Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 13th 2015 Contents WESLEY GIBBINGS
Lovers of Chinese food must have
believed they had died and gone
straight to culinary heaven when the
Confucius Institute at the University
of the West Indies, St Augustine cam-
pus staged its first Chinese Food Fes-
tival at the University Inn and Con-
ference Centre on May 7.
Much like the fabled lines outside
the pearly gates though, there was a
long and potentially maddening wait
for food as it was clear the organisers
had grossly underestimated the enthu-
siasm with which the festival had been
But most thought that as much as
a 60-minute wait in one of half a dozen
long lines was worth the chance to
sample the eight main regional cuisines
of the Asian giant state. Just as impor-
tant was the fact that the food never
On offer was an amazing variety of
dishes from eight of the country s more
accomplished restaurants including
Eagle s, Me Asia, Sing Ho, Dim Sum
King and Madam Lee Secrets.
Some highlights included Eagle s
boiled salted duck and twice-cooked
pork while Madam Lee provided for
the non-meat-eaters a menu with the
rather curious choice of "vegetarian"
shrimp and ham, together with over-
sized fried wontons.
Dim Sum King, which still leads in
the genre in south Trinidad, served up
an amazing pineapple chicken and a
visually-appealing eight-layer cake.
Me Asia boasted a varied menu with
a delightful sweet potato cake and an
amazing crystal shrimp dumpling
which, in the view of this participant,
was the highlight of the evening, albeit
minus the not readily available soy
sauce and pepper.
Then came Sing Ho with a Yangzhou
fried rice with mixed meat and veg-
etables and a char siu pork with honey
that was not short of awesome.
If the Confucius Institute does not
do this again, it will not be forgiven.
Thankfully, institute collaborator, Cen-
tre for Language Learning (CLL) direc-
tor, Dr Beverly-Ann Carter, confirmed
it will happen again.
"This is our first time and we hope
to make it an annual event," she said.
"It s an attempt to showcase the eight
food styles of China because Trinida-
dians tend to know Sichuan and Can-
tonese but not the full range."
"We know Trinidadians love Chinese
food and we are overwhelmed by the
response and we hope to make it bigger,
better and more organised next time,"
No better way to touch bases with
the language and culture of a people
than through its culinary arts and the
Chinese are not known to be slouches
in this regard. It is felt, for example,
that the concept of harmony in yin
and yang "is also important in the
sphere of food and cooking," a pam-
phlet prepared for the event says.
"The five flavours of sweet, sour,
bitter, spicy and salty are related to
the nutritional requirements of the five
main organ systems of the human body,
and each one plays its part in preserv-
ing excellent overall health," it says.
Food prudes beware, though,
because authentic Chinese cuisine takes
full advantage of all the planet s flora
and fauna have to offer. Not so, at the
festival however, as inputs into the
regional varieties on offer did not ven-
ture far from well-known indigenous
Anhui, Guangdong, Fujian, Hunan,
Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan and Zhe-
jiang influences were on the platter
but with servings not completely unfa-
miliar to those who reached the top
of the lines with empty plates and
China s ambassador to Port-of-
Spain, Huang Xingyuan, was there to
partake of the fare along with other
Chinese nationals to offer support to
the view that where the Chinese have
their Chinese food, there too should
a local reside.
Dr Carter believes the effort will
promote greater interest in learning
the languages of a country that forms
a part of T&T s heritage. "This festival
is a way for people to learn more about
China," she said. "Activities like this
are ways to bring people into a better
knowledge of Chinese culture...and
perhaps encourage more students to
At $50 a pop, the festival offered
one of the deals of the century. Anyone
for advance tickets for next year?
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Chinese food lovers enjoy festival
Chinese ambassador Huang Xingyuan, left, enjoying the meal with his colleague.
Some of the patrons get served at the Chinese lunch. PHOTOS: WESLEY GIBBINGS
Links Archive May 12th 2015 May 14th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page