A hallmark of the study abroad experience in China, food will be an important part of daily conversation. For study abroad students, ordering, buying, and eating food are everyday events that can be much easier by learning key phrases and vocabulary. Conversations here also include discussions about food/taste preferences, special dietary needs, and restaurant reviews.

Student Conversations

Food 2: 烹饪-南瓜 Cooking – Pumpkins

Background Information Various Western holidays are becoming increasingly popular in China. Study abroad students should not be surprised to see Christmas decorations in public spaces in larger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Even holidays such as Halloween and...


Task 1 Sharing Personal Experience Task (Characteristics of Different Cuisines in China)

Objectives: Students will be able to familiarize themselves with vocabulary and topics related to issues concerning different flavors and cuisines. Students will also be able to share their own experience with Chinese food and their own favorite foods and flavors. This task could be used as a warm-up task at the beginning of this module. Suggested time for this task: 15-20 minutes.



1.1 Listen/Read the dialogue between Zolton and 传祥  (Food 1 dialogue). In groups of 3-4, discuss what they talked about in the dialogue. 

Discussion questions: 

What are Zolton and 传祥 talking about? What kinds of Chinese cuisines are mentioned in the dialogue, and what are the characteristics of these cuisines? What kinds of food does 传祥 like to eat? What kinds of food does Zolton like to eat? Discuss and match the cuisine with the featured food in the following chart.   

Directions in Chinese: 



1.2 Have you tried Chinese cuisine? How was it? Share your experience and describe your favorite Chinese cuisine with your group. 

Directions in Chinese: 



1.3 Check the featured dishes in Ding Tai Feng by following the link ( Choose one dish, read the description, and describe the main food ingredients and overall taste of the dish. Share with your group whether or not you would like to try this dish and why. For example, 


Task 2 Sharing Personal Experience Task (Cooking – Pumpkins) 

Objectives: Students will be able to familiarize themselves with vocabulary and topics related to cooking experience. Students will also be able to understand different cooking methods in China and the U.S. This task could be used as a warm-up task at the beginning of this module. Suggested time for this task: 15-20 minutes.



2.1 Listen/Read the dialogues between Elisa and 艾 (Food 2 dialogue). In groups of 3-4, summarize the key terms in their discussion. 

Discussion questions: What are Elisa and 艾 talking about? How would 艾 prefer pumpkin to be cooked? How would Elisa prefer pumpkin to be cooked? What kind of different dishes mentioned in the dialogue use pumpkin as the main ingredient? Other than food, what else can pumpkins be used for? Based on the dialogue, do those pumpkins different from the ones used in cooking? What are some differences? 


Directions in Chinese: 




2.2 There are several common methods to cook food (such as frying, boiling, etc.). Define each cooking method in Chinese, illustrate some advantages of this cooking method, and provide a dish using this cooking method. Discuss whether or not this cooking method is commonly used in the U.S. 


Directions in Chinese: 


 Download Worksheet Here Food_Worksheet 1

Task 3 Project & Creative Task (Food Localization)


Objectives: Students will be able to understand specific issues related to food localization in different contexts. Students will also be able to cooperate with group members and practice reading, writing, and speaking skills upon completing this task. This task could be divided into two class hours, for instance, first using it as a main activity of a regular class to practice reading skills, and then as a homework assignment to prepare for group presentation (including writing, listening, and speaking). Suggested time for this task: 40 min for the reading for the first class + 100 min for group presentation or assigned as homework. 


3.1 Reading comprehension and discussions (40 min)


Read the answer on Zhihu (a Chinese question and answer platform) about McDonald’s and KFC localization in China and discuss the following questions. 


Original Source: Answer by 汪惟 under question “肯德基和麦当劳的口味对中国人进行了哪些针对本土的改良”


Read the article and images (see Worksheet 2 below for revised reading excerpts). Summarize the three major food localization changes in China’s McDonald’s and KFC and illustrate at least two examples for each category. Describe how the two fast food companies have adjusted their food menu to the Chinese market. Use the following chart to guide your summary. 

In a group of 3 to 4, discuss your opinions toward food localization. Read carefully again through image 1- 14, what kinds of differences do you see between McDonald’s and KFC in China and in the U.S.? 


Directions in Chinese: 



 Download Worksheet Here Food_Worksheet 2


3.2 Presentation task (100 min in class or assigned as homework)

Directions: Now you’ve learned more about the taste of food, different cuisines, cooking methods, and food localization. Based on what you learned, in groups of 3-4, create a group presentation discussing the topic “Westernized Chinese food – food localization and globalization”. Please first choose a typical Chinese food chain in the U.S. (e.g. Panda Express) and summarize the key features of Chinese food in the U.S., then discuss the differences between Chinese food in China and in the U.S. Discuss how Chinese food is adjusted to the U.S. market and how the Chinese food is “Westernized”. Finally, summarize your presentation and provide your evaluation of food localization and globalization. 


Directions in Chinese: 这一课我们了解了食物的味道,不同的菜系,烹饪方法,以及食物本土化。根据你看到/听到/读到/学到的,3-4人一组,准备一个8-10分钟的报告,主题为“食物的本土化和全球化”。首先请挑一个在美国的中餐连锁公司(比如,熊猫快餐),总该中餐的主要特点,并讨论中餐在中国和美国的不同。讨论介绍中餐在美国是如何适应美国市场的。最后,总结报告的内容并评价食物的本土化和全球化的好处和坏处。


Task 4 Additional Activity  

Directions: Watch the beginning of the movie “饮食男女” ( directed by An Lee. Summarize at least three dishes you observed that appeared in the clip and the cooking methods used to make them. Use a few sentences to describe each dish (e.g. color, smell, taste, etc.). 


Directions in Chinese