A Mixue Ice Cream & Tea outlet in Johor Bahru. (Photo: Claudia Liao)

Mixue, ChaGee, Luckin: F&B brands boosting China's soft power in Southeast Asia?

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?
Nong Geng Ji has opened for business in Hong Kong. (CNS)

Can popular restaurants from mainland China make their mark in Hong Kong?

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.
The owner of the sachima stall in Chinatown stirs his wok. (SPH Media)

How a 'Manchu' snack landed in Singapore's Chinatown

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.
Young performers wait to take part in the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong, China, on 28 September 2023. (Lam Yik/Reuters)

It’s Mid-Autumn: Time for some mung bean pastry

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.
A woman shops for frozen items at a supermarket in Beijing on 13 August 2023. (Pedro Pardo/AFP)

Why China’s consumers are boycotting pre-made meals in restaurants and school canteens

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?
People walk past KeeTa advertisements in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, China. (HKCNA)

Food delivery giant Meituan’s foray into Hong Kong: Getting ready for internationalisation

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.
Statues of Han Yu (right) and Zhao De (赵德), one of the eight sages of Chaozhou in the Tang and Song dynasties (唐宋潮州八贤), at Han Wen Gong Temple in Chaozhou. (WeChat/玉茗堂前)

The Chaozhou people can boast of Tang dynasty essayist Han Yu

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.
Nearly a hundred people gathered outside the headquarters of TEPCO, owner of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, to protest the planned discharge of Fukushima wastewater into the sea, 5 July 2023. (CNS)

[Big read] Doubts over Fukushima wastewater release hard to overcome

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.
Out of all the Changzhou snacks that cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai tried, thin egg noodles were his favourite. (Photo provided by Cheng Pei-kai)

Changzhou noodles: So good it evokes the wisdom of Confucius

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.