What does feel good food mean to you? For so long, pleasure and enjoyment of foods have been associated with guilt and gluttony, especially when it comes to foods such as chocolate, sweets, fried foods. But I’ve been thinking about the idea of shufu (舒服) in Chinese, sometimes translated as ‘comfortable’ but embodies both satisfaction and feeling good all in one. This is why foods such as porridge or a bowl of noodles make us feel shufu, comfort food yet without the ‘unhealthy edge’. Chinese food culture is based on this, eating and health are closely connected, and much of this is based on ‘feel good foods’.
So when Lee Kum Kee UK and Europe first conceptualised the idea of a Feel Good Food summer campaign we talked about how we could connect the points between food culture, taste and health. In recent decades, nutrition science is exploring how the gut microbiota modulates mood, but beyond the tenets of scientific jargon, a lot of the taste experience actually starts from learning about and cooking the food.
In this regard, umami (鮮味) as a taste that remains under-explored in everyday culinary language. Far from being exotic, foreign and novel, umami has been a characteristic flavour of meats and fermented foods for millennia. Condiments used in Chinese and Asian-style cooking are based on this, with the soy sauce being a staple in households in Chinese culture for a long time. It’s only recently when umami has been identified in scientific studies to increase feelings of fullness. But eating is much more and is based on making vegetables and the likes of tofu delicious, rather than disguising them or accepting them as bland or tasteless. This is the key to developing food preferences and is the foundation to healthy eating, and an important to feel good food.
To read more about this campaign, visit https://uk.lkk.com/tastes-good-feels-good