Sichuanese cuisine should be given world heritage status, according to the head of a Hong Kong food group.
Charlie Lee Wai-chung, a member of the Sichuan Committee of the Chinese Consultative People’s Party Congress and chairman of Lee Kum Kee sauces, proposed Sichuanese cuisine for inclusion on the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.
“The deepest impression Chengdu and Sichuan gave me was their many kinds of culinary delicacies,” said Lee, who has done business in the southwestern province since the mid-nineties.
Most of his foreign friends learnt about Sichuan through its spicy food and the majority of Chinese restaurants abroad serve the Sichuanese dishes mapo tofu and kung pao chicken, he said.
Traditional Japanese cuisine, or washoku, and Korean kimjang, the process of making spicy pickled vegetables known as kimchi, were added to the list last month, joining French and Mexican cuisines.
“Only by realising industralisation, modernisation, standardisation and internationalisation can Sichuanese cuisine get real protection, transmission and development,” Lee said.
To achieve this, a research institute first had to be established, a survey made of Sichuanese cuisine, and the government should sponsor new research every year, he said.
Sichuanese cuisine is one of China’s eight culinary traditions. The remaining seven are the cuisines of Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong and Zhejiang provinces.