UN hosts China Shanxi Food Festival

Updated: 2014-05-06 08:00

By JACK FREIFELDER in New York (China Daily USA)

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Flipping, twirling and spinning

When it comes to the art of hand-pulled noodle making, there are only a couple techniques to get the final product just right. And China's Shanxi province churns out noodle connoisseurs like few others.

China Shanxi Food Festival in the UN kicked off on Monday with a series of culinary and cultural demonstrations, including noodle-making exhibitions and displays of decorative paper cutting. To promote the appeal of Shanxi province's food culture, Chinese food will be available at the UN from May 5-8.

Wang Hongbo, minister counselor of the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations, said food is something that "strikes a resonance" with people.

"Food is not just something that will keep us full, it is also an embodiment of culture and philosophy," Wang said on Monday. "It is also a model to build understanding."

"In China there is this very famous saying, 'to govern a big country is like cooking delicious food,'"she said. "We need to figure out what ingredients to put together, make sure we choose the right approach and we have to be very meticulous."

Wang was one of close to 200 guests who attended the event on Monday, including UN delegate members, US and Chinese government officials and other invited guests of the UN and the Shanxi provincial department of commerce.

Food culture in Shanxi province has origins that date back as far as 28,000 years, and the region has earned a reputation as both the "home of Chinese flour foods" and the "Kingdom of coarse grains," according to the event's organizers.

Sun Yuejin, director-general of the department, said that this exhibition is a good way to promote Shanxi cuisine and will help give the region a more international image.

Shanxi's commerce department sponsored a four-part exhibition at a number of venues in New York to show off the Shanxi region's dietetic culture.

The first event of the China Shanxi Food Festival, a Shanxi noodle-cooking performance, took place at Manhattan's China Sun restaurant from April 30 to May 2. Shanxi officials also hosted a seminar on the Sino-US cuisine industry on Sunday at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel in Flushing, New York on Sunday. The fourth and final event is a food festival at New York University (NYU) on May 8.

"Americans are very curious about the culture of Chinese food," said Congresswoman Grace Meng on Sunday at the Sheraton LaGuardia Hotel.

"Mainstream media like the New York Times always mentions Chinese cuisine in their paper," Meng said. "This is a good opportunity to enhance the relationship with China and I'm happy to promote Shanxi's food to the House of Representatives.''

Shanxi's commerce department is hosting the events in conjunction with the China Cuisine Association and the Shanxi Culinary and Restaurants Industry Association.

Vijay Nambiar, Myanmar's under-secretary-general at the UN, said the Shanxi food on display brought back reminders of "the most memorable time" he had spent in China.

"In many ways, cuisine and food culture are two aspects of a great civilization," Nambiar said on Monday. "From that point of view, it's a great and unique opportunity to be able to come here and taste the flavors of the hallmark of Chinese food culture."

"Today we are witnessing some of the fundamental items of Chinese cuisine, which have made it justly famous around the world," he said.

Liu Zheng contributed to this story

UN hosts China Shanxi Food Festival
A Chinese chef shows guests a traditional method of making hand-pulled noodles on Monday at the China Shanxi Food Festival In The UN. The event, which is co-sponsored by the China Cuisine Association and the Shanxi Culinary and Restaurant Industry Association, features a wide variety of noodles and other Chinese cuisine from Shanxi province, China, and runs from May 5-8. [Jack Freifelder/China Daily]