A look at the dishes and culinary traditions on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage


The United Nations cultural agency on Thursday included Haiti’s joumou soup, a symbol of the nation’s independence and the dignity of the world’s first republic ruled by blacks, in its list of intangible cultural heritage.

According to Audrey Azoulay, the director general of UNESCO, the soup, “tells the story of the heroes and heroines of Haitian independence, their struggle for human rights and their hard-won freedom.”

Besides the joumou soup, the famous Senegalese dish Ceebu Jen has also found a place on the coveted list. Originally from the fishing communities of the island of Saint-Louis in Senegal, this dish and the associated practices “are considered as an affirmation of the Senegalese identity”, according to ich.unesco.org.

The UNESCO Cultural Heritage List was established in 2008 in order to protect national traditions around the world. The list includes “traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed down to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts ”.

Over the years, several foods and culinary traditions have found a place on this prestigious list. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Traditional Mexican cuisine – ancestral and continuous community culture, the Michoacán paradigm

In 2010, traditional Mexican cuisine found its place on the prestigious list. This cuisine is a cultural model made up of agriculture, ritual practices, secular know-how, culinary techniques and ancestral community customs. According to UNESCO, “Mexican cuisine is elaborate and loaded with symbols, with everyday tortillas and tamales, both made from corn, being an integral part of the Day of the Dead offerings.”

Oshi Palav, a traditional meal and its social and cultural contexts in Tajikistan

Given the cultural significance of the dish, UNESCO added oshi palav, a traditional dish from communities in Tajikistan, to the list in 2016. Prepared from vegetables, rice, meat and spices, this dish is considered an inclusive practice that aims to bring together people from different backgrounds. together. “The knowledge and know-how associated with the practice are transmitted intergenerational in families, in addition to cooking schools from master to apprentice”, according to UNESCO.

Kimjang, kimchi making and sharing in the Republic of Korea

Kimchi is a popular South Korean fermented dish that is a staple of Korean meals. Inscribed in 2013 on the list of intangible cultural heritage, Kimjang, the art of preparing kimchi, is “an important reminder to many Koreans that human communities must live in harmony with nature.” Kimchi consists of salted and fermented vegetables, with cabbage and radish being the most common.

Lavash, the preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional bread as an expression of the culture in Armenia

It is a traditional thin bread that is an integral part of Armenian cuisine. Added to the list in 2014, the preparation of Lavash is carried out meticulously by a small group of women with a lot of effort, coordination, experience and special skills. “It plays a ritual role in weddings, where it is placed on the shoulders of the newlyweds to bring fertility and prosperity. Group work in cooking lavash strengthens family, community and social ties, ”according to UNESCO.

Nsima, culinary tradition of Malawi

Listed in 2017, Nsima, the culinary tradition of Malawi represents the culinary and dietary traditions of Malawians as well as the dish, a form of thick porridge made with corn flour. A staple food of Malawi, it is served with various things like soups and stews, meat or fish and cooked vegetables. “Nsima is made and linked to the Malawian way of life, and eating Nsima is a community tradition in families and an opportunity to bond. “

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