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Similarities and differences in Asian food

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

Curriculum links:

KS2 - Art & Design - using art to share ideas, experiences and imagination
KS3 English – Writing – planning, drafting and editing; giving short speeches and presentations
KS2-3 Food Technology - Cooking and nutrition
KS2-3 Geography – Knowledge of locality, human geography, maps, researching and presenting geographical information
KS2 Literacy – Writing – composition; reading aloud own writing; 'Stories from Other Cultures'
KS2-3 Religious Education - Religious festivals

KS2 - Open Futures Curriculum - 'Cookit' strand

Aim of resource:

To explore the range of Asian cuisine available in Britain and different aspects of food culture.

Learning objectives:

Knowledge of different aspects of Asian food and food culture 
Understanding of the reasons why traditional food might vary within different countries
Skills to investigate and explore aspects of different cultures in various ways

Teacher’s comment: 

‘I would use this as part of a topic about other places, perhaps as part of our school’s ‘International Week.’
- Michelle Ross, Special Needs Co-Ordinator and Year 5 teacher

Discussion ideas:

  • What sort of food do we eat in the UK today that people would have been unlikely to eat 100, 50 or even 30 years ago? 
  • How have the types of restaurants and takeaways on UK high streets changed?
  • Why might more varied types of food have become available?
  • Why do big cities have so many different types of food?
  • Why might it be important for families to continue to enjoy food from another country they have links with?
  • What ‘staple foods’ do we eat in the UK in the same way that rice is commonly eaten as part of daily meals in Asia?
  • What ‘food traditions’ do you have in your own family?
  • What do you think of the food shown in the interactive?

Activity ideas:

  • Play an interactive matching game in which users can match the type of food to the three objects most likely to hold, cook, serve or be used to eat a dish with!

  • Geography - Mapping local cuisine: Using an interactive map of Asian cuisine in Leeds as inspiration, students could create their own maps of foreign cuisine available in their own home towns.

    This could be collated by gathering menus from local takeaways or searching online for restaurants (eg. through websites like Just Eat or Hungry House). The results of their research could then be used to make a map (either on paper or using Google maps). Students could also create a corresponding map showing where in the world this cuisine comes from.
  • Literacy - Write a menu/review: Students could use the interactive as inspiration to write and design their own restaurant menu, including three starters, desserts and sides (use websites like BBC Good Food, link below, for inspiration). They might consider balancing different flavours and ingredients. They could then swap their menus with a partner, and write a ‘restaurant review’ imagining that they had tried the menu.
  • Literacy - Food fact-file: Compare the cuisine shown within the interactive from two different parts of Asia. Try to spot similarities and differences (eg. types of ingredients used, presentation, equipment used). Follow this up by doing some research to write a fact-file about the cuisine from each place.

  • Tasting Session: A class tasting session of foreign foods from the local market or international supermarket would provide an ideal, sensory way of engaging pupils with cuisines from other countries. Depending on the depth of the topic, parents who have knowledge or can cook traditional foreign foods could also be asked to come and talk to the class about their cuisine.

  • Art and Design: Design a dinner service/tableware for a particular Asian cuisine or a new restaurant. Use the images pictured above as inspiration and take a look at examples of tableware from the Asian Food interactive. You could also do some research on:
    - Cultural/artistic influences
    - How the food will be served (eg. rice bowls and sharing dishes in China)
    - Modern and historic examples of tableware 
White and red patterned bowl and spoon
Decorated porcelain soup spoon
Bowl decorated with coloured fish
Decorated bowl and cup with a handpainted design showing two fishermen