Phase 1: Posing Real Questions

Updated 10 months 3 weeks ago

Throughout Phase 0, I worked through the process of choosing my inquiry project topic, Local Food Products/Cuisine, discovering the character traits needed to complete the project well, and sharing my hopes and ideas. The main purpose of Phase 1 is to receive some knowledge on my topic and come up with 10 major questions that I have about the Xizhou Local and Food Products/Cuisine

Due to the fact that I have grown up with cooking and baking in my life, I know a few tips that could help me while I am on Microcampus. Based on my knowledge of cooking, I know that being in the kitchen involves a lot of patience and trial and error. There have been many times where I failed, but that is normal. I also know that a clean workspace is very helpful while in the kitchen. Sometimes cooking can get very messy and it is very beneficial to have an idea of where everything is and have a clean counter. Another tip is to always check if there is the right amount of ingredients available at that time. There have been multiple times where I have begun cooking and midway through, there has not been enough ingredients due to the fact that I did not check before starting to cook. Making sure you keep track of time is deeply important as well. If you do not check the time often, you could easily burn and ruin your food. I hope that while I am on Microcampus, I keep in mind these tips.

There have been a great many people throughout my life that taught me the tips to cooking. My Aunt Fran was one person that taught me many ways to be efficient and patient while cooking. Every time I visited Singapore, I acted as my Aunt Fran's personal assistant so that I could study the way she cooked at her club restaurant. Aunt Nanny, Mr. Paul, and Ms. Megan were all excellent teachers as well. Each one taught me something that I hope to use on the Microcampus 2018 trip.

I definitely would like to and hope to discover and learn a lot during the Microcampus trip. For instance, I really would like to discover new techniques in preparing and creating dishes. I want to learn the ways that the members of the Xizhou community put together their meals and what foods they use in the dishes. However, I also want to know the reason behind the way the Xizhou community prepare the dishes and why they use those certain foods. I feel that no matter who you ask, the ways that different people cook and the reason behind those specific techniques are always going to be different.

To help me understand my topic well enough to develop my Big Questions, I did some background research. This research can be found in Phase 3. The research I did will be very beneficial in this stage. These questions will be the energy source for the beginning of my project when we reach Xizhou. Some of the questions may be changed as I do further research on my topic. I have written these questions in an order that keeps the questions revolving around a certain topic near each other and the outliers at the bottom. The questions are in categories that you can see from the headings. The parts in italics are possible answers for my questions.

Opening a Restaurant or Stall in Xizhou:

1. What is the process behind opening up a restaurant or a stall in Xizhou?
Zài Xizhou yào kāi fàndiàn, yǒu shé me chéngxù?
 Xizhou 要开饭店,有什么程序?

The people of Xizhou might need to get government permission to open a restaurant or stall in Xizhou or might not. There is a possibility that anyone can open a restaurant or stall depending on if they meet all the requirements a pay for the place they are opening. 

Obstacles in Xizhou:

2. What are the most common obstacles that stand in the way of cooking healthy meals in Xizhou?
Nǐ juédé nǐ chī de dōngxī hěn jiànkāng de?

Some common obstacles that stand in the way of cooking healthy meals in Xizhou might be the cost of certain foods. For instance, certain healthy foods might be too expensive, meaning people of the community buy less healthy food choices instead. There is also a chance that a heat source is not available at times, resulting in premade/ready-made foods being the source of meals.  

3. How do the people of the Xizhou community overcome these obstacles?
Nǐ zěnme yàng kèfú zhège zhàng'ài?

Xizhou community members might overcome the obstacle of having expensive healthy foods by buying a cheaper less healthy meal. They also might grow their foods in a garden. To overcome the obstacle of having an unavailable food source, the people of Xizhou might eat their foods cold or buy ready-made foods. 

Xizhou's Processed Foods:

4. Do Xizhou people use processed foods in any of their meals and what are they?
Zài nǐmen de yǐnshí zhōng, nǐmen chī jiāgōng shípǐn ma? Shì shénme jiāgōng shípǐn?

Xizhuo community members may possibly use processed foods such as palm oil or artificial sugars. 

5. How long ago did this dish originate from?
Zhè dào cài yǒu duōjiǔ de lìshǐ yuānyuán?

Xizhou members may order these processed foods once a month and receive these foods not often due to the fact that Xizhou is very remote and far from the large cities of China.

6. How do the Xizhou people keep their foods fresh over periods of time? 
Nǐ shì zěnme bǎocún nǐ de shíwù?

People living in Xizhou might keep their foods fresh by sprinkling the meet with salt or buying fresh foods everyday instead of large amounts that could rot over time. Some people might have refrigerators that could keep the foods fresh too.

Other Questions:

7. What are the common ways to serve meals, such as the traditions practiced before and while eating?
Nǐmen zài chīfàn qián huòzhě chīfàn de shíhòu, yǒu me yǒu shé me lǐjiě?

Many cultures in China have traditions that people practice before and while eating. Xizhou members could possibly practice certain traditions too. For instance, people living in Xizhou might believe in praying before they eat. They might also believe in using a certain method to consume food while eating. 

8.  Are you proud of your work/restaurant/stall? Why?
你为你的工作/餐厅/摊位感到骄傲吗? 为什么?
Nǐ wèi nǐ de gōngzuò/cāntīng/tānwèi gǎndào jiāo'ào ma? Wèishéme?

Different people may be proud of their work/restaurant/stall, due to a variety of factors.

9.  What is your perspective on Xizhou foods, both traditional and new, as a whole?
Xī zhōu shípǐn zài zhěnggè chuántǒng hé xīnxíng shípǐn zhōng de zuòyòng shì shénme?

Different people have their own opinions about the foods of their home or the foods of the place they are visiting. 

10.  Why would someone choose to have 8 Big Bowls rather than 4 Big Bowls or 5 Big Plates and 4 Big Bowls?
Wèishéme yǒurén huì xuǎnzé 8 gè dà wǎn, ér bùshì 4 gè dà wǎn huò 5 gè dà wǎn hé 4 gè dà wǎn?

Some people may choose 8 Big Bowls over 4 Big Bowls or 5 Big Plates and 4 Bowls because they might like they variety of foods those bowls offer. They also might want to have a large supply of food if they have many guests coming.

The information that I gathered from my contacts has been processed and formed into answers to my 10 Big Questions. You can find these answers in Phase 3.

Before I leave for Xizhou, I will need some more knowledge so that I will be fully prepared for the Microcampus trip. For instance, I think it will be very helpful to have some idea about the daily lives of the Xizhou people so I can understand if they grow their own foods, or buy premade meals. I also believe it will be beneficial for me to know about the resources available to the Xizhou community. For instance, how much electricity they have. The common amount of pay they receive, etc. Hopefully if I have this knowledge by the time the V group leaves for Xizhou, I will be fully prepared for the Xizhou part of my Inquiry Project.

In the next phase, Phase 2, I will work on finding helpful resources that will help me find the answers to my questions or even possible new questions. This will be very helpful to me because I will be fully prepared when I travel to Xizhou. 


My name is Taylor and I am 14 years old. I enjoy learning new things, pushing myself past my limits, reading, spending time with the people I love, playing sports, being active, and having fun. I am a spunky, athletic, creative person. I like to bake and be in nature. I feel my best when I have had enough sleep, healthy food, and had a good laugh. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to spend time in Xizhou. Throughout my time in the village, I was able to push myself past my limits, make new friends, learn, and have a great experience. I made many connections that I will forever have a place in my heart. The village of Xizhou and it's people have truly changed my life.