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Slow and steady, the Chinese way

By Ye Jun (China Daily)

09:11, May 22, 2012

It is not a strange innovation imported from abroad. It is the natural Chinese way to eat local, eat slow and eat seasonal. What has changed is the recent waves of intra-provincial migration as labor demands and geographical dislocation move people around.

But Chinese chefs are confident that all these will have little impact on the preservation of regional and traditional cuisines.

"Most Chinese, when they move to work and live in another city, try to locate places where they can get a taste of home," says Fu Yang, general manager and executive chef of Le Quai, a Chinese fusion restaurant based in Beijing.

"In Beijing, for example, there are less and less real 'local' Beijingers. But people still look for traditional Beijing foods."

Fu's restaurant became a member of the Slow Food Movement in 2004.

He says that while expatriate and foreign customers recognize that status, many Chinese diners do not understand the meaning of the snail logo on the eatery's facade. He admits, though, that the restaurant's Slow Food member status has helped create media awareness and good publicity.

Some chefs think the influx of migrants from other provinces help diversify the culinary scene.

"Restaurants have become increasingly fusion now," says Qu Hao, China's national level cuisine master. "In Beijing, for example, there used to be mostly Shandong cuisine, but now there are Sichuan and many other food styles."


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