Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, construction in Shenzhen symbolized both the transformation of Chinese socialism and the concomitant integration of Chinese society into global capitalist networks. This article tells the story of Shenzhen from the perspective of this first generation of immigrants, the so-called Old Shenzheners, who use nostalgia about food to define, debate, and ultimately retreat from conversations about what Shenzhen culture was and what it ought to be. Their food nostalgia is part of a larger cultural tradition of Chinese alimentary politics and has allowed Shenzheners to indigenize capitalist globalization to make the city their own. Old Shenzheners' food nostalgia represents an important moment in the Chinese transition to a post socialist political economy, redefining what it means to be both Chinese and global in a post––cold war world order.

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