society. The WHO (World Health Organization)
describes health as “a state of someone with complete physical, mental, and
social well-being. Food has many symbolic meaning. Some cultures have different
thought on health meaning. It is also connect with the ethnic or one’s belief.
are no longer view food as just as a meaning of provide sustenance or prevent
not enough food but, there are some food that are viewed as “super foods” also
called as functional foods, because of it therapeutic effect and cure besides
preventing disease. Customers nowadays must understand the important of their
health and search for foods that can keep them healthy, prevent disease, and
also improve their mental state and quality of life.
food is believed by many ethnic that it can provide diverse health benefits
beyond basic nutrition that include prolonging a healthy and have a active
life, boosting physical and mental ability also lowering long-term health care
expenses. Functional food also have an ability to provide potential health
benefits when consume as part of a well- balanced and healthful diet. Food is not
only express but also establishing the relationship between people and their
environment as well between people and what they believe.
1.0 Malay Ethnic
traditionally had a close identification with Islam and this religion remained
ever since. Healthy living is an integral part of Islam for
Malay people. Quran and Sunnah outline the teaching that shows every Muslim how
to protect their health and live life in a state of purity. Malay people also
believe that food play an important role for healthy and in people daily life.
It is not only Malay people but also all the people in the world know that food
is important for healthy and daily life.
classified the food referring to its effect on the human body and whether it
induces “hotness”, “coldness” or “bisa” which is refer to the food that the
body cannot accept or is allergic to that can cause the body feel weak or
Malay people, they choose the good food for their life based on the specific
guidelines in the Quran that provides concerning the selection of foods for
consumption. They also have to follow the guidelines to know what kind of foods
they can eat and what kind of food that they cannot eat which is the Halal and
Haram. Malay people also belief that they are what they eat and their flesh and
blood are derived from the food they consumed, consequently, careful
consideration is given to the food chosen for consumption.
Malay people, their traditional cooking are consist of lemon grass, screw pine
leaves and lime leaves as well as fresh herbs such as daun kemangi (a type of
basil), daun kesum (polygonum or laksa leaf), nutmeg, turmeric, and wind ginger
buds. Traditional spices such as cumin and coriander are combined with Indian
and Chinese spices including pepper. These herbs and spices majority are
attributed with the medicinal value such as Pegaga. Pegaga help to purify blood
while the other example such as lemongrass and ginseng give some benefits in
the form of tonics for ulcers, sores, and also for improving stamina and also
Traditional Chinese and Indian ayurvedic medicine had a considerable influence
on the Malay health belief and practices in their life. Wild plant leaves and
roots which is a plant sources are used by Malay people in their traditional
medicines. The knowledge connect to their usage is steeped in tradition and is
verbally handed down from one generation to another generation. This is to make
the people still can use the traditional medicine and not to forget about the
of Malay Traditional food is believed that had been occur early in 13th
century and it is continuously developed during the trading years and received
a great influence from the other country such as Thailand and Indonesia. Malay
traditional also can be categorized based on regions. For example, in the northern
region state of Penang, Perlis, and Kedah that is near to Thailand more too
fiery hot spicy and sour flavor. At the east region which is Kelantan and Terengganu
are more to sweet flavor.
taboos are also known from practically all human societies. Most of the
society, even have different religion, there are a certain foods item that have
been stand on what foods that suitable and can take and what cannot unfit and
not suitable for human consumption. Food taboos have its own history that makes
it exist and it is ethnic belief from their tradition by generation that ought
to expect an explanation in a given culture on their dietary customs.
Sometimes, food taboos seen to make no sense at all, but can be accept by only
a certain people.
though food taboos can be belief or not but sometime it can help human to
utilizing a resource more efficiency but it also can lead to the protection of
the resource. Religious or spiritual are also include as an ecological or
medical background that can be seen in origin. There are some people that have
a certain allergies and depression. Belief in food taboos can help to protect
their health and also the observation. This can led to declare and identified
the food taboos that can be used as casual agents for the certain allergies.
has obligatory structured set for 40 days for the women who gave birth. It has
become tradition for the women to follow. During that time, it is very important
to take care of their food from the harmful materials which is “cold” food such
as vegetables and fruits. Besides that, “toxic” food also must be avoid from
enter the body. It is believe that to keep the body “hot” and also prevent the “toxic”
in the body.
2.0 CHINESE ETHNIC
In Chinese society, in order to make new
friends, people usually treat the others with meals or food that also can strengthen
established relationships. In Chinese culture, foods have been used as symbols
of meaning in many occasions, such as wedding and “makan besar” to transmit and
relay different information. Chinese
not only enjoy their food but they believe that eating good food can bring peace
and closeness to especially to the family and relationships.
In Chinese society, they are belief that every
food has its own meaning. For example, peanuts, which is also known as the
longevity fruit, mean longevity, while orange mean chestnuts mean good luck.
Noodle is long, which means health and longevity, and glutinous rice balls
means the family stay together. But, there are also some foods that are a
symbol of bad luck, such as pear, which is sound like away, and they belief
that eating eat could mean separation.
