Comparing the Meanings of Food in Different Chinese Societies: The Cases of Taiwan and Malaysia

C. Khoo, E.C.L. Yang, M.Y. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Existing literature sheds little light on how Chinese consumers in any two societies perceive and consume food. In this study, the food perceptions of Taiwanese and Malaysian Chinese consumers are compared using a projective technique. Using images collected by respondents, both conscious and tacit interpretations of food were obtained. Findings reveal that Taiwanese and Malaysian Chinese share similar, but not identical, food perceptions. In this study, food is interpreted from a triadic framework: utilitarian (health, sustenance); hedonic (freedom, happiness, excitement, enjoyment, knowledge acquisition, love); and symbolic (sharing, warm relationships with others). Based on the emerged findings, the theoretical contributions of the study are highlighted, a number of managerial implications are proposed, and future research opportunities are recommended. Copyright © Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)954-974
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Hospitality Marketing and Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese
  • cross-cultural study
  • food perception
  • Malaysia
  • Taiwan
  • ZMET


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