Actress Li Bingbing, food critic Shen Hongfei and designer Lu Hongzhong shared their dining experiences on July 18 at the launching ceremony of Budweiser Supreme Best Dining Experience Award for the best restaurant in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Shen and Lu are two of the panel's judges. Anyone can share their dining stories by logging in the restaurant-rating and group-buying service provider Dianping.com. The results will come out by year-end.
"It's a very interesting contest. Food, food culture and restaurant designs such as tableware are our assessment standards," says Shen, who is a consultant for the widely acclaimed food documentary A Bite of China, produced by Central China Television.
Actress Li Bingbing says she's the "best spokeswoman" for Chinese food. Provided to China Daily
Shen says that to most customers, a restaurant's atmosphere, their own mood and the company of people there also affect their dining experiences.
"The combination can make you enjoy more of your meals and life as well," says Li, who is presently enjoying a fresh bout of popularity following her performance in the Hollywood blockbuster Transformers: Age of Extinction.
"You can't enjoy delicious food by eating alone, because the dining experience is about sharing with others. It's a relaxation as well. You can also understand different cultures via dining."
She says people have different preferences when seeking a perfect food experience. For example, she likes to drink beer in a goblet.
Li says she gets homesick when she goes abroad but feels much better when she takes out her chopsticks. It makes her feel she is having Chinese food even when she eats Western food with chopsticks.
"I am the best spokeswoman for Chinese food and I'd like to have it wherever I am. My favorite food in summer is hotpot and beer," she says jokingly.
"When I was in the Untied Stated learning English, I shared with my American friends the Chinese cuisine culture and how to make healthy porridges."
Shen notices that, compared with more than a decade ago, many Chinese people have tasted many delicious foods due to rising incomes, and now they tend to eat some traditional things that are rooted in their culture, such as foods they used to eat during childhood.
"Many awards talk about food itself, but we focus on the food experience, which is not only about food, but also about context, and design and the story about the restaurant," says Alexander Lambrecht, director of global brands, Anheuser-Busch InBev Asia Pacific.
"Chinese dining culture is evolving very quickly. We're committed to help shape the Chinese dining landscape step by step, through creating the best experience that incorporates food, culture and design," he says.
(China Daily 08/01/2014 page22)