A Chinese gastronomic cultural festival kicked off in Istanbul on Thursday evening, the first in a series of events to mark the 2018 Happy Chinese New Year celebrations in Turkey.
In a local Chinese restaurant, qualified chefs from China presented Turkish and Chinese guests with flavored Chinese dishes like stewed codfish meatballs in light soup, braised lamb chops, Kung Pao prawn balls and state banquet-styled fried dough sticks.
Gultekin Karatas, deputy mayor of the Maltepe municipality, described the event as an example of "social and cultural solidarity" between his city and China.
"It is a very interesting experience for me to work with these master chefs, they are all very experienced," said Suleyman Dogan, operating manager of the restaurant that is hosting the event.
"I also tasted all the items on the menu, they are delicious," he added, noting the interest of local residents was also very high, as all the tables on the ground floor were booked.
To mark the occasion, the restaurant is decorated with red lanterns and Chinese knots, and Chinese folk songs were played all the time.
Zhong Hongnuo, vice consul general from the Chinese Consulate General in Istanbul, said he believes delicacies are helpful in bringing closer Chinese and Turkish peoples, as there is ample space for cooperation between their countries under the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China.
The initiative is aimed at promoting infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity among countries along and beyond the ancient trade routes.
As part of the Happy Chinese New Year event in Istanbul, Beijing Modern and Contemporary Dance Company is set to present next Monday a dance show in the city.
The gastronomic festival, organized by China Cuisine Association, is set to cover the Turkish capital of Ankara in the coming days, with lectures, workshops and banquets on the agenda.
The Chinese lunar new year, also known as Spring Festival, is the most important traditional festival for the Chinese people featuring mainly family reunions, local delicacy feasts and performances.
The Happy Chinese New Year event was launched as a project in 2010 to have people in different parts of the world to share the joy and grand celebration with the Chinese people and learn about the Chinese culture.