Chinese cuisine alliance celebrated on the Hill
Updated: 2015-03-25 11:32
By Hua Shengdun in Washington(China Daily USA)
From left: Shang Hailin, secretary general of the World Association of Chinese Cuisine; Wu Xi, minister of the Chinese Embassy; DC Congresswoman Eleanor Norton; Gary Zhu, president of the American Chinese Restaurant Alliance (ACRA) Washington chapter; Jimmy Zhao, chairman of ACRA; California Congresswoman Judy Chu and New York Congresswoman Grace Meng, attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for ACRA's new chapter on Capitol Hill Tuesday in Washington. [Sheng Yang / For China Daily]
The American Chinese Restaurant Alliance, a non-profit catering to the needs of Chinese restaurants, moved its headquarters to Washington and founded its Washington DC Regional Chapter on Tuesday.
"We moved to Washington for a better integration of the resources around the country to back up and improve the Chinese food industry," said Jimmy Zhao, chairman of the American Chinese Restaurant Alliance (ACRA), at the chapter's inaugural celebration at the Rayburn House Office Building.
More than 400 businessmen and officials attended the event. Founded in January 2014, ACRA has soaring numbers of members, with about 5,000 in more than 20 states so far.
US Congresswoman Judy Chu said at the ceremony that Chinese restaurants can "be linked to the American dream".
"When my grandfather came over (to the US), he opened up a Chinese restaurant, and now two generations later, his granddaughter is a member of the Congress," said Chu, a Democrat who, in 2009, became the first Chinese-American woman elected to the US Congress.
Congresswoman Grace Meng recalled her father's years of working in a restaurant in the early 1970s.
"I'm very appreciative of the hard work that you do, which always reminds me of the story that so many Chinese immigrants and following generations go through," Meng said.
"The mission of disseminating the Chinese food culture promotes mutual understanding between the Chinese and American cultures."
Wu Xi, minister of the Chinese embassy, said Chinese people "love food and love to share their food culture among other cultures wherever they go, thus contributing to the progress of human society while enriching their own culture".
ACRA provides members with industry information and financial, legal, insurance and other assistance through direct services and a web platform.
Beginning in the US in the 1840s, Chinese restaurants have now increased to more than 46,000, exceeding the number of domestic McDonald's, Burger Kings, and KFCs combined and employing a third of all Chinese immigrants, ACRA said.
Sheng Yang in Washington contributed to this story.