Festival celebrates Guangzhou’s food

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/9/29 10:03:39

Gastronomy goes global

A tempura set Photo: IC

A bowl of malatang Photo: IC

The White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province Photo: IC

Built in 1983, the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, was one of the country's first domestically managed modern 5-star hotels.

Having served royalty and heads of state from around the globe, the White Swan Hotel is one of the first to open a Japanese restaurant and embrace international cuisine in the city.

Guangdong local Wen Tao, 54, was among the first batch of apprentices to join the hotel 30 years ago.

Back then, the chance to study under foreign chefs was considered a rare opportunity. "For chefs to prepare authentic foreign cuisine, they must first have a deep understanding of a country's culinary culture," said Wen, who now works as sous-chef at the hotel's River Cafe restaurant.

"Take tempura for example. You must guarantee the freshness of the food and take good control of the temperature of the oil. Using the right oil is also a key component to make crispy, delicious tempura," said Wen at the Asian Cuisine Festival in Guangzhou, which concluded on May 23.

Krueawisen Kanyarat, 38, from Vietnam, leads the kitchen team of Vietnamese restaurant "Vietmiam." She chose to stay in Guangzhou due to a "love of Chinese cuisine." Telling Xinhua her favorite dish is malatang (hot spicy soup), she now prepares sweet, sour and spicy Vietnamese dishes for curious Guangzhou diners alongside a team of local chefs.

Vietmiam is among a fleet of international restaurants that took part in the week-long festival. Featuring 40 events to showcase Cantonese and Asian cuisine, it took diners on gastronomical journeys around the globe with chefs from all over Asia participating. It is a perfect stage to showcase how Guangzhou has evolved since it opened its doors to the world.

Like many chefs in Guangzhou who have fused exotic cuisine with local dishes, Filipino celebrity chef Michelle Adrillana, who came to participate in the festival, incorporated Chinese elements in her recipes. She even created Filipino-style dishes based around Chinese BBQ pork buns.

"Chinese food is available all over the Philippines, open 24-hours everywhere because there is a very large Chinese community," Adrillana said.

Adrillana, who has visited China many times since 1999, was impressed by how adventurous the younger generation can be when it comes to trying new food.

"Some are quirky, some stick to basics. The very young are very adventurous, especially the well-traveled, regardless of age bracket," Adrillana said.

For her, participating in the festival meant more than just sharing her native cuisine. It was also about building bridges. "We call it cultural diplomacy, or gastro-diplomacy, which builds friendship ties."

Posted in: FOOD

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