From French steak to Hokkaido ice cream, it's a global banquet

The China International Import Expo is not only a fest for entrepreneurs, but a global feast for gastronomes.
Dong Jun / SHINE

Japanese ice cream, French steak, English fruit flavored tea and Spanish ham from acorn fed pigs

The China International Import Expo is not only a fest for entrepreneurs, but a global feast for gastronomes.  

Inside the Pavilion of Food and Agricultural Products, there is a worldwide range of fine cuisine and beverages.

Japan has brought the best of Hokkaido to Shanghai with original, cheese and honeydew melon ice creams.

Li Qiang, a Hokkaido product promoter, said more than 20 food producers with over 600 products were attending the expo. 

Hokkaido specialized in various fields including dairy, baking and crops.

“It’s the first time for Hokkaido rice to officially make a debut on the Chinese mainland,” Li said.

Compared with Koshihikari rice, Hokkaido rice is less known to Chinese people. But it is among the best Japanese rice brands for its just-right sweetness, hardness and viscosity, Li said.

“Through the CIIE, we hope we can let more consumers have an all-around understanding of Hokkaido foods, ranging from desserts to seasoning,” he added. 

Hokkaido food is also popular in Japan.

“If there is a Hokkaido food fair held in Honshu or Kyushu, it will be always very crowded,” he said.

Another “line-up” booth at the pavilion was for ham maker La Encina from Spain. 

In Spanish, “La Encina” means acorn tree, and acorns are what the Black Iberian pigs eat. A huge ham made of Black Iberian pig was on display with visitors given a slice each.

“Spanish ham is unique and precious,” said Lin Junyong with La Encina. “It has a small production, but people speak highly of it.”

UK tea firm Twinings built a small but elegant tea house at the pavilion with its brand ambassador Charles Smith making tea for visitors using a bone china tea set lined with gold. 

On the counter four types of Twinings tea were displayed — green tea Pure Sencha, Exotic Mango & Ginger Green Tea, Golden Tipped English Breakfast and London Standard Earl Grey. These cover both Eastern and Western, traditional and modern flavors.

“Being 312 years old, Twinings is oldest tea and coffee provider in the world,” said Smith. 

According to Seline Li, e-commerce assistant manager of Twinings, the company is adding some Western elements such as fruit to its traditional Chinese tea.

“Twinings has thousands of kinds of products worldwide,” she said. 

“We are glad to bring our flavored tea back to China and share some new tastes with Chinese consumers.” 

French beef is another highlight of the pavilion.

“We have brought some beef, pork and processed pork products like sausages and ham,” said Michele Lawson with French meat suppliers Inaporc and Interbev.

“In France, we have a very strict food safety process from the farm to the plate so we feel it’s secure to send the meat to China.”

Dong Jun / SHINE

Russian artist Vitalii Ponomarov engraves a block of chocolate with an image of the Great Wall at the expo’s food and agricultural products pavilion. The work showcases Russian chocolate producer Confael’s products.

Countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative have brought their most competitive products as well.

At a Russian booth, Russian chocolate producer Confael showed off many candy products in attractive gift packages. 

The brand’s chocolate master gave a chocolate engraving show at the site — on a thick chocolate board, a delicate and vivid picture of the Chinese Great Wall emerged.

“We are very happy to be here because there are opportunities to know more about Chinese people and culture, and to know what they want, and what they are going to buy,” said Sasha Tsareva of Confael. 

She said that after the engraving, the chocolate artwork will be covered by golden paint.

At the Polish booth staff were making Tatar — a meat ball made of raw meat and onion. 

“We Polish often have it with wine,” said Natalia Szczypiorowska.

“We have also brought some Polish potato dumplings and mushroom soup for the visitors.”

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