Chinese noodles are a
little bit different from the other ethnic. It comes in different sizes and
shapes. “Chow mien”, which is the noodle, can be cooked in the soup
or stir-fried. It is usually served for certain time such as breakfast, lunch,
or late snacks. Noodles are served to symbolize the long life during birthday
celebrations. That is why when there is a birthday celebration, noodle is a
must. The longer the noodle, the longer the life will be for the birthday
person. It is usually accompany with meat and vegetables that are chopped up into
a small pieces and stir-fried or steamed. A dinner meal usually has soup in the
middle, and surrounded by 3 to 5 main dishes of vegetables, seafood, and
As we can see, in the Chinese society, their
cooking is not involving a lot of deep fried cooking but they are more to soup
foods. In Western culture, people are more overweight and high blood pressure
than in Chinese culture. To please western tastes, most of the Chinese restaurants in
America have deep-fried dishes such as almond fried Chicken, and deep-fried
shrimp. This is also to promote their business.
“yi xing bu xing,”
is one of Chinese belief which means that by using any part of the animal can
be strengthened. This is show that in Chinese culture, they are hardly waste
any part of the animal and also have found ways to cook every part of it. For
example, the bird nest soup which is bird’s saliva is served to give the
strength besides increase appetite. This food also often served for the special
event as at the Chinese banquet dinner.
These food are been considered to be tonics.
Chinese people usually look
for traditional method first. They more prefer to use all the herbs and ingredients
soup when they feel low in their strength or health. Chinese people belief that
the herbs can increase their energy level to stay healthy instead of modern
medical. They sometimes go to the herbalists for herb tea or they will ask for
an advice from the elder to learn on how to cook for the soup that can help
The herbal tea and the special ingredient soups usually require
hours of slow cooking in an ancient style clay pot, before they reach maximum
benefits.5 These soups are often used for postpartum, illness,
old age, and weak energy. They have special soup recipe books available to
explain how to use different soups for different situations. It requires great
knowledge and patience to make the appropriate soup. Often, traditional Chinese
will use herbs and special soups for all illnesses before he or she seeks out
an alternative treatment from Western medicine. Western medicine is often
reserved for more severe health problems, as many Chinese believe that Western
medicine is “too strong” for them.
Due to geographical
differences in China, each area has its own way of cooking and different eating
habits. For example, Northern China has cold and damp weather. It makes people
there eat more hot and spicy foods such as chilies, onions, and garlic. They
believe that these foods will increase blood circulation and help get rid of
the coldness and humidity that suit their weather while people that are from
the south like to eat food which is more to mild and cooling foods because of
the warmer weather. These foods reduce the hotness and dryness. This theory is
called balancing “Yin and yang”.
Chinese culture believes that
there are a positive energy and a negative energy in the universe which is
“Yin” and “Yang”. “Yin” represents negative energy while
“yang” represents positive energy. They have to be equally same balanced
to get a harmonious and healthy condition, if not, conflict and disease will be
created. There are elements that belong to both “yin” and
“yang,” meaning some elements of yin falls within yang and some elements
of yang fall within yin. Balancing forces has been a part of Chinese thought
for thousands of years and it has become an important thing for them. It has
already become a basic guideline for social, political, medical, and dietary
usage in Chinese culture.
Foods belonging to the yin that is also known
as “cold” food are such as bitter melon, winter melon, Chinese green,
mustard green, Napa cabbage, bean sprout, soybean, mung bean, tulip, water
chestnut, cilantro, oranges, watermelon, bananas, coconut, cucumber, beer, pop,
ice cream, ice chips, grass jelly, clams, and oysters and other else. These
foods cannot be eaten excessively because it can cause unwell body such as stomachaches,
diarrhea, dizziness, weakness, and coldness in the body if done so.
Foods that belong to the
yang which is also known as “hot” food are such as chili pepper,
garlic, onion, curry, cabbage, eggplant, pineapple, mango, cherry, peanuts,
beef, turkey, shrimp, crab, French fries, fried chicken, and pizza. By taking these
foods excessively, they are thought to cause skin rashes, hives, pimples, nose
bleeds, indigestion, constipation, redness in the eyes, and sore throat. That
is why both food groups need to be balanced evenly, not taken extra or insufficiency
in order to create a peace and healthy state.
There are a few foods in
the Chinese culture which belief can be toxic or poison to individual with weakened
health that must to be avoid such as crab, shrimp, beef, and eggs. If they take
such food, it only can give worse to the patient with the skin problem like
acne or eczema. In Chinese usually, they belief that western provide only to
limit food they are more focus to people that have certain illness such as
diabetes, hypertension or heart problem. They will just give for sugar intake,
salt or fat consumption. It is why they have to refer to their Chinese medical
doctor or an acupuncturist in the clinic. All the advice that they ask is all
refer to their concept belief which is “yin” and “yang” that need to be balance
for their health.