On September 29th, 2023, the ” Pomelo Gala: A taste of Cantonese Sweet, China Guangdong Agricultural products global tasting and exchange event ” was held in Markham, Canada. Federal Member of Parliament Mr. Shaun Chen, York Regional Councillor Mr. Joe Li, Markham City Councillor Isa Lee, Richmond Hill Councillor Mr. Simon Cui and other government representatives participated in person and spoke highly of this great business promotion activity . More than 50 extinguished guests attended the event, including Dr. Ye Jun, Chief Representative of Guangdong Provincial Economic and Trade Representative Office in Canada, heads of major Canadian supermarkets, presidents of Cantonese food and beverage associations, and representatives of chambers of commerce and related associations, etc., they also tasted the special agricultural products and prepared dishes from Guangdong on the spot.
The theme of the event was “Pomelo in Guangdong: Sharing the Sweetness”. Coinciding with the Mid-Autumn Festival, the event received congratulatory letters from federal MP Jean Yip, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, York Region Councillor Alan Ho, Toronto City Councillor Nick Mantas and other dignitaries of all three levels. The Mayor of Markham said in his congratulatory letter that he looks forward to more Guangdong specialty agricultural products, prepared dishes and vendors entering the Canadian market, so that more Canadian consumers can enjoy delicious Chinese food at home.
Doris Jianping Li, director of the North America Development Center of Chinese Premade Cuisine Industry and President of EACHTECHNOLOGY delivered a welcome speech. She recalled the scene of eating pomelo during the Mid-Autumn Festival with her family when she was a child and the interesting story of how her father sealed the pomelo with a wax solution and kept it from the Mid-Autumn Festival until the Chinese New Year. She said that good food is the silent language that brings people together across ethnic and geographic differences. “No matter where we go, memories of food are memories of our loved ones and of that moment when we enjoyed it.”
At the event, delegates exchanged their impressions and outlook on Guangdong’s agricultural products. Dr. Ye Jun, the Chief Representative of Guangdong Economic and Trade Representative Office in Canada, highlighted the quality and advantages of Meizhou pomelo, as well as the rapid development speed and export performance of Guangdong’s prepared cuisine as the origin of China’s prepared food industry, hoping that through this activity, local merchants and consumers can learn more about the famous and excellent specialties from Guangdong, to enhance the economic and trade cooperation between the two sides and to revitalize the development of the economy.
Federal Member of Parliament Mr. Sheng-Yuan Chen, whose ancestral home is Hakka in Meizhou, Guangdong Province, made a special trip to the event to support the event, stating, “I am very pleased to see more and more delicious products from my hometown being exported to Canada, which not only introduces fresh agricultural products to the Canadian market but also provides more choices for Canadian consumers. We look forward to more cooperation opportunities with Guangdong Province in the field of agricultural trade in the future.”
Mr. Joe Li, York Region Councilor and President of the Canadian Hakka Association, who is also a Hakka family member, said that when he left the house that morning, his wife specifically explained that he was looking for a Meizhou pomelo to bring home for the holiday. He was still worried about where to find it, but he did not expect to meet his hometown pomelo in the scene of the event. They all enthusiastically used the Hakka language and actively recommended the good taste of their hometown.
Participants also actively discussed the development opportunities of the prepared cuisine industry in the Canadian market. A famous local Canadian Cantonese chef Mr. He Guangyi said that many people’s misunderstanding of prepared dishes comes from the lack of understanding of the industry, “Thinking that it is the dishes cooked by Amateur cooks and put in the refrigerator, and sell them the next day”, he highly affirmed from a professional point of view, the Guangdong Province’s pre-prepared dishes, with its unique production process and fresh ingredients, “Canada is the country with the highest requirements for food safety requirements of the highest countries, can be imported to the pre-prepared dishes, safety is a gatekeeper.” Mr. He said that the prefabricated dishes would bring about a change in the entire restaurant industry, both to save the restaurant’s manpower, and improve the efficiency of the meal, but also to ensure the stability of the restaurant’s output, “Consistency is winning.”
Richmond Hill City Councillor Mr. Simon Cui spoke high of the Guangdong Prepared cuisine. He said that when his family members come home from busy work, they hope to reduce the work in the kitchen, and the arrival of the pre-prepared dishes not only satisfies the appetite but also allows everyone to spend more time with their children, which is the preferred choice of the family kitchen. “In this China Guangdong Agricultural products global tasting and exchange event, the agricultural products of Guangdong Province showed their unique charm, not only mesmerizing in taste but also in terms of health, safety, and freshness, which won the unanimous praise of local multi-ethnic consumers in Canada.
In Canada, both pomelo and the innovative Cantonese pineapple mooncakes and emerging Cantonese-prepared dishes have become a wonderful part of the Chinese celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival. All attendees were treated to a special tasting of Cantonese pomelo, and the classic dessert, made from Cantonese pomelo, was also quite popular. A number of supermarkets and heads of importers and exporters also tasted prepared dishes from Guangdong on the spot, with products such as crayfish, braised golden pomfret, chopped pepper fish head, and slices of no-battered blackened fish receiving professional recognition. Mr Li Jinghui, the owner of Big World Supermarket, said he has six Chinese supermarkets where Cantonese-prepared dishes sell well, and he also hopes to introduce more categories to enrich consumers’ choices.
In addition to the Cantonese pomelo dessert and the tasting session of prepared dishes cooked on-site, the event also featured a Cantonese opera performance and interactive Mid-Autumn lantern riddles. The rich and varied interactive exchanges deepened the understanding of local Canadian businesses about Guangdong agricultural products and prepared dishes. Participants discussed various cooperation opportunities in the future, hoping to bring more authentic Cantonese food to Canadian tables and provide local residents with more diversified and delicious food choices.
The event was strongly supported by the Canada Universal Media Association. The guests commented that this event is not only a food exchange, but also an in-depth exchange and interaction between China and Canada in terms of food culture, food safety, and flavor quality, which will lay a solid foundation for the business cooperation between China and Canada in the field of agricultural products and their deep processing.
The North America Development Center of Chinese Premade Cuisine Industry is committed to the development and exchange of the industrial chain and supply chain in the field of deep processing of agricultural products in China and North America, especially in Canada. So far this year, it has organized a number of successful Guangdong specialty agricultural products tasting and exchange activities in Canada, which have not only allowed more Canadians to taste authentic Guangdong flavors but also deepened their understanding of Guangdong’s famous specialties and promoted sales in the local market. In the future, the North American Development Center of Guangdong Prepared Vegetable Industry will continue to promote cooperation between China and Canada in the field of agricultural products and promote the high-quality agricultural products of Guangdong Province to the international market, so as to provide more local multi-ethnic consumers in Canada with healthy, safe, and delicious food.