A taste of China: when food brings cultures together

29 July 2020

By Nane Vardanyan,
Photos by: Tigran Melkonyan

3 min read

Summer is high time to improve culinary skills and improvise in the kitchen!

Hayk Hakhinyan, 11, a COAF SMART Chinese program student from Odzun village, Lori Province, prepared a Chinese-style dim sum for the first time. There are no Chinese restaurants in his home village of Odzun, so he organized his family’s first Chinese-food tasting together with his Mom inspired by our recent online SMARTConnects! What better way to eat Chinese food than with chopsticks. Guess what? He made chopsticks all by himself too!

On July 23, our yet another series of online SMARTConnects hosted Lin Han, the Assistant Chef Cook at the ThaiWine Republic and Mao ze Duck restaurants in Yerevan. There it was, the live cooking demo of dim-sum, waiting for our students and social media followers.

Lin has moved to Armenia for nearly two years. His favorite things about Armenia so far are his job, khash (traditional Armenian dish made of boiled sheep or cow part), and shawarma.

Lin gave us the chance to indulge in some delicious Chinese food virtually by sharing the authentic recipe of dim sum, a popular small bite-sized Asian dish, made of rice flour bread dough with either meat or vegetable fillings. The original way to enjoy this dish is when served with tea.

“Chinese cuisine is rich and diverse: from sweet and light to sour and salty flavors, food varies in each province in China. For instance, Shanghai, where I used to live for three years, is famous for its sweet dishes – almost every food has added sugar in it. Whereas, Sichuan food is often spicy,” explains Maggie Ghulinyan, the big fan of Chinese hot-pot and taipao (big Chinese steamed bun).

COAF SMART Chinese program students get acquainted with Chinese cuisine as an indispensable part of Chinese culture. “One of the most common questions I receive from my students is about a wide-spread stereotype – whether Chinese people consume edible insects. I explain to my students that even if people eat insects in certain Chinese regions or cities, it does not refer to the whole country,” says Maggie.

Our students will continue to explore one of the oldest and most diverse cultures of the world through its language and cuisine. We can’t wait to organize a real Chinese food tasting for our students as soon as the pandemic situation allows us to do so. Maggie and Lin Han promised to introduce COAFians to the famous Chinese hot pot. Stay tuned – tastier events are yet to come!

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