Guangzhou-made opera wows audience in Italy

The original Chinese opera Marco Polo, created by the Guangzhou Opera House and based on the story of the famous Italian explorer, has been well-received by local audiences and media during its tour in Italy.

Marco Polo, first staged in May 2018 in Guangzhou, was shown at the Dal Verme Theater in Milan on Sep 22 and 24 and at the Carlo Felice Theater in Genoa from Sep 29 to Oct 1.

It is a three-act Chinese opera running 165 minutes, and its main cast consists of people from around the world with a variety of cultural backgrounds.

The opera recounts the epic adventures of Marco Polo, who traveled along the ancient Silk Road to China in the 13th century. It was meant to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Italy and China.

“Italian audiences are very familiar with both opera and the story of Marco Polo. The opera is a good way to showcase China’s cultural strength as it was created in Guangzhou and presented by artists from home and abroad,” said Wang Bingbing, a Chinese opera performer living in Italy.

Giuseppe Talamo, an Italian tenor who stars as Marco Polo in the opera, said he was happy to be able to perform the opera in his homeland.

“I hope more Italian artists can perform in China to improve cultural exchanges between the two countries, just like Marco Polo,” added Talamo.

Guangzhou continues efforts to be a ‘Food Capital of the World’

The “2019 Must-eat Food List” was published by professional gourmet institutes in Guangzhou on July 5 and nearly 60 Guangzhou restaurants made it on the “Must-Go Restaurant” list, with 29 Guangzhou cuisines selected on the “Must-Eat Food” list.

It marked another effort by the southern metropolis to promote its construction of being a “Food Capital of the World”.

A total of 1,463 restaurants and 655 dishes were on the lists. The Guangzhou dishes entering the “Must-eat Food List” include steamed rice noodle rolls, roast goose, shrimp dumplings, and Cantonese roast pork.

The Asian Beer Culture Festival is held during the Asian Cuisine Festival Guangzhou. [Photo/Guangzhou Daily]

The Asia Cuisine Festival Guangzhou was held from May 16 to 23. During the festival, seven countries, including Japan, South Korea, and Thailand, carried out special activities showcasing their national characteristics. Japanese food-making shows, special exhibitions of Korean food and cartoons, as well as a Thai gourmet party were a highlight that attracted a large number of tourists who not only tasted exotic food, but also experienced the cultures of other Asia countries.

The Asia Cuisine Festival Guangzhou built a 10-kilometer “Asian Food Culture Corridor” on both sides of the Pearl River. In the future, Guangzhou will continue to strengthen the corridor’s operation. In addition to gourmet food, Guangzhou will actively build cultural platforms for the city, taking the Pearl River as a springboard and tapping into the cultural resources of the Pearl River Delta region to make the Pearl River a calling card like the Seine River in Paris and the Thames River in London.

The city of Guangzhou boasts a variety of tasty food and it strives to build itself into a “Food Capital of the World”. [Photo/Guangzhou Daily]


Michelin releases new guide dedicated to Guangzhou restaurants

The Michelin Guide Guangzhou 2019 was released on July 16, unveiling the southern Chinese metropolis’ first two-star restaurant that was praised for providing “excellent cuisine worth a detour”.

The restaurant, Jiang (江), was previously rated as a one-star Michelin restaurant in 2018 before receiving a two-star rating this year.

The Michelin Guide Guangzhou 2019 is released on July 16 in Guangzhou. [Photo/Guangzhou Daily]

Its acclaimed Cantonese cuisine strikes a balance between tradition and innovative food-making techniques, while incorporating eye-catching elements of Japan and the West. The specialties at the restaurant include roast chicken with flaxseed, Cantonese dim sum, and char siu (Cantonese roast pork).

In addition, 10 restaurants were rated as a one-star restaurant this year, two more than last year.

According to Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, the continuous development of Guangzhou’s culinary industry has impressed their reviewers since the release of the first edition of the Michelin Guide Guangzhou. They found more new and excellent restaurants as the number of restaurants included in this year’s guide increased from 63 to 79.

Guangzhou Port is an important port of the Maritime Silk Road and the city of Guangzhou is located in the Pearl River Delta. These factors have contributed to the city’s diverse and rich dining culture. The Michelin Guide Guangzhou 2019 reflects Guangzhou’s diversified food culture with a total of 18 cuisines included in it, such as Cantonese cuisine, Indian cuisine, and Singaporean cuisine.


