BEIJING, 8 February (BelTA - Xinhua). - There's nothing like munching on Olympic-themed foods while watching global athletes go for the gold.
Many restaurants in Beijing, the host city of the ongoing Winter Olympic Games, have offered dishes in the shapes of sports and symbols as a novel way to celebrate the event.
The famed roast duck is a hot gold medal contender for the most popular food in Beijing. To add some Olympic flair to its main course, Quanjude, a century-old roast duck restaurant, stacked their sliced yellow duck meat into a torch shape on the plate. For customers who have a sweet tooth, it made a "snow mountain" of lily, yams and cream, with two skier-shaped chocolate bars on it.
"Good sport-themed dishes should be realistic in shape and give customers associations, which tests the skills and ingenuity of chefs," said Zhang Gang, deputy head chef of the restaurant's Olympic Village branch. He and his colleagues have spent six months developing these dishes before the opening of the Games.
Also, a time-honored brand restaurant, Tongheju, rolled out five Olympics-inspired recipes, including the Olympic Ring Pancakes. Instead of using food coloring, the chefs added blueberry powder, sugar beet, squid ink, and spinach powder for the blue, red, black and green rings. The pastry has become a colorful snack that is healthy enough for a real athlete to enjoy.
Other restaurants soon joined the trend with their own offerings, shaped like ice hockey pucks to curling stones, from the Olympics mascots to Games venues, attracting wide media coverage.
"The dishes are so cute, and I wanna try cooking them at home," a netizen remarked on Dazhongdianping, a Chinese customer review app.
The Olympic fever has already inspired amateur chefs who flocked to social media to post pictures of their homemade Olympics dishes, such as Olympic rings made of fresh fruit and the panda mascot-shaped "tangyuan," a type of sweet rice dumplings usually eaten on the Lantern Festival.
A report released by the data center of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism predicts that this winter will see 305 million visits to ice-and-snow leisure and tourist services, with revenue expected to exceed 320 billion yuan (about 50.3 billion U.S. dollars).
Bai Yufei, a professor at the Beijing Sport University, said that ice-and-snow tourist services have energized the tourism market during winter, a traditional off-season, as well as benefitting the homestay and catering industries.
The industry around ice-and-snow activities in China is in its prime, Bai said, adding that it will become a new driver of domestic demand and add to China's interactions with the rest of the world.