The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) together with the Embassy of the Republic of Seychelles in China launched a Seychelles Creole culinary experience in Beijing China earlier in November 2019 aimed at promoting gastronomy tourism in the destination.
The project, in line with STB’s strategy to market the destination provided a platform for the participants to immerse themselves into the Seychellois culture and heritage through a culinary voyage.
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Representing the Seychelles at the event were, the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Mrs. Anne Lafortune, Ms, Vivanne Fock Tave; Seychelles Resident Ambassador in Beijing and the STB Director for China, Mr. Jean-Luc Lai-Lam who showcased the different flavors and colors of what the island nation’s culinary delights have to offer.
The different travel agents and media present at the event were able to join in and learn how to prepare a few authentic Creole dishes and understand the origins and history of the Seychelles cuisine.
During the session, the Chinese guests also traced the history of the Seychelles gastronomy to the Chinese cuisine as one of the five main branches of the Seychelles cuisine through the country’s Chinese cultural heritage.
The guests were delighted to hear that the Chinese culture has also contributed vastly to the Seychelles Creole culture and history. During the presentation, Mr. Lai Lam, STB representative on the Chinese market explained that extending beyond cuisine; the Seychelles Creole vocabulary has also adopted many different Chinese words that have created the Creole language.
He provided examples of words such as “Siao” meaning soya sauce coming from the Chinese Cantonese language “Si jau (豉油)”, “Chowmin” meaning stir-fried noodles coming from the Chinese Mandarin language “Chaomian (炒面)”.
Commenting on her mission in China for the promotion of Seychelles, Mrs. Anne Lafortune mentioned the Seychelles rich cultural heritage and stated how valuable it is for the destination.
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“Food tourism becomes one of the defining characteristic of a region or nation’s identity. Seychelles is a proud melting pot of five major cultures and ethnicities. These include Chinese, Indian, African, French and British. Seychelles Creole cuisine is also strongly influenced by those ethnic food cultures.
For all businesses linked to gastronomy, culture and tourism, this couldn’t be a better opportunity for those wanting to move forward, gain greater visibility and attract more customers,” said Mrs. Lafortune.
On his part, Mr. Lai Lam mentioned that gastronomic tourists are not only interested in the food they are enjoying, which must be locally sourced of course, but also want to know more about its history, its production and its journey to the palate, pointing out the clear example of this is the growing success of wine tourism.
“Gastronomy tourism and in effect culture tourism have become the leading hook in travel, with authenticity being the most important drive in consumer behavior today. This interactive culinary event could serve up our nation’s rich culinary heritage, vibrant food culture and celebrated local delights,” added Mr. Lai-Lam.