Celebrating Cantonese fare

Jiang by Chef Fei at the Mandarin Oriental in Guangzhou may have just received two Michelin stars, but the restaurant is not in the business of resting on its laurels, Li Yingxue reports.

Last June, when the first edition of the Guangzhou Michelin Guide was released, eight restaurants were awarded one star each. However on July 16, when the second edition was released, 12 stars were given out but only one restaurant received two – Cantonese cuisine restaurant Jiang by Chef Fei.

The synopsis for the restaurant in the guide reads: “At the Mandarin Oriental’s upscale Chinese restaurant, the chef creates innovative dishes with Japanese and Western inflections based on traditional Cantonese cooking techniques.”

Huang Jinghui, also known as chef Fei, the chef de cuisine at Jiang by Chef Fei, says he had the feeling that he was going to gain two stars when all the one-star restaurants were announced, and his restaurant’s name was not called out.

“I was nervous, but not as nervous as last year,” says Huang, who couldn’t sleep well in the months leading up to last year’s announcement.

“To gain Michelin stars is a dream for most chefs, but my rule is to always serve the diners the best quality food with or without a star,” says Huang.

Before the Michelin guide focused on Guangzhou, business at Huang’s restaurant was already brisk, but the stars have helped to bring in more customers.

With two stars, the restaurant now has to be booked around 10 days in advance.

Huang thinks the stars are both a reason for pride and stress for his team as the diners following the Michelin guide expect a lot.

“The judges of the Michelin guide need time to explore the delicacies of Guangzhou, and I believe that in the future there will be three-starred restaurants in our city,” says Huang.

Guangzhou is where Huang started his culinary journey at the age of 16 when he left his hometown, a small town in Chaoshan region in Guangdong province.

At the age of 20, he became an executive chef leading a team of 20. During the early years he took the time to practice his culinary skills, from cutting to frying. He has filled six notebooks with notes on cooking and other knowledge he had gained.

“I would volunteer to cook the staff meal at the restaurant, so that I had more chances to perfect my skills,” says the 46-year-old, who remembers that for one staff meal, he had a large bunch of cucumbers to chop.

From cucumber to carrot, radish to ginger, Huang has perfected his skills of dicing, slicing and shredding.

“Unlike today, when chicken chefs dealt with specific parts back in the 1990s, they had to clean and deal with the whole bird by themselves,” says Huang.

In 2012, Huang started to make preparations for the launch of Jiang by Chef Fei, the first Cantonese cuisine restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental hotel to be named after its chef.

According to Huang, he trains his chefs in a military style with strict rules for each dish, from cooking to plating. He also examines each dish before they are served to diners, and he throws the food away if the dish is not cooked as he wants.

“I tell the chef what is wrong with the dish and ask them to make it again,” says Huang, who calls over all the chefs in the kitchen to listen to him correcting the problem so that no one repeats the mistake.

“All the chefs in my team respect me, but not out of fear,” says Huang.

After creating a new dish, Huang not only teaches his chefs how to cook it, but also tells all the servers how it is made and lets them try the dish so they can explain it better when serving it.

Huang is very strict about cleanness in his kitchen. The floor of his kitchen has to be kept clean and dry for the entire time no matter how busy the chefs are.

“I tell my chefs to clean the kitchen each day after cooking, because sanitation is the key to ensuring food safety,” says Huang.

Huang knows the temperaments of each of his chefs and handles them accordingly. Even when some of his chefs leave the team, Huang continues to guide them.

“I wanted to be an executive chef the moment I walked into the kitchen 30 years ago, and I hope my chefs can understand the importance to have a clear goal for the future,” says Huang.

Anthony Tyler, general manager of the Mandarin Oriental in Guangzhou, says Michelin’s recognition of the restaurant is a testament to the unique position it occupies in the city.

Huang is also a consultant to several other Cantonese restaurants under the Mandarin Oriental group, and he wants to spread the cuisine to more places outside of China.

He crafts innovative dishes from simple but top-class seasonal ingredients.

Traditional wax gourd soup features ham and dried scallop, but Huang also adds steamed Alaskan crab meat to give the dish more freshness.

