Catering Practitioners: Macau as “Gourmet Capital" for Traditional Chinese Cuisine

Source: Macau Daily News

Saturday, 8th April 8, 2017

Catering practitioners: Macau as “Gourmet Capital" for Traditional Chinese Cuisine

Gourmet is an important element when people plan their travel destinations. A travel websites reported that "food" is mentioned in the travel plans of nearly 80% travelers. The Macau Government has officially applied for Macau as the “Gourmet Capital". Catering practitioners welcomed the initiative, citing that if the application is successful, it will not only help improve the reputation of Macanese food and conserve the traditional Chinese cuisine. The successful application will also provide development opportunities for the catering industry. However, some scholars point out that Macau is lack of the system of conserving local cuisine and this will affect the development of traditional cuisine.

Macau is famous for its diversified gourmet, trying different delicacies is even on the must-do list of many tourists. In recent years, a number of top-notch restaurants have opened in Macau. According to the Forbes travel guide, Macau has 11 five-star rating restaurants, leading the world in the number of five-star rating restaurants.


Driving the development of relevant industries

There are 18 "Gourmet Capital" in the world, among which Chengdu and Shunde are two Chinese cities that have been awarded such a title. The application for Macau as "Gourmet Capital" is the third among Chinese cities. As the first city to be honored with this award in Asia, Chengdu is well known for the first wine factory, the earliest tea culture center and the first vegetable cultivation base in China. More than hundreds of cooking methods, including deep frying, boiling, simmering has spread across the world. Reputed as the birthplace of Cantonese cuisine, Shunde is the hometown of many Chinese chefs, and delicacies has become the signature of Shunde.    

Yeung Wing-shing, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for Small and Medium-sized Catering Industry stated that with Ruins of St. Paul registered in the World Heritage List and became an important tourist attractions. If Macau can be listed as the Gourmet Capital, it will improve the reputation of unique Macau cuisine. Another benefit of being the Gourmet Capital is the conservation of traditional cuisine. Almost every food ingredients are imported from surrounding cities, there are lots of local delicacies that is worth to introduce to the next generation such as cold cake, shrimp paste and even Portuguese chicken. The Chamber of Commerce is going to organize an event to promote those traditional delicacies.

The development of catering industry drives the development of relevant industries including food art, tableware, design and advertising. It may even benefit the movie and television industries through new promotional strategy. However there are still some hurdles for the development of catering industry. SMEs have to face fierce competition from enterprises. Few locals are willing to devote themselves into promoting nostalgic foods, which must rely on foreign workers and continuous innovation.


Lack of system to conserve traditional food

Scholars indicated that although Macau has diversified food culture which are mostly integrated in tourism projects, the community is lack of systematic conservation programme for traditional foods. Macau fails to establish a mentoring system of traditional foods recipes and cooking skills. It will be very difficult for Macau to continue the tradition on its own efforts.

Gourmet Capital includes the fusion of different cuisines while absorbing different cooking skills. The key to success is learn from others while combing local characteristics. Tis requires extensive research, analysis and training. Although international food and beverage brands may enter the catering market from time to time, it will be difficult for Macau to conserve and even introduce traditional delicacies to the next generation as the community is lack of a proper conservation system.

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