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Exquisite dining creates a sizzling new trend in China

Updated: 2023-08-17 15:27 ( Xinhua )
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Tian Zeyu, a chef hailing from southwest China's Guizhou province.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Few individuals have shown greater enthusiasm for the culinary arts than Tian Zeyu, a chef hailing from southwest China's Guizhou province. This culinary master has been celebrated for his inventive take on modern regional cuisine.

One of the most sought-after dishes at his restaurant in downtown Shenzhen incorporates Bolognese pasta and aromatic Guizhou cured sausage, with a touch of white wine upon serving.

"After years of traveling abroad, I chose to come back to China, bringing along fusion dishes," Tian said. He aspires to weave together his taste memories from his travels and intertwine Chinese indigenous ingredients with global cooking techniques.

From modernized imperial dishes in quaint restaurants to local eateries showcasing top-notch ingredients from home and abroad, Chinese cuisine is blossoming in the realm of fine dining.

Tian's concepts secured his restaurant a spot on the Black Pearl Guide in February, a dining rating that has represented the taste of Chinese customers from the Chinese perspective since 2018, compared with the Michelin Guide, which was introduced in China in 2016.

The Black Pearl Guide for this year encompasses 304 restaurants across 25 cities throughout the country, as well as Tokyo, Bangkok, and Singapore. Among them, 65 are newcomers.

Fine dining goes beyond just the food; it also satisfies customers' desires for ambiance, service, and facilities. Moreover, it showcases the restaurant's distinctive blend of cultural heritage and innovation.

Cantonese cuisine master Chef Guo Yuanfeng's restaurant is situated on the 70th floor of Raffles Shenzhen, offering a panoramic view of Hong Kong. It draws a substantial number of patrons from across Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macao, and Southeast Asia.

"Rooted in Cantonese cuisine, we annually revitalize one-third of our traditional dishes, preserving the essence while infusing innovation. This approach ensures a high-quality and distinctive dining experience for every guest," said the Chef.

This growing refined fine-dining landscape is also beneficial for business. Meituan's China Fine-Dining Report, released in 2022, showed that the market for fine dining in 2021 expanded by 40 percent over the previous year.

"In 2023 alone, the newly listed restaurants in the Black Pearl Guide saw an online traffic surge of over 150 percent, and many of these restaurants have found their way onto customers' must-try lists," said Tang Yan with the Black Pearl Guide.

Statistics also reveal a surge in the number of fine dining restaurants in China, which reached 4,429 in 2022, up 1.5 percent over the previous year. Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen took the lead, with Shanghai boasting 961, Beijing 688, and Shenzhen 476.

In 2022, the market size of China's fine dining industry reached a transaction volume of 55.9 billion yuan (around $7.7 billion), marking a 7.8 percent rise from the previous year, said Guo Ningxuan, head of Black Pearl Guide's business analysis.

Guo added that with China's economy rapidly rebounding, the sector in China is expected to embrace even brighter prospects.

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