BRF banquet shows profound historical connections
A celebration of culture, unity and prosperity
Published: Oct 18, 2023 09:22 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

As China hosted guests from around the world at the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), the grand banquet on Tuesday night grabbed people's attention and became one of the hot topics.

According to a video released by ­China's Central Television, the menu for the banquet included a variety of dishes, such as cold dish, gourmet treasure soup, fried boneless beef ribs with asparagus and taro, China's iconic Peking roast duck as well as fruit, ice cream, coffee, tea, red wine and baijiu.

The musical program featured traditional songs from various countries and continents.

In terms of design, the banquet decor showcased China's history and culture stories like the Dunhuang flying Apsara, Zhang Qian's mission to the Western Regions, Buddhist monk Xuanzang's journey to India, and Chinese explorer Zheng He's voyages, reflecting the historical elements, philosophy and cultural essence of the Silk Road.

The southern side of the banquet displayed the ancient Silk Road's starting point, the Bell Tower of Xi'an, and the seaside docks of the Maritime Silk Road, along with Chinese cultural goods such as porcelain, tea, and silk, as well as vegetables and fruit imported from the Western Regions.

The northern side represented the 21st-century Silk Road, with the iconic Temple of Heaven as the starting point. The display featured high-speed trains, aircraft, China-Europe freight trains, and new energy vehicles, illustrating the scenes of infrastructure development, energy, transportation, information exchange, and connectivity with countries around the world.

Further north, a 5-meter-wide blue surface represented the crucial nodes of the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, including the automated dock at Yangshan Port, with multiple cargo ships busily arranged on the sea surface. The entire setup embodied the historical legacy and modernization of the Silk Road, showcasing the transition from the prosperous ancient world to a brilliant, modern, and prosperous future. Peace doves adorned the entire arrangement as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a path of peace, prosperity, and happiness.

Yu Jinlong, a Beijing-based cultural critic, told the Global Times on Wednesday that for a state banquet, the dining preferences and taboos of various countries, as well as the balance between tradition and innovation all need to be taken intoconsideration.

On the dining table, from plates and wine pots to small seasoning bottles, the craftsmanship was unique, reflecting not only traditional Chinese artifacts like gourds but also featuring ribbon-shaped handles and decorative borders, where Eastern and Western cultures seamlessly blended and complemented each other.

The banquet's program began with classic Chinese and Russian songs, but also featured collaborative songs from various countries, emphasizing the interconnectedness and mutual assistance of BRI members. 

By presenting these delicacies to guests, China showcased its commitment to traditional values and respect within its economic development, conveying a sense of confidence and pride, he said.

Zheng Changling, secretary-general of the China Folk Culture Innovation and Development Center and a research fellow at the Chinese National Academy of Arts, told the Global Times on Wednesday that in the past, China has hosted similar banquets during events such as the Beijing Olympics and Asian Games, each characterized by a rich blend of Chinese culture. 

This banquet's overall design core embodies the beautiful symbolism of BRI members seeking equal cooperation and shared development, fully reflecting the idea of a global community of shared future.

This menu not only showcased China's achievements and strengths in culinary culture, trade relations and innovative development, but also sent a strong signal to guests from around the world that China is willing to cooperate and work together to create a better future.

"With China's rapid economic growth and continuous openness, we believe that through strengthened international cooperation and the advancement of the BRI, China and countries around the world will achieve a more harmonious and equitable development landscape, jointly building a better future for the community of shared future," Zheng pointed out.