Beer and ice cream: China-Russia cultural exchanges start with food

2018-06-06 10:32:38CGTN Editor : Gu Liping ECNS App Download
Special: SCOQingdaoSummit

Days ahead of the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down for an exclusive interview with President of China Media Group (CMG) Shen Haixiong at the Kremlin in Moscow. During the interview, Putin talked about international hot-button issues such as the Korean Peninsula tensions, the Belt and Road initiative and Russia’s domestic and foreign policies.

It marked his first exclusive interview with foreign media since being inaugurated for his fourth term as Russian president.

Besides the political issues, one of the most frequently mentioned topics in Shen’s interview with President Putin was food, the specialties and desserts in both Chinese and Russian cities.

In the past years, China and Russia have witnessed frequent high-level exchanges. In 2017 alone, the presidents of the two nations met five times. With each meeting, the culinary cultures of both nations have entered the spotlight and caused a buzz on social media. 

Vodka and sausage

While talking about his impression of his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, President Putin said Xi is the only world leader who has celebrated a birthday with him. He also mentioned the vodka and sausage they had during that celebration, after a full day’s work.

The match is probably one of the most typical Russian dishes, and vodka, the distilled beverage widely used in cocktails and mixed drinks, has had an international following since the 19th century. Vodka tastes better when chilled, so a couple of hours in the freezer before drinking is highly recommended.

Beer and seafood

Speaking of drinks, Qingdao City in east China’s Shandong, which will serve as host city for the upcoming SCO summit, is also world renowned for one of its drinks – Tsingtao Beer. Located on the coast, the city is also famous for the variety and freshness of its seafood.

Sitting on the beautiful coastline while enjoying a bottle of beer, paired with freshly-caught seafood, could be the best form of relaxation for anyone visiting the city.

President Putin told Shen that he loves seafood and beer, and would like very much to have a taste of the match. “I’ll try not to drink too much,” he said.

Russian ice cream goes viral in China

In 2016, while attending the G20 Summit in China’s Hangzhou City, the Russian president said he brought a box of Russian ice cream as a present for President Xi, making the dessert go viral in China.

According to data released by the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, Russia’s export of ice cream to China stood at 2.7 million US dollars in 2017, with a 13 percent increase year on year, and that number is expected to rise further this year.

President Putin said he would again bring a gift for President Xi during their upcoming meeting, but would rather keep it a secret. “I would like to keep it a secret, and I could tell you later in private,” he told Shen.

Green tea from Hangzhou

Before the interview, Shen sent the present he brought all the way from Hangzhou, his hometown, to Moscow for the Russian president: Longjing tea, one of the most famous and high-quality green teas in China.

Along with the tea, the CMG president also sent a special collection of all their interviews with President Putin since 2000. He was gifted an album of paintings of the Russian capital Moscow as a return from President Putin.

The Russian president is expected to pay a state visit to China on June 8-10, and attend the Qingdao SCO Summit. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday that the visit “will be of great significance to the planning of the development of China-Russia relations in the next phase.”


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