Cultural: Chinese dishes on Eid days

Cultural bond between Pakistan and China has been continuing to spiral with upward trajectory and magnitude especially on special occasions. Fresh manifestation came during Eid gala days.

On Eid days, Chinese dishes interestingly have found their ways on Pakistani tables emerging as one of preferred cuisines among diverse array of traditional foodstuff craved by local people mostly in urban areas in the country.

During all Eid holidays from April 22 to April 25, local enthusiasts of Chinese food, in a good number, visited foody destinations and quenched their appetite for yummy and aromatic Chinese dishes like Beef Chili Dry, Egg Fried Rice, Steamed Chicken Dumplings, the Mongolian Beef Steak, Kung Pao Chicken, Chicken in Oyster Sauce and other delicious items.

Foodie people craving for contemporary Chinese dishes also threw parties to their dear ones and friends to savor Crispy Chicken with Sweet and Sour Chili Sauce or the Crispy Sweet and Sour Sauce Prawns along with Vegetable Chowmein, an in in-depth survey revealed.

As per survey details, Chinese restaurants, many continental hotels as well as street eateries that offered Chinese food made a roaring business due to rush of Pakistani people there on Eid gala days.

While one chef Khawar Javed from a home-based business told Gwadar Pro that considerable demand for Chinese meals compelled him to perfect their preparation, another household women Ms Nadara believed that making these dishes helped people feel and recognize the foody culture of Chinese community.

Masood Sheikh, a delivery boy working at Food Panda said that among other dishes, 45 percent orders were placed regarding Chinese foods including Chicken with Cashew Nuts, Lettuce Wraps with Wok-Fried Chicken and Crunchy Honey Beef, Seaweed and Prawn Wonton Soup, Hot and Sour Soup, Spring Rolls, Steamed Chicken or Prawn Dumplings and Roasted Duck.

A range of seafood and noodle options were other items that he delivered to people’s homes, he added.

A Chinese restaurant owner Mr. Burhan Hameed was asked to give the reason behind soaring interest for Chinese dishes among Pakistani people, he replied that Pakistani businessmen who used to visit China have been cultivating love for Chinese food. After returning Pakistan, they desired for them and established Chinese restaurants offering such Chinese scrumptious cuisines.

“Prawn Tempura, Steamed Chicken Dumplings, Szechuan Chicken, soups, dim sum and desserts are among those Chinese food items that created pangs of hunger for Chinese dishes among local Pakistani people,” he added.

Mr Ming, an astute chef who creates flavourful food offering Szechuan and Cantonese favourites to diners said that online food program, food adventures and food choices globally are also setting people’s interest afire. Among other countries’ dishes, Chinese food diversity wins the hearts of Pakistani people as they love Seaweed and Prawn Wonton Soup, Hot and Sour Soup, Spring Rolls, Steamed Chicken or Prawn Dumplings and Roasted Duck.

On special occasion like Eid and even during normal times, Food is seen more than just a means of just eating. According to experts, food is considered to be multidimensional, as something that shapes us, our identities, and our cultures and in the end, our society. Just as different clothes signify different things. For example, the white coat a doctor, the uniform of a police officer or army personnel, food also transmits a meaning. But the meaning varies from culture to culture. And when two nations try to get closer, food often becomes a bridge.

In addition to impacting food choices, culture also plays a role in food-related etiquette. People in different societies may refer to food-related etiquette as table manners, a phrase that illustrates the cultural expectation of eating food or meals at a table. Indeed, public experience of feasting Chinese cuisines have allowed them to feel Chinese cultural foody spectrums.

Understanding a culture through food is an interesting process because once a person starts asking these questions, such as how something is made, what ingredients are in it, or why it is called a certain way, the answers obtained go beyond culinary learning. In these answers, food tells us something about a culture’s approach to life. In the end, we can say that food functions symbolically as a communicative practice by which we create, manage and share meanings with others. Understanding culture, habits, rituals and tradition can be explored through food and the way others perceive it.

President of Institute of International Relations and Media Research