WUHAN, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Crayfish had become an ideal food for the fusion of Chinese and Western cuisines at a just-concluded international food festival held in the city of Qianjiang, central China's Hubei Province.
The event, including investment activities, seminars and meetings on e-commerce of aquatic products, has attracted more than 200 enterprises from home and abroad.
"Crayfish is adaptable for both Chinese and Western cuisines, with which we can also innovate a lot of fusion cuisines," said Ma Guangjun, principal of the Qianjiang Crayfish Vocational School.
"There are more than 100 cuisines featuring crayfish at the festival, including baked crayfish with cheese, as well as Chinese traditional dishes such as steamed crayfish, to satisfy various diners," Ma added.
Native to North America, crayfish were brought to east China's Jiangsu Province by a Japanese merchant in the 1920s or 1930s. They appeared on the plain in central China about 30 years ago, and villagers found the shellfish tasty and turned them into big business.
Crayfish is one of the most popular foods in the Chinese market. As the largest crayfish producer in the world, China had more than 667,000 hectares of crayfish breeding areas in 2017, with an output of over a million tonnes, according to a report of Chinese crayfish industry released in 2018.
"Not only the students from across China but those from Thailand, Malaysia and other countries came to the city of Qianjiang to study crayfish cuisines considering the increasing demand of the market," said Ma. "Some foreign students are planning to open crayfish restaurants in their own countries."
The city has exported 150 million U.S. dollars worth of crayfish to more than 30 countries in 2018, ranking the first among Chinese cities. Related industries created 150,000 jobs and helped 20,000 people rid themselves of poverty.
The Qianjiang Crayfish Vocational School has signed a strategic agreement with the Canada Achieve Group to send experts in cooking crayfish to Canada.
"We will send our experts to train local talents in crayfish breeding and cooking in the next five years, and they will also send the students to study at our school," said Ma.
"Crayfish, as one of the most popular foods in China, will certainly be loved by many local residents in Canada," said Tony Elenis, president of the Ontario Restaurants Hotel and Motel Association.