Health Food Traditions of Asia

Project objective

This project aims at developing innovative methods for studying health and food traditions of Asia with the understanding of the diversity of food and health traditions in the region and linkages between traditional knowledge, practices and health. It will also develop new educational modules based on traditional knowledge, food and health linkages and stimulate new research into healing food traditions of Asia.


Asia represents a vast geographic, socioeconomic and cultural diversity and there are diversity of food and health traditions in the region.  Health food traditions relate to various dimensions from agriculture to food processing, to cooking methods and to consumption practices. Past studies suggest interesting linkages between traditional practices and health and a deeper analysis is required to further understand these linkages. Although there are wide diversity of food used in indigenous communities, the global trend is for diet simplification.  This has led to high erosion of traditional knowledge and rapid reduction of food source diversity.  It is important to study from socio-economic as well as cultural and local epistemological framework of nutritional guidelines based on local knowledge and practices. There is also a need to strengthen local production and consumption systems which have impact on livelihoods.

Project leader
  • Universitas Gadjah Mada
Project members
  • University Sains Malaysia
  • Prince of Songkla University
  • Asian Institute of Technology

Harmayani, E., Anal, A.K., Wichienchot, S. et al. 2019. Healthy food traditions of Asia: exploratory case studies from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Nepal. J. Ethn. Food 6: 1.