As China tries to sell its soft power, one channel it is tapping into is its food and beverage industry, with brands like Mixue and Luckin Coffee moving into overseas markets. Alongside its tech exports like smartphones, can China convince others of its products and improve its image?
Since travel and consumer spending resumed after the pandemic, a slew of mainland Chinese restaurants have chosen to venture into Hong Kong, hoping to gain similar success as they did before. However, the mainland Chinese brands are competing with the world’s fare in this food paradise. Lianhe Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing finds out more about this fiercely competitive market.
Former journalist Lim Jen Erh looks into the history of a traditional Chinese snack sachima, and finds that similar snacks are found as far as central Asia and Europe. Perhaps people, and food, are not so different anywhere in the world.
Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai writes of the humble mung bean pastry, a classic snack of the people that has been made in the traditional way for generations in Taiwan. Now, the well-loved pastry has been given new spins in modern times, from “Florence-style mung bean pastry” to a lacto-vegetarian version named after Chinese poet Li Bai.
While China’s pre-made meals are quick and convenient for eateries to provide to general consumers, there has been a recent controversy over bringing them into schools. There is also concern over the ingredients used and what goes into the meal. Given the current lack of regulation in pre-made meals, how will the authorities handle the rapidly growing industry?
Meituan, mainland China’s food delivery giant, made its first foray outside the mainland to Hong Kong recently, under the brand KeeTa. It faces stiff competition from incumbents Foodpanda and Deliveroo, amid a strong sense of local identity among Hong Kong residents which may affect take-up rates to some extent. Nevertheless, this is a testbed for Meituan’s internationalisation plans. Lianhe Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing reports.
While Chaozhou is acknowledged for great food and the hometown of various famous personalities, it is also the lesser-known place of exile of Tang dynasty essayist Han Yu (韩愈), who made the best of his time there, writing essays and spreading Confucian teachings.
It has been 12 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting tsunami that damaged a nuclear power plant at Fukushima. As plans progress to release treated wastewater from the nuclear power plant into the sea, Lianhe Zaobao journalists Tan Jet Min and Foo Choo Wei explore the challenges in the decision, as well as the difficulties facing related industries, such as fishing.
While on an intangible cultural heritage expedition in Changzhou with a group of global experts, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai tucks into Changzhou’s local delights. Trying more than 20 snacks all at once, he was full but could not resist having a taste of thin egg noodles that was a perfect marriage of Suzhou and Shanxi noodles. This is the last article of a four-part series on Changzhou food and drink.