文章摘要
张江华.人以为秽而彼则不啻珍错——中国西南地区一种“异味”食品的社会生活[J].民族学刊,2019,10(1):31-38, 105-107
人以为秽而彼则不啻珍错——中国西南地区一种“异味”食品的社会生活
“People think it is foul, but it is nothing less than a delicacy for them”: The Social Life of an “Odd and Unpleasant Tasting” Food in Southwest China
  
DOI:10.3969/j.issn.1674-9391.2019.01.04
中文关键词: “羊瘪汤”  异味食品  社会整合  全球化
英文关键词: yang bie tang  “Strange and Unpleasant tasting” food  social integration  globalization
基金项目:
作者单位
张江华 南方科技大学社会科学高等研究院 
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中文摘要:
      “羊瘪汤”是流行于中国西南少数民族地区的一种“异味”食品。有关该食品的历史记载说明该食品在其上千年的历史传承过程中,因其所承受的“污名”而成为地方社会与族群寻求认同与社会整合的工具,而在全球化时代,这一食品也被改造成为振兴民族文化与旅游消费的重要对象。
英文摘要:
      The “yang bie tang” (羊瘪汤or sheep bie soup) is a soup made from sheep with an “unpleasant taste” eaten in Southwestern China. It is recorded in historical texts from the Tang Dynasty, and, up to now, is still consumed. This paper clarifies its origin, transformation, and studies its meaning. 1. “Bu’naigeng” (不乃羹): A Historical Look at” Sheep Bie Soup” The earliest record of “sheep bie soup” is found in the Ling Biao Lu Yi (Records of the Culture of Lingnan) by Liu Xun during the late Tang dynasty. According to Liu, during the late Tang, a place named Jiaozhi had a food called Bu’naigeng. It was a kind of broth made from boiling the flesh and bones of all kinds of animals, such as sheep, deer, chicken and pig, together. In the same book, another kind of food named Shengji (圣齑) is recorded. This record describes that in today’s Beiliu and Hepu of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, beef was eaten together with the juices from not yet fully digested grasses in the cow’s stomach as an aid to digestion. In the Song dynasty, Shengji appeared in southern Guizhou. During the Southern Song Dynasty, in the records of Zhu Fu, all the food related to Shengji were formally called as Bu’naigeng. Ever since the Ming and Qing dynasties, the name for this kind of food was commonly referred to as Bu’naigeng. According to these historical records, we can see that” Bu’naigeng”, which dates back to the Tang dynasty, is the same as the “sheep bie soup” or “cattle bie soup” (niu bie tang or牛瘪汤) which is popular in Guangxi and Guizhou. There are two ways to make these soups: one is using the undigested grass juices extracted from the stomachs of sheep to make soups, sauces and hotpot condiments; the other way is to fry the small intestines of sheep, then, put them into water and boil them to make a soup, sauce or hotpot condiment. 2. The“Delicacies” in Southwest China In the current times, whether it is “sheep bie soup” or “cattle bie soup”, they are all the “delicacies” of the cuisine in the ethnic minority areas of Guangxi, Guizhou and Yunnan. Their appearance on the contemporary scene has had an impact historically. Firstly, it is rare to see this food in eastern Guangxi, especially in southeastern Guangxi where this food was first recorded; it is very difficult to find it there. This phenomenon indicates that with the migration of Han people into the area, and the local people’s moving out, the soup has exited as well, and it has disappeared in this area. To the contrary, in western Guangxi, which is inhabited by ethnic minorities, “sheep bie soup” is still a thriving cultural tradition. In particular, the northwestern part of Guangxi is the most popular place to eat “sheep bie soup”. Local ethnic minorities like the Zhuang, Miao and Yao all regard it as “the primary dish signifying hospitality”. They usually use the second way of preparing it as mentioned above in this article. They cook the small intestines of sheep into a “sheep bie soup”. The basic preparation process is: kill a sheep, take out the small intestine (retaining the original substances found within the intestine), fry it, add water, and stew it with sauces and other kinds of food. In southwestern Guizhou, people mainly use the first way of cooking to make “sheep bie soup”, meaning that the main ingredient of the soup is the undigested grass juices found in the sheep’s stomach. The way to prepare it is: kill a sheep, slit its stomach and extract the undigested grasses; strain the liquid through a piece of gauze; then, boil the liquid at a high temperature; filter it again and again, and, at last, use it as a sauce or hotpot condiment to stew beef and mutton. Presently, this kind of soup is popular in the area where Guangxi, Guizhou and Yunnan meet. This area is also where we find the karst landforms of southwestern China. This area, on one hand, is the habitat of ethnic minority populations; on the other hand, it abounds with high quality cattle and sheep. However, some places far from this area, such as Gengma, Dehong and Xishuangbanna in southwestern Yunnan have a cold food called Niusapie (牛撒撇) whose style of preparation and cooking is similar to that of “sheep bie soup”. From this we can see that this kind of food is widely distributed in Southwest China, and even is found in Southeast Asia. It points to the ethnic characteristics of this soup: The food which is regarded as one with a “strange and unpleasant taste” food by Han people or those Han intellectuals who gradually retreated to the more western areas of China which was inhabited mainly by ethnic minorities and it was regarded as a kind of food with ethnic minority characteristics. 