The hard part of banning the consumption of wild animals? Defining them
Turtle soup, rice porridge with frog, snake soup, frog leg clay pot rice – could popular dishes in Chinese cuisine like these be off restaurant menus in China for good? That’s the worry of chefs, food critics and restaurant owners after the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top lawmaking body, banned the trade and consumption of wild animals in late February as part of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The consumption of wild animals has drawn much government scrutiny, as both the current epidemic and the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) have been associated with markets in China selling meat from wild animals. The Sars virus o
Chinese city drafts ‘white list’ of 9 edible animals. Dogs are out
The southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has proposed a regulation that would prohibit the eating of cats and dogs as part of a nationwide drive to implement a “total ban” on the wildlife trade following the Covid-19 outbreak. The city has drafted a “white list” of nine farm animals deemed fit for consumption – pigs, cattle, sheep, donkeys, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese and pigeons.  While the list is not exhaustive, the city said in a notice it was seeking to make a “stringent” law to promote “civilized eating habits.” Eaters of forbidden species would be fined between 2,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan ($280 to $2,800), according to the proposal. The animals’ breeders and sellers would be punished w
Meet the chef who once cooked for Deng Xiaoping
Liu Guo-zhu is the executive chef of the two-Michelin-star Golden Flower restaurant in Macau, specializing in imperial Tan cuisine, which comes from Beijing and has aristocratic roots. In an interview, he talks about cooking for China’s late paramount leader and why traditions are essential for Chinese chefs. What was it like cooking for Deng Xiaoping? He loved dishes with chili because he was from Sichuan. He liked to enjoy a bit of alcohol as well. Back in 1981, there was a big military exercise for six days and he insisted on watching over the whole thing. The exercise was in Zhangjiakou, near Inner Mongolia, and the weather was cold. The quality of lamb from Inner Mongolia was known to
The secret links between Chinese and Thai food
Chinese and Thai cultures are linked for more than just their love of food. They have also been trading cooking styles and ingredients for generations. Traders from both regions often traveled between the two countries, bringing spices and cooking techniques to the other. You can taste it in Thai cooking today. We meet a Thai food expert in Bangkok to find out where these links come from and the Chinese culinary traditions hidden in plain sight in Thailand.
This app wants to pay you to eat vegan
A Hong Kong-based new app is hoping to pay people to eat more plant-based meals. Every time users in the city eat a vegan meal and submit the receipt to the app, Pay-a-Vegan, they will receive a $1 credit to be redeemed in the service’s partner restaurants. Eiko Onishi, the founder of the app, said she wants to encourage more restaurants to offer vegan food and make life easier for vegans by giving them restaurant recommendations. “Instead of convincing people to open a new, purely vegan restaurant, it’s easier to ask regular restaurants to perhaps increase their vegan options,” said Onishi.  In recent years, entrepreneurs have eyed the greater China region as a potential market for plant-ba
Most of the Western world is still ignorant of Asian cooking
It’s a slow week night and I find myself vegetating in front of the TV, watching another season of MasterChef. As usual, feisty judge Gordon Ramsay is ripping into another contestant for his poor job of cooking a piece of meat and Joe Bastianich is shooting daggers at another for sloppy plating. As an Asian viewer, though, what’s been gnawing at me over so many seasons is how little Asian cuisine they actually feature. As people discover food from Asia, this geographic region has undeniably had the most profound culinary effect of any continent in the last 20 years. If you watch MasterChef, you’d think Asian food is still just rice, more rice and sweet and sour pork. This applies to many oth
The unexpected history of Chinese-Canadian food (Hint: it’s not ‘fake Chinese’)
Chop suey, chow mein, egg foo yong, deep-fried lemon chicken, spring rolls, stir-fried beef and broccoli. These are all dishes typically found on the menu of a Chinese-Canadian restaurant. They may not be authentically Chinese, but they are culturally distinct. Vancouver-born journalist Ann Hui, 36, took an interest in the culinary curiosities after learning that many immigrant restaurants in Canada’s Chinatowns were closing down or being repurposed as non-Chinese restaurants or bars. When Hui, a reporter for Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, dug deeper, she discovered there were many such restaurants across the country. In some cases, they were the only restaurant in town. That inspir
Hong Kong brewers match beer with Chinese food
Chef Jowett Yu’s pairing of grilled New Zealand fatty lamb ribs and an especially brewed beer has been years in the making. Years ago in China, the Hong Kong restaurateur had eaten lamb ribs at Guanguanji, a restaurant in Shanghai. The lamb had been slathered in cumin, fennel and chilli powder, and he had wanted to wash it all down with an ice-cold beer – which the restaurant did not serve. Now, however, Yu has finally been able to marry the two together. Dad Bod, a beer brewed in Hong Kong by Young Master Brewery, is sold exclusively at Ho Lee Fook, Yu’s modern Chinese restaurant in Soho – an upscale entertainment district in Hong Kong. Dad Bod is a pale ale made with guava that “cuts throu
Will China embrace plant-based meat? We’re about to find out
If anyone wants to convince Chinese people to eat less pork, the country’s favorite meat, now is a very opportune time.  Over the past four months, pork prices have more than doubled in China, due to an outbreak of African swine fever that has wiped out more than 30% of the country’s pig herd, which experts say will take years to rebuild.  Green Common, a plant-based food company based in Hong Kong, is hoping the pork crisis means more people are in the market for alternatives.  “There is a market for this product in China,” said Casey Hall, a Shanghai-based writer who’s been covering Chinese consumers for over a decade.  Chinese people are certainly opting for other kinds of meat, as risin
Domino’s and Pizza Hut are offering boba pizza in Taiwan
The sweet, chewy boba balls are not only in your bubble tea, they could also be on top of your pizza.  Domino’s and Pizza Hut are offering pizzas topped with boba in Taiwan, the birthplace of the original bubble tea, also known as pearl milk tea.  The boba pizza is already being sold at Domino’s on the island. It costs NT$199 ($6.50) to have a “brown sugar boba pizza” delivered. It’s topped with black boba, white mochi balls, honey and cheese. Customers can pay extra for extra cheese.  Pizza Hut will start selling its own version on November 1. The pizza, topped with black boba, cheese, a milky sauce and another sauce made with Ceylon tea, will cost NT$329 ($10.8). It’s vegetarian, by the w