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Chinese Food and the Net

by Jacqueline M. Newman


Winter Volume: 1996 Issue: 3(4) page(s): 17

The World Wide Web is a busy place and a growing home for things Asian. You can gain valuable knowledge or nonsense, and you can learn unusual information on it. For example, there are details about Asian American Kashrut Services at http://www.kashrus.org/aks.html, food and beverage in Asia data at allen.aus.net/relax/relax.html, and more. There is even fun to be had browsing through individual home-pages with menus of local restaurants be they in Charlottesville, Boston, Philadelphia, or Beijing.

At some sites including at http://www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us/support/science/lessons/chinese.html, you learn something of regional differences or about this Chinese Year of the Rat. At still others there are pages and pages about Chinese history (http://www/uis.edu/...crowley/c-hist.html), or recipes such as those on http://warp.eecs.berkeley.edu/recipes/chinese/. By latest count, I found more than sixty-five and a half sites to select from but not all really about Chinese food even though I had searched the key words: Chinese food. Some of the hits required Chinese language software (which I do not have), others needed no more than knowledge of English, some computer smarts, a communications program, server, modem, and of course a computer. One premier on-line resource that shows great promise http://www.afn.com. Currently, the main purpose of this site is to sell culinary ingredients and cookware. Other goals include helping customers learn about Asian cooking and the culture of all countries on that continent. To do just that, this site's developers have created a virtual village where you can browse through a smorgasbord of culinary items from basic necessities to specialty items for preparing the foods of China, Japan, Thailand, and Korea, to name but four.

When you enter their AFN Village, as it is called, there are customer services, a shopping basket to fill (they ship), recipes, and a host of other content-rich and media-rich applications. Customers at this site can search a data base of recipes, cross-reference them with others that complement a meal, and even learn the contents of an individual food product.

The AFN recipes at this web site come complete with color photograph of the finished product, ingredient list, preparation instructions, products available should you want to order them, the source of the recipe, and the address and telephone number of the publisher. of course, there are prices for the foods you might want to buy.

My site wanderings, about three dozen hours so doing, found valuable and trivial tidbits about Chinese and other Asian foods and cultures. The only thing needed was lots of time to sort through the thousands of sites and thousands more kilobytes of information.

At Flavor and Fortune, we are searching and plan to join an existing site bringing culinary content and expertise to the web. Stay tuned, and if you have ideas or requests, contact me by FAX (516-265-9126) or e-mail: newman@qcvaxa.acc.qc.edu. Soon Flavor and Fortune will be on the web, and will be reachable there, too.

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