He also pays a lot of attention to the plating of his dishes, which he compares to what stylish clothes represent to people.

“The key to the cuisine is seasonality, both for ingredients and flavor. In winter the dishes are rich and in summer the seasoning is light.”

To celebrate the Michelin accolade, Huang has six special “mustorder” dishes for diners in Guangzhou, three of which are newly created, including the poached Australian abalone with black truffle sauce.

Huang poaches the imported abalone, which weigh a minimum of 700 grams each, in chicken broth with Chinese ham for 24 hours.

Another recommended dish is the poached lobster in spicy and sour soup, which has a seafood broth and is made with fresh tomatoes. Huang then adds a hit of fresh chili to the dish.

For dessert, there’s stewed imperial bird’s nest with pear and orange blossom wine. Here, the tender and smooth texture of the pear is a perfect match for the delicacy favored by Chinese nobility – imperial bird’s nest.

To attain three stars, Huang thinks besides the quality of food, all elements during the diners’ whole eating experience matter, from tableware to wine pairing.

As for his immediate ambitions, Huang says: “I hope diners from outside of Guangdong province or even from abroad, will come to enjoy the authentic Cantonese cuisine at my restaurant.”

Guangzhou Jade Carving

Guangzhou Jade Carving skills came into being in the mid and late period of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), with more than 1,000 years of history.

Jadeite is usually used for Guangzhou Jade Carving, and made into ornaments or furnishings. Jade balls, which are small balls put inside big ones with each of them able to move freely, are a featured product of Guangzhou Jade Carving.

Guangzhou Jade Carving products are characterized with elegance, exquisiteness and daintiness. They also record the integration of Chinese and western cultures in the past hundred years, and possess important values of history, culture, art, and economy.

Jade has been seen by the Chinese people a symbol of auspiciousness and luck, and could guard against evil and avoid disasters. Hence, Guangzhou Jade Carving products are of great popularity at home and abroad.

It was listed among the second batch of the national intangible cultural heritages under the approval of the State Council in June 2008.

An exquisite Guangzhou Jade Carving furnishing. [Photo/]
Guangzhou Jade Carving

An exquisite Guangzhou Jade Carving furnishing. [Photo/]

Source: China Daily

New Zealand entrepreneurs urged to seek opportunities in China’s Greater Bay Area

New Zealand entrepreneurs were encouraged here on Friday at the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) promotion conference to devote to international economic and trade cooperation with the Greater Bay Area.

The bay area consists of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China’s Macao Special Administrative Region, as well as nine cities in south China’s Guangdong Province — Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing.

Guangdong is now working hard to build a world-class urban agglomeration and a world-class bay area with Hong Kong and Macao and to uplift the overall opening up platform, China’s Vice Consul-General in Auckland Xiao Yewen said, noting that the Greater Bay Area plan will promote the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao.

“The concept has a great economic potential in terms of trade, in terms of people to people visit and in terms of scientific changes. This area will become a global innovation and technology hub,” said Jian Yang, a member of New Zealand parliament.

Yang encouraged the entrepreneurs to seek new opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, saying, “there is a great opportunity for us to join this.”

Wang Jiazheng, president of Canton Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand which hosted the conference, said, “The traditional manufacturing industry has a solid foundation in Greater Bay Area, and it has gathered many mainland science and technology enterprises. The R&D and innovation capabilities have been continuously improved, and high-tech industrial clusters have been fully formed.”

The member companies of Canton Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand are expected to participate in the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) scheduled in November, according to Wang.

After the conference which was attended by over 200 entrepreneurs, the entrepreneurs visited a photo exhibition featuring Guangdong development achievements.

Source: Xinhua

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge brings benefits to Greater Bay Area

Aerial photo taken on Oct. 13, 2018 shows the Hong Kong section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge in Hong Kong, south China. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)

As a significant hinge for the coordinated development of the Greater Bay Area, the bridge has brought and will continue to bring benefits and convenience to people’s lives in the region.

GUANGZHOU, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) — The smooth operation of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge over the past year has brought tremendous opportunities and benefits to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Launched on Oct. 23 last year, the 55-km bridge, known as the longest bridge-and-tunnel sea crossing in the world, links China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), the city of Zhuhai of southern Guangdong Province and Macao SAR.

