Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT
China proposed the Belt and Road initiative, which not only originated from the much needed sustainable development and inclusive growth of the countries that are involved in the initiative but many other interesting realities that are transforming human civilizations.
China also upholds the significant element of people to people connectivity based on cultural exchanges aiming to develop the close bonds between people of different continents.
On one hand, the Belt and Road initiative is pushing forward economic integration and forming new regional alliances of development for people's wellbeing, while on the other hand, the vision is introducing Chinese food culture that has thousands of years of history to other regions of the world.
Now having an impressive and visible presence around the world, Chinese food with all its unique cooking styles, flavors and colors has started dominating Pakistani menus.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of the Belt and Road initiative, has successfully paved a way of introducing Chinese cuisine in Pakistan.
The growing number of Chinese citizens traveling to perform their duties on hundreds of CPEC projects in Pakistan and more Pakistani people visiting China for various purposes have helped grow the popularity of Chinese food in the country. There are now restaurants in many Pakistani cities such as Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.
In addition, many Pakistani restaurants located in the cities included in CPEC projects have incorporated famous Chinese dishes in their traditional Pakistani menus following the presence of Chinese citizens there.
People associated with the hotel industry believe that the CPEC significantly created huge opportunities benefitting the commercial entities on both sides of the border, but the introduction of Chinese food has given a fresh look to Pakistani dining tables.
Mei Kong, established in the 1970s and known as the oldest Chinese restaurant, takes the lead and pride of introducing Chinese food to Pakistan.
The restaurant has trained chefs in cooking Chinese rice, chow mein (stir-fried noodles) and Lanzhou Lamian (stretched noodles), shrimp, prawns and lobsters.
The introduction of Chinese seafood in Pakistan has spread Chinese flavor and food traditions to spicy Pakistani dishes, which creates endless options for fusion cuisine. Chinese rice has also become a part of weekly household menus.
With the rising trend of Chinese restaurants, hotels are stepping up to prepare and introduce new Chinese dishes on the eve of Spring Festival.
The Chinese culture center in Islamabad has also done a lot to promote authentic Chinese culinary habits and eating techniques, especially the usage of chopsticks.
Pakistan, a home of delicious traditional food, has always welcome international cuisines, and now the inclusion of Chinese food to traditional menus is being widely appreciated.
The promotion of Chinese culture through unique food in Pakistan has proven that the Belt and Road initiative has been performing beyond trade and investment. Chinese food has been forming a close bond between people around the world, and now there are much more cuisine choices to share with your loved ones.