Panda Asian Food Festival kicks off in Chengdu
The Chengdu Panda Asian Food Festival kicked off on May 15 in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan province, attracting foodies and gourmands from across the world eager to taste traditional Sichuan cuisine and delicacies from other parts of Asia.
The event, which will last until May 22, aims to foster cultural exchanges between Asian nations and is part of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations held in Beijing.
The festival features 45 activities on its plate, including an opening ceremony, a culinary forum, exchanges among chefs, as well as theme days dedicated to different countries and regions, according to the organizers.
It has drawn representatives of famous restaurants, chefs, food writers, and researchers from all around Asia.
In addition to local food, more than 100 restaurants that specialize in Japanese, Korean, and Thai cuisine, as well as other Asian delicacies, will offer their signature dishes at the festival.
The festival will also feature a range of events designed to foster cultural exchanges, including an exhibition on Chinese cooking culture, an exhibition on Chinese food literature, an international photography contest, and cultural experience tours.
People from outside the province tend to link Sichuan cuisine with a spicy flavor. However, Sichuan cuisine actually boasts 24 kinds of flavor and only one third of Sichuan dishes are spicy, according to experts.
As the origin of Sichuan cuisine, Chengdu is home to many world-renowned dishes such as Mapo Tofu and Kung Pao Chicken. It is also the first Asian city named as "City of Gastronomy" by UNESCO.
With its opening up in recent years, Chengdu has attracted food restaurants from all over the world due to its open and inclusive environment. The city is now home to more than 100,000 restaurants, and possesses the largest number of international food brands in western China.
The Chengdu government has set up a goal of building the city into an international city of gastronomy. A recent target is to bring in 15 famous food brands from home and abroad, and nurture 10 food companies with annual sales revenue of 100 million yuan ($14.5 million).
The city's food and beverage revenue is projected to reach 110 billion yuan by 2020, officials said.