A number of people including Head of State, Governor General, Dr. Cecile La Grenade, and Tourism Minister, Alexandra Otway-Noel attended the first-ever Chinese Food Festival held at Sogecoa International Hotel, Woodlands, St. George’s.
The Food Festival showcased a variety of dishes that is known to form part of the Chinese menu.
Resident Chinese Ambassador, Ou Boqian spoke of the importance of food in the Chinese culture, noting that some of the food that was first created was not just as a food, but also as a medicine.
The female Chinese envoy said that medication food has a long history of more than two thousand years in the Far east nation and has been used by the Chinese people to not only save lives, but also to try and improve their health.
According to the Chinese Ambassador, the medicated food is used primarily to make people feel healthy and energetic.
She said during big holidays and festivals, the entire family will get together in China to enjoy Chinese food.
The Governor General who also addressed the gathering spoke highly of the Chinese delicacies.
Dr. La Grenade indicated that a Chinese banquet, in its preparation and presentation shows all the culture and culinary arts that have been perfected over the years.
She said Grenada looked forward to the development of new dishes, utilising some of the local fruits including mango, and for there to be a close co-operation between the Sogecoa Hotel and the farmers in the Spice Isle.
Dr. La Grenade who is a Food Specialist by profession, suggested that people should look instead at using sweet and sour sauce using star fruit or carembola, and golden apple balls instead of pineapple chunks, as well as the creation of a nutmeg-flavoured soy sauce to give the unique Grenadian flavour, and the development of a special bright spice made from local herbs and spices.
“Some of you might be wondering whether I have already started experimenting with some of these ideas, and are probably looking forward to a publication entitled, ‘The GG’s collection of Grenadian Chinese recipes,’” Dame Cecile said.
Before taking on the role of Governor-General following the February general elections, Dame Cecile was the driving force behind De La Grenade Industries at St. Paul’s, a family owned and operated business that manufactures pepper sauce, and a number of jams made from nutmeg pods and guava.
General Manager of Sogecoa, Jenny Jiang spoke of being honoured to have the hotel host the Food Festival which is expected to become a regular feature on its agenda.
Jiang described the activity which received the full support of Ambassador Boqian as “a big event” for the small Chinese Community residing in Grenada.
She said the Chinese Food Festival was geared at sharing the joy of Chinese foods with everyone.
She recognised that in Grenada there is already the weekly Fish Friday at Gouyave, St. John’s, as well as the monthly Victoria Food Festival in St. Mark’s that have Grenadian characteristics and attractions.
She said she hoped that the Chinese Food Festival can also become an attraction for the General Public.
“I would like to call it a Sogecoa Saturday. Let the people of Grenada, from the Caribbean, and the tourists all over the world would have the opportunity to enjoy Chinese food in Grenada, and through this window of Sogecoa, let people know more about Chinese food,” she remarked.
The Sogecoa Hotel announced that half of the income raised at the Food Festival will be donated to charity on the island.