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[China-food]Discovering Tibetan food: change vs unchanged |Feature |[Page:1]
Tibetan food [File Photo]
On August 16, a cooking contest was being held at the Third Matsutake Food Cultural and Tourism Festival in Nyingchi prefecture, during which chefs are engaged in a fierce competition, according to Shen Bin,a cooking master from the China Cuisine Association.
At the competition site, varieties of dishes can be found, such as stone roast matsutake, matsutake bake French foie gras and matsutake jam with pancake. Chefs blend traditional matsutake with new materials, cooking new kinds of Tibetan food.
"Tibetan food plays an important role in Tibetan culture; however, it also needs change with the development of times to continue to attract people," said Xiang Luo, a Tibetan boy from Hainan prefecture, Qinghai province, who is also the "marquee chef "of a Tibetan restaurant.
Besides the matsutake food cultural festival, people can also enjoy more than 20 different Tibetan banquets with unique characteristics provided by medium-sized and small enterprises like Makye-ame and Akeding Bakery, particularly at the first Tibetan food exhibition and cooking contest held during the Shoton Festival in Lhasa in August.
"The contest is just a way to provide a communication platform for Tibetan chefs and a window for tourists to know Tibetan meals," said Chu Liqun, president of Tibet Cuisine and Hotel Industry Association, he added that now, all kinds of Tibetan restaurants have contributed to the inheritance of Tibetan food, showing the vitality of ancient Tibetan meals.
"Performances after having Tibetan meals are also the extension of Tibetan food. Now, ordinary people can enjoy delicious food and performances, which could only be enjoyed by noble people in the past," said Tseyang, a female Tibetan restaurant owner.
Tseyang said in recent two years, more and more tourists from home and aboard come to Tibet to experience Tibetan meals. Therefore, the Tibetan chefs are sent to inland cities to learn western cooking skills. Now, her restaurant also provides new Tibetan meals like Cheese Lamb Chop, Tibetan-style Salad besides traditional Tibetan food, like tsampa.
Statistics from the Tibet Cuisine and Hotel Industry Association show that the revenue of Tibetan restaurant industry has reached 3.727 bln yuan in 2012, up 21.93 percent from a year earlier. The statistics also reveal that the unique Tibetan-style restaurants are more and more popular among tourists.
"Matsutake is the top ingredient for Tibetan meals. We will increase the matsutake-related dishes to 500 from the current 100 dishes, combining the matsutake industry with the catering industry," said Chu Liqun.
According to Chu, a Tibetan food research center will be set up in the future to explore more modern Tibetan meals and export to foreign countries, making Tibetan meal a unique cuisine independent of the Chinese eight cuisines.
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