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.”