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Savoring Centuries of Flavors at Chongqing Cuisine Competition

By RAN ZHENG|Nov 21,2023

Chongqing - An assembly of 124 chefs from 78 catering enterprises across Chongqing's districts and counties gathered at the "Ba Wei Yu Zhen" Cup on November 21 in Nan'an District, showcasing centuries-old local cuisine in a vivid culinary event.

Iconic dishes include Rongchang braised goose, Dianjiang tofu pudding, Baishiyi smoked duck, Hechuan sliced meat, and Ciqikou Maoxuewang, showcasing Chongqing's diverse cuisine heritage, famous both domestically and internationally.

The dish of Rongchang braised goose in an exquisite presentation. (Photo/ "Ba Wei Yu Zhen" Cup)

The "Ba Wei Yu Zhen" Cup Chongqing Cuisine Competition on November 21 in Nan'an District. (Photo/ "Ba Wei Yu Zhen" Cup)

Landmark dishes using local ingredients and techniques

Wang Wei, president of the Chongqing Gourmet Culture Development Association, highlighted the competition's emphasis on distinctive local flavors and cultural richness. Landmark dishes, such as Tieshanping pepper chicken, Fengdu spicy chicken nuggets, Wanzhou grilled fish, and Qianjiang chicken, were honored as part of the first batch of Chongqing Landmark Dishes in 2022.

The Landmark dishes concept is rooted in Chongqing's unique geographical and cultural context. It celebrates local specialties crafted with indigenous ingredients and traditional techniques. 

A notable example is the Wanzhou grilled fish, which has a history of over 700 years. The fish meat is salted, then roasted and stewed, with seasonings from the traditional Sichuan cuisine and Chongqing hot pot. It blends traditional snack technology with modern culinary processes.

Wanzhou grilled fish. (Photo/ "Ba Wei Yu Zhen" Cup)

The competition also highlighted the skillful culinary techniques required in Chongqing's local cuisine, like the intricate preparation of "chrysanthemum fish," known for its crispy and tender texture, balanced sweet and sour flavor and demanding cooking skills.

The Chongqing's local cuisine, "chrysanthemum fish". (Photo/ "Ba Wei Yu Zhen" Cup)

First provincial-level public brand for agricultural products

This event was more than just a culinary competition; it was a testament to Chongqing's rich agricultural diversity, especially in the city's hilly and mountainous landscapes. 

Local specialties like Qianjiang morel mushrooms and Xiushan local chickens are celebrated for their ecological purity.

The "Ba Wei Yu Zhen" brand is the first provincial-level public brand for agricultural products that epitomizes the depth of Chongqing's agricultural heritage, showcasing diverse agricultural products from various districts and counties.

According to a related person in charge of the Chongqing Municipal Agriculture and Rural Committee, the "Ba Wei Yu Zhen" aims to streamline and upgrade agricultural branding by consolidating smaller, diverse, and scattered entities. 

This effort includes comprehensive planning and packaging into a regional public brand for promotion. The platform has integrated 2,893 enterprises and 13,206 products, achieving a sales revenue of 5.6 billion yuan (about 790 million U.S. dollars).

Among the participants, Wu Silu, the sales manager of Chongqing Yuanxiang Food Co., Ltd. from Hechuan District, shared the company's success in international markets. The company produces canned goods, including pork luncheon meat, chicken curry, and braised duck.

Wu said their exports have soared to over 14 million U.S. dollars over the past three years. While their products enjoy widespread popularity within China, their international footprint extends across Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia, and Africa.

The pork luncheon meat made by Chongqing Yuanxiang Food Co., Ltd. (Photo/ Chongqing Yuanxiang Food Co., Ltd. )

With a venue spanning 5100 square meters, the competition was the city's largest food competition. It played a pivotal role in enhancing the city's food culture, boosting market confidence, and promoting a high quality of life.  

Participants took photos of the elegant and diverse dishes at the "Ba Wei Yu Zhen" Cup. (Photo/ "Ba Wei Yu Zhen" Cup)


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