Phase 1: Posing Real Questions

Updated 1 year 5 hours ago

In Phase 0, I chose my final topic, which was Food Products/Cuisine, for my inquiry project. Now, in Phase 1, I will be continuing with research on my topic, enhancing background knowledge, and creating important questions for me to answer while in Xizhou.

Before I create a list of 10 questions and build my background knowledge on my topic, I need to first find out what I already know. I know that food is a huge part of everyday life in Xizhou since food gives people energy and therefore helps the village function. In the village, I believe that not all the food there are traditional but they are just food that everyone in the region loves to eat. Traditional dishes, of course, must have been passed down through countless generations and perhaps even altered slightly through the years. Every single ingredient in these traditional dishes is there for a reason, whether it is to add extra texture or to strengthen the exotic taste. The food in Xizhou can vary from complex dishes served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to simple snacks that people eat whenever they want to. The information provided above are mostly just based on my own beliefs and experiences in China I had from the past.

To further my understanding on my topic, I need to identify what I want to find out. Food is a vast subject to explore for my inquiry projects and there are just so many things I want to learn about. However, what I want to research the most about for my inquiry project is the history of the dishes in Xizhou. In the past, when I ate locally made dishes, I would have no idea where these dishes come from or when and how the recipe was created. However, in Xizhou, I will actually be able to study the local cuisine up close and ask the locals questions. I hope to study and explore many new things during my stay in Xizhou.

To help me develop my big questions, it was crucial for me to do some background research so I can have a better understanding of my topic. See Phase 3 for my research information.

Below are my 10 big questions for the trip. These questions help guide us through our research at Xizhou and while eventually be answered thoroughly. The answers in italic font under each question are only the possible answers for the questions I created. 

Chinese Culture/Local Culture Related Questions:

1) What flavors do the locals enjoy the most?
I am thinking maybe they prefer more of a spicy flavor, since their neighboring province is Sichuan. 

2) What types of foods do people eat during festivals and what types of food are "everyday" food?
I do not know, I would need to investigate further in Xizhou.

3) What are some legends and beliefs behind the famous dishes in Xizhou?
I do not know, I would need to investigate further in Xizhou.

4) Do the festival foods have some kind of backstory, what are they and why?
I believe that festival foods usually do have a backstory as to why they are eaten on a certain occasion. 

Geography Related Questions:

5) How do the neighboring provinces influence the Xizhou Cuisine?
I am sure that one of the main neighboring provinces, Sichuan, has an impact on Xizhou cuisine, causing it to be somewhat spicy. 

6) Is seafood common in Xizhou?
I think that seafood such as fishes might be eaten by the locals because Lake ErHai is right next to the village.

7) How does the area that Xizhou is in affect the local food?
The area that Xizhou is in must provide a few benefits as well as some restrictions or limitations.

Business Related Questions:

8) What are some of the most successful restaurants in Xizhou and why?
I think that the successful restaurants are successful because they provide a huge range of food that is like by both locals and visitors. 

9) What is/are the most popular local food and why?
I believe that the Xizhou baba is one of the most popular food in Xizhou because of how often I saw it in the lists of recommended food in Yunnan.

Food Making Related Questions:

10) What food is difficult to make and what food is relatively easy to make?
I do not know, I would need to investigate further in Xizhou.

*All of the questions above have been either answered or replaced by new questions in my Phase 3 work. See Phase 3 for more detail.

Before going to Xizhou, I would like to further my understanding on these questions and gain some more basic knowledge. Specifically, I would need to focus more on the traditional foods of Xizhou and the stories behind them. This will help make the research easier for me in Xizhou and give me more time to explore the village.

Now I am ready for Phase 2, where I will be finding helpful resources.

Hi everyone, my name is Chris L., 13 years old, and I was part of the 21st Microcampus group: Ultimate. I am back in Shanghai now, and I am getting used to my old schedule. Microcampus has truly been a phenomenal trip. I will always remember all the experiences that I had at Microcampus, the good times and the bad. Through overcoming these tough times, I have learned many life lessons that will definitely help me in the future. Furthermore, I would like to take the time here to thank the Microcampus coordinators, Mr. Tafel and MS. Mai, for making this trip possible. I could not have survived in Xizhou without their help. Over the course of that month, I have grown so much in so many different ways, and I have adopted good habits that will stay with me forever.