There has been a rapid and remarkable recovery in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, during the 1990s, of a distinctive cuisine whose origins can be traced back to, at least, the building of the Grand Canal between Beijing and Hangzhou in the 600s AD and the stimulus to trade and migration, that was provided. This, along with exceptional health indices in the region, provides a basis for a new integrative study of the food chain, food culture and food science in regard to the human condition, which would be manifest by the degree of environmental sustainability, economic progress, social cohesion, health status, well-being and happiness that these dimensions of "food for humans " should support. Collectively, these have rarely been subject to systematic scholarly pursuit. Through the endeavours of the Zhejiang Association for Science and Technology, representing some 150,000 professionals and the international community, represented principally by the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) and its partners in WHO, the FAO Network of Excellence and the Hangzhou University of Commerce, this field has been brought together through the papers in this issue of Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The report builds on related endeavours in recent times, notably 'The Okinawan Roundtable on Nutrition and Cardiovascular Disease' which recognizes the exceptional and distinguishing features of the Okinawan diet in health protection, and the assessment of the place of fatty fruits, like red palm fruit amongst 'North and West African Foods'.