2024 “Taste China” World-Class Photographers’ Journey Through Sichuan


Taste China Project

There is an old Chinese saying, “Food is of primary importance to the people (民以食为天),” emphasizing the fundamental role of food in people’s lives. Chinese culinary culture, with its history spanning thousands of years, is a vital part of traditional Chinese culture. It embodies the spirit of harmonious coexistence and a deep yearning for a better life.

In the past, agricultural development was poor, and food was generally scarce. Around 80% of the population suffered from hunger or semi-starvation. With the development of China’s economy and agriculture, the total grain output in 2023 reached 695.41 million tons according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Reports also show that China’s food market is vast, with national catering revenue exceeding 5 trillion yuan. Today, with basic sustenance secured and an abundance of food available, Chinese people now focus more on the enjoyment of taste and the preservation of culinary traditions.

Chinese culinary culture is long-standing and profound. The saying “Food is of primary importance to the people” is not only a fundamental aspect of daily life for the Chinese but also an important part of global culinary culture. The Taste China Project, through the lenses of world-class photographers, captures the dining tables of Chinese people both at home and abroad. It showcases the social customs and human values of Chinese food culture and explores the fascinating integration of Eastern and Western culinary traditions through international exchange, highlighting the cultural bonds established through the taste of China.

Travel Sichuan Overview

Travel Dates: 2024/6/17-2024/6/25

Purpose of the Trip: “Taste China” — begin your journey through China in Sichuan, where the heart and soul await discovery. Known as a photographer’s paradise, Sichuan offers a captivating glimpse into China’s vibrant food culture and daily life.

Sichuan’s cuisine is its most dazzling ambassador, with “spicy” being the hallmark. Here, spice isn’t just a flavor—it’s a way of life, woven into the fabric of Sichuan’s people, their personalities, and their outlook on life. In Sichuan, spicy food embodies a spirit of boldness, warmth, and a zest for living.

Embark on this adventure with us and unravel the mysteries: Why are the people of Sichuan so passionate about their food? What makes their love for spice so intense? What are the cultural and historical roots behind their unique traditions? The answers lie in the bustling streets, in a steaming hot pot, and in every bite of dishes.

Key Highlights of the Trip

During this journey, participants explored several iconic cities and landmarks, including:

  • Chengdu: Visit the bustling capital of Sichuan, famous for its vibrant street food scene, historical sites like Wuhou Shrine, and cultural experiences such as the Sichuan Opera.
  • Leshan: Take a cruise to see the magnificent Leshan Giant Buddha, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Ya’an: Experience the Bifeng Gorge and the Panda Base, learning about conservation efforts for these beloved animals.
  • Zigong: Discover the history of the salt industry at the Zigong Salt Industry Museum and marvel at prehistoric wonders in the Zigong Dinosaur Museum.

Participating Photographer

Ringo Chiu

Ringo Chiu AKA “The Machine”, a 2021 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Breaking News Photography and 2019 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Breaking News Photography.

Nict Ut

For his iconic 1972 photograph “The Terror of War”, Nick Ut won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography and 1973 World Press Photo of the Year.

Irfan Khan

Irfan Khan was a staff photographer with the Los Angeles Times. He was part of the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news for coverage of the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino.

Michael Nelson

Michael Nelson was a senior photographer with European Pressphoto Agency.

Photo Highlights