It is the first large-scale infrastructure project jointly developed by Guangdong Province, Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR under the principle of “one country, two systems.”

Yau Kin-Woo from the Hong Kong Association of Youth Commentators has become a frequent passenger since the bridge opened.

“The bridge and the cross-border shuttle buses are very convenient for visiting Macao and Zhuhai,” Yau said.

This year, Lau Suk-kwan, a kindergarten teacher from Macao, took students to the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort for their graduation trip. The whole journey only took them one and a half hours.

Aerial photo taken on Oct. 13, 2018 shows the artificial island of the Hong Kong section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge in Hong Kong, south China. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)

“In the past, we needed to first take a boat and then take a car. Sometimes children were seasick. It was really inconvenient,” said Lau.

“After just one year’s operation, the bridge port has become one of the busiest in the Greater Bay Area,” said He Feng from the bridge’s border control station in Zhuhai.

Over the past one year, the bridge has seen more than 14 million passengers as well as 1.5 million vehicles.

The bridge also injects new vigor into the area’s logistics and tourism sectors.

Lam Kam-fai has been working as a truck driver for 20 years. The opening of the bridge has slashed his travel time from Hong Kong to cities on the west bank of the Pearl River to four to five hours.

“I used to drive all day long for a single trip. It is much faster now,” Lam said.

Zhuhai Guangfeng Logistics Company where Lam works is one of the beneficiaries of the bridge. During the past year, the company saw its volume of imports and exports via the bridge hit 2.7 billion yuan (over 380 million U.S. dollars), and delivered about 1.7 million parcels for cross-border e-commerce.

“Thanks to the opening of the bridge, our transportation costs have fallen by as much as 30 percent. The annual cost of operating 1,000 freight vehicles can drop 600,000 yuan,” said Zhang Jie, general manager of the company.

Cars run on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, Oct. 24, 2018. The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge, the world’s longest cross-sea bridge, opened to public traffic at 9 a.m. Wednesday. (Xinhua/Liang Xu)

Meanwhile, according to the Macao Government Tourist Office, among the inbound passengers from January to September in 2019, the number of same-day visitors exceeded 15.9 million, up 30.6 percent year on year. The number of overnight-stay passengers also increased by 4.9 percent year on year to 14.27 million, indicating the positive effect of the bridge on local tourism.

The bridge is also becoming an important link coordinating the innovative development among cities in the bay area.

In the city of Jiangmen, 13 science and technology innovation projects signed between Jiangmen and Hong Kong are under further development. A total of 50 start-up teams from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan have settled in a local start-up incubator. In Zhuhai’s Hengqin Free Trade Zone, nearly 500 new Macao enterprises were registered in one year, bringing the total number of enterprises from Hong Kong and Macao to over 3,000.

Choy Yan-po, a young entrepreneur from Macao who frequently shuttles between Zhuhai, Hong Kong and Macao, said the completion of the bridge has significantly improved the operational efficiency of his start-up team.

“We can handle our business in the three cities in one day, which was completely impossible before,” he said.

“As a significant hinge for the coordinated development of the Greater Bay Area, the bridge has brought and will continue to bring benefits and convenience to people’s lives in the region,” said Yu Lie, deputy head of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Authority.

Source: Xinhua

Incentives encourage HK youths to chase dreams in Greater Bay

A rainbow appears in the air over the city of Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong province, Oct 3, 2016. [Photo/VCG]
Many of Hong Kong’s young people are embracing a historic opportunity in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which has become a cradle for startups in particular, thanks to preferential polices, increasing business opportunities and an integrated living environment.

Lei Zi-hou of Hong Kong, who is in his 20s, shifted between several jobs after graduation but failed to find one that could match his major of electronic science and technology .

He started to consider mainland offers in the second half of 2018 and got a job at a software company in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province.

But it was still not his ideal job.

“It has always been my dream to set up my own business,” he said. After working cross-border for a while, he now believes an opportunity is emerging for him to realize his dream.

He found that many cities in Guangdong have opened incubators for Hong Kong and Macao entrepreneurs to establish startups-part of measures to implement the nation’s plan for developing the Greater Bay Area.

The blueprint, released in February, aims to bolster the integrated development of nine cities in Guangdong with the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. Following the guidelines, detailed measures have been carried out to make it easier for people from Hong Kong and Macao to live and work in the area.

