Ready-to-cook Chinese delicacies grow global presence
FUZHOU, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- More than 20,000 individually packaged ready-to-cook Fotiaoqiang, a traditional Chinese delicacy, have recently been boxed up in the coastal county of Lianjiang, east China's Fujian Province, departing for the United States and Canada.
This is the first time Juchunyuan, a time-honored food brand in China, has exported its signature meal -- a thick soup made with varieties of seafood and meat -- to North America.
Fotiaoqiang dates back to the reign of Emperor Tongzhi (1862-1875) of the Qing Dynasty. The original recipe was created at Juchunyuan restaurant in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian.
In 2008, the recipe of Juchunyuan Fotiaoqiang was listed as a state-level intangible cultural heritage.
"For many overseas Chinese, Fotiaoqiang is a must at their Spring Festival feasts," said Wang Yue, deputy general manager of Fuzhou Juchunyuan Group Co., Ltd, which owns the brand Juchunyuan.
The company has registered a logo trademark for Juchunyuan Fotiaoqiang in the United States and Canada. In June, Juchunyuan Fotiaoqiang was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The recently exported batch of Fotiaoqiang will be sold to major stores and restaurants in North America, according to Wang.
The meals were prepared with ingredients from Lianjiang, including abalone and sea cucumber, processed following the standards for ready-to-cook foods, and distributed via a cold chain system so that the traditional flavor was preserved.
It would have been very difficult to make and export Chinese delicacies like Fotiaoqiang in large quantities, given the complexity of the traditional cooking method. The maturing of the ready-to-cook food business has presented new opportunities for Chinese catering companies to break into overseas markets, according to Wang.
In June, Fujian rolled out its safety standards for making Fotiaoqiang. The first exported batch of ready-to-cook Juchunyuan Fotiaoqiang was produced in compliance with the requirements.
A major hurdle for Chinese foods to go global has been cleared, Wang said.
There are around 60 million overseas Chinese worldwide, promising huge potential for the export of ready-to-cook Chinese foods.
China's abundant supply of agricultural produce, rich food culture, stable industry and supply chain, and policy support from local authorities in recent years, have collectively laid solid groundwork for taking ready-to-cook Chinese foods globally, said Chen Weijie, secretary-general of the Fuzhou catering and culinary industry association.
In June, Fujian Province hosted a special event for more than 40 suppliers of ready-to-cook foods to connect both online and offline with representatives of over 10 buyers from the United States and Canada.
In the future, ready-to-cook Chinese delicacies will speed up their global expansion, taking the country's food culture further to the world, Chen said.