3. “Strange and Unpleasant Tasting” Food, Cultural Identity and Social Integration As a kind of food with a “strange and unpleasant taste”, “sheep bie soup” was rejected by Han people living in Han cultural areas because of the “filthiness” and “impurity” of its raw materials. Whether the liquid from undigested grasses came from sheep’s stomach, or sheep’s intestines, the main ingredient consists of all the undigested food in sheep’s stomach. Therefore, it is easy to connect it with the animal’s excrement, which triggers a physically unpleasant feeling. Hence, even now, people in the contemporary Han-speaking world are still full of prejudices about the food, and view it as “disgusting” food. Within the local society, on the one hand, it is emphasized that different kinds of grasses make up the soup’s original ingredient, and, it is only the undigested grasses eaten by herbivores such as cattle and sheep. Therefore, it is not the animals’ excrement. On the other hand, (in local society) more emphasis is placed on the medicinal and digestive value of such foods. Therefore, the reason ethnic minority people eat this food is not because they do not realize its “impurity”, but they do so due to their water-deficit environment and the food’s medicinal value. This turns the food into an important medium for cross-cultural communication. For the mountain dwelling minority ethnic groups, sharing this soup strengthens the relationships and interactions among them. And, for the people from the outside “civilized” areas, accepting or rejecting this soup becomes a marker to determine whether or not they would like to integrate into this culture. 4. The Characteristic Ethnic Minority Food Marches to the Modern City In line with the trend of globalization, the development of ethnic tourism in western China has been booming in recent years. Tourism in these areas, on one hand, relies on the beautiful natural scenery of the local karst formations, on the other hand, it is also benefits from the characteristic ethnic minority cultural landscape. The local food industry also flourishes with the development of tourism, and a tradition started of “hosting visitors in the homes of local people” (nong jia le, 农家乐). This activity became a fruitful point of interaction between villages and ethnic minority tourism. While the urban tourists consume the rural landscape, they, at the same time, also began to try the so-called “local ecological” rural “delicacies”. Therefore, trying different kinds of villager’s dishes become “the thing” to do in rural tourism, and “sheep bie soup” naturally became a highlight of the tourism in the southwestern ethnic minority areas of China. Then, the “delicacies” began to move out from the rural areas into the cities, and even to international cities like Nanning. However, this “sheep bie soup” which headed to the cities from villages is no longer the old “sheep bie soup”. In order for outsiders to accept it, the restaurants have repackaged and transformed it, and the public media has also reinterpreted and recreated people’s understanding of it. Through a series of transformations, such as “scientization”, “hygienization”, “destigmatization” and “gentrification”, the “sheep bie soup” has been constructed as a kind of ethnic minority food which is hygienic, scientific, delicious and good for health. Especially after the promotion of some cooking shows, such as the documentary named shejian shang de zhongguo (A Bite of China), sheep bie soup has gradually become a kind of popular food that many people want to taste. 5. Conclusion From the Tang dynasty to now, “sheep bie soup” has experienced more than a thousand of years of history and, it has changed from a “filthy” food as defined by the civilization of the time to a popular ethnic minority food at present. Although it is still not accepted by all people, it has been welcomed by tourists due to the “heterogeneity” of ethnic minority feature. Thus, this ethnic minority food has been transformed into an item of “cultural consumption” for the globalized era.
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