For example, the incubator that Lei has chosen in Jiangmen provides rent-free offices and, more important, supervisors to introduce him to local manufacturers and potential business partners, he said.

He is preparing an application for the incubator on a project involving intelligent household products and is sorting out the supply chain. But he believes his dream is about to come true.

As more people from Hong Kong consider working or starting their own business across the border, some pioneers have become mentors to young entrepreneurs.

Among these pioneers is Chan Sing. In 2015, he took his crossborder e-commerce startup to an incubator in Shenzhen after running into difficulty raising funds in Hong Kong.

He said that at that time it was not easy for an internet-based startup to get sufficient financing due to lack of collateral, given that most of the fundraising channels in Hong Kong were banks.

Within six months, however, he had managed to secure a 50 million yuan ($7.1 million) investment in Shenzhen.

For the growing number of Hong Kong young people pursuing opportunities in Shenzhen, “the psychological support from a fellow townsman would be especially encouraging,” he said.

So he organized an incubator in Shenzhen along with a local district government. More than 40 teams have jumped on board, of which two-thirds are from Hong Kong.

He said financial technology and international trading of the mainland’s high-tech products are the two major opportunities for these startups, giving full play to Hong Kong’s advantages in finance and professional trading services.

Besides starting new businesses, some Hong Kong-based companies are expanding to the mainland as business integration increases, and their employees are relocated along with the expansion and decide to stay.

Loeng Zi-hin began working in Shenzhen in 2016 when his employer, Hong Kong-based Bielomatik Machinery Co, a provider of automatic manufacturing devices, was entering the mainland market.

“I found the technology industries are more diversified (in Shenzhen),” he said.

Witman Hung Wai-man, principal liaison officer for Hong Kong of the Shenzhen Qianhai Authority, said Hong Kong can provide a wide range of talent from industries including finance, science and engineering.

Source: China Daily

[Guangzhou in Figures] Guangzhou Municipal Planning and Natural Resources Bureau: performance of historical city conservation

Guangzhou has formed a protection list, which includes one historical urban area, 26 historical and cultural blocks, 19 historic and scenic districts, seven famous towns and villages, 91 traditional villages, 749 cultural relics protection units at all levels, 3,090 unmovable cultural relics, 817 historic buildings, 107 intangible cultural heritage projects and a large number of traditional architectures.

Through the establishment of an unmovable cultural heritage information management system, full-factor, holistic and systematic protection is implemented. At present, Guangzhou has basically specified the protection area and the development control area towards national, provincial and municipal cultural relics protection units, set up files for the first to third batches of historical buildings, completed the establishment of protection signs at historical and cultural blocks, famous towns and villages, and traditional villages and historical buildings in provincial level or above. Guangzhou has also completed 3D scanning and mapping of about 500 historical buildings and cultural blocks, covering an area of 150,000 square meters.

Source: Guangzhou Municipal Planning and Natural Resources Bureau

Guangzhou, Singapore to build scientific innovation zone

A cooperation agreement on the construction of a Sino-Singapore international scientific innovation cooperation demonstration zone in Guangzhou was signed during the China-Singapore Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation Meeting in Chongqing on Oct 15.

The zone, located in Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City, will be co-built by the administrative commission of Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City, Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City Investment and Development Co Ltd, and CapitaLand Limited, one of Asia’s largest diversified real estate groups.

Being designed as a high-level industrial zone for Sino-Singaporean international scientific innovation, the zone will carry out mutual cooperation in areas like intellectual property, smart cities, financial services, digital economy, and talent training.

It is expected that the zone will attract a total investment of 50 billion yuan ($7.06 billion) to prioritize the development of industries such as biomedicine and big health, smart manufacturing, the new generation of information technology, new materials, as well as new energy in the next five to 10 years.

Five functions, namely the research and development of science and technology, finance and business, cultural creativity, tourism and leisure, as well as ecological living will be covered in the overall layout of the zone. Quality resources from Singapore in areas like education and financial innovation will be introduced.

Currently, work has begun on a total of 54 major industrial projects and 113 construction sites, initially establishing an advanced high-tech industrial system. The number of companies registered in the zone has reached 1,605, while the accumulated registered capital has amounted to 136.03 billion yuan.