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Explore Chinese food, culture and heritage at this spring fair
7 reasons to get to the Chinese Food Fair on Heritage weekend (it’s free)
Last updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2022
The closest you may get to eating authentic Chinese fare – such as Gua Bao and Peking Duck – is at the Chinese Food Fair on 25 September, 2022. It will be held at the Western Province Chinese Association’s headquarters in Observatory, and you’ll also be able to meet the Chinese community. Here are 7 reasons you shouldn’t miss it (one is that entry is free).
It’s the Chinese Food Fair 2022, where you’ll be able to eat incredible fare from that continent. Image:@taiping
EAT CHINESE FOOD AS IN CHINA
One of the greatest gifts the Chinese have given the world is their incredible cuisine. However, eating Chinese food outside of China may not be the same as inside that great country. At the fair, you’ll get the chance to eat food cooked by members of Cape Town’s resident Chinese community, so it’ll be the real deal, such as stewed pork belly made with red rice.
Much of the food on sale is made by community members themselves. Image: Western Province Chinese Association (WPCA)
YOU’LL ALSO GET TO TASTE THE FAVOURITES
Also on sale will be Chinese familiars and favourites, from sweet-and-sour pork or chicken and rice, and chicken or vegetarian chow mein to spring rolls and wontons. These will be made by the resident chef at the Western Province Chinese Association, as well as members of the Chinese community. You'll be able to enjoy another favourite there: Bubble Tea.
You’ll be able to discover some new foods, along with the old favourites such as sweet and sour pork. Image: @taiping
WATCH PEKING DUCK BEING CARVED
Peking Duck is one of the most famous, and favourite, of Chinese dishes the world over. It’s usually eaten with rice, wraps or rolls. However, few ever witness the process of how it’s made from scratch. You’ll be able to see that at the festival. Watch as the whole duck is roasted, and pieces are carved for your order. The chefs who’ll be doing this are from Dean Street’s Tai Ping Chinese Restaurant, in Newlands.
The chefs from Tai Ping Chinese Restaurant demonstrate how duck is carved. Image: @taiping
ORDER A CHINESE HAMBURGER
Did you know that Gua Bao are like a Chinese version of a hamburger? It’s a doughey bun filled with meat, such as pork belly, and they’re a big favourite. There’ll be other “fast-food” snacks, such as Chinese spiced sausage on a skewer, dumplings with a variety of fillings, and some vegetarian offerings, too. These foods will be sold by the youth basketball men’s and women’s team.
Gather your food and share at a table. Image: WPCA
STOCK UP ON CHINESE GROCERIES
Ding Ho Asian Foods will be on site, too, which means you’ll be able to stock up on all your Asian groceries, from Chinese sauces like Hoisin and oyster (both halaal), to gluten-free soy sauce. The stall will stock a full range of Asian foods, including noodles and ramen, Thai, Japanese and other seasonings, frozen dumplings, tofu and other products. Great thing is, if you taste something you love, the ingredients will be on hand to buy.
You’ll find all your favourite sauces here, and perhaps some new ones. Image: WPCA
DON’T MISS THE ROUSING DRAGON DANCE
The dragon dance has been an important part of Chinese culture since ancient times. The dragon is believed to bring good luck, and also symbolises power, wisdom and wealth. The dragon itself can be 10s of metres long and the dance is its movement (thanks to the carriers) as it follows a “ball”, to the accompaniment of drums and music.
This spectacular dance requires a great deal of skill and coordination. Image: WPCA
GET TO THE BAKE SALE QUICKLY
This stall is run by the Sunday line-dancing group, who volunteer to bring along homemade confectionery to sell. Say the organisers, “It is a very popular stall and everyone is always excited to see what’s on offer and ‘who baked what’ as certain members of our community are ‘well known’ for making great baked goodies and everyone dashes to obtain these items before they get sold out!”
You’ll find the centre next to the Wild Fig Restaurant in Observatory. Image: WPCA
The Chinese Community Centre consists of a large multi-purpose hall, manor house, courtyard, parking area and lawn, and all are available for hire. The association also offers Chinese lessons, as well as conversational Chinese (Mandarin) at the centre on Saturdays. Entry is free, and so is parking.
WHEN + WHERE TO GO
The Chinese Food Fair is open: Sunday, 25 September; 9am - 3pm
Entry is free, and so is parking.
Find it: Chinese Community Centre | Liesbeek Avenue (next to Wild Fig Restaurant + Protea Hotel) | Observatory | Cape Town
WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO THIS HERITAGE WEEKEND
Explore more about Chinese history and language at this exhibition.
Here’s your guide to celebrating your Heritage weekend.
If you love fresh discoveries, then have a look at these new places and experiences.
For more ideas for the weekend and week ahead, look at our recommended 7 things to do.
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