Established as a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China on July 1st., 1997, Hong Kong is well represented in Brussels, by the “Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office”.
Since Hong Kong has 159 licensed banks (34 incorporated in the European Union), this Region of China is one of the world’s major financial centres. So, the Hong Kong Government department like to promote the many advantages they give for business with overseas enterprises.
To celebrate the friendship between Hong Kong and Belgium, on October 13th., the “Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office” of Brussels organized two nice events in te European Capital.
First our “Manneken-Pis” was dressed, for the second time in his history, with his Hong Kong’s Zhongshan Suit, that the City of Brussels received, for him, in 2012. Than, at the great satisfaction of eveyone, he peeded some beer, which was served to the Hong Kong guests and other bystanders, before reverting his beer stream to simple water. This fun ceremony was held in the presence of Mr. Gregory So, the Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.
Later on, in the evening, the Belgian beers flowed again, but in a so different atmosphere, indeed, in the prestigious Egmont Palace’s Reception Room, where the “Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office”.invited its 130 VIP guests, from the Belgian Government, the European Union Institutions, the diplomatic corps and the business sector.
Right after being welcomed by a flute of champagne, in presence of the Chinese Ambassador Qu Xing, the guests were invited for a great “Gala Diner” to celebrate the friendship between Hong Kong and Belgium, … reading on the menu card: “When Hong Kong delights meet Belgian wonders”. In fect, proving that Hong Kong is a gourmet destination, the organizers had the imagination to combine the Hong Kong-style Cantonese haute cuisine with some of the more uncommon Belgian beers.
In his speech, Mr. Gregory So recounted the high-level exchanges that had taken between the two places in recent years, saying that Hong Kong and Belgium enjoyed close links, still hoping to can develop more creativity’s exchanges between both partners.
Right after these first words, Ms. Shirley Lam, Special Representative for “Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Union”, explained that one of the things that people in Hong Kong and Belgium share is a passion for good food, saying: “We could think of no better way to celebrate our close ties with Belgium than a fine Hong Kong-style Cantonese banquet, prepared by the skilled chefs and students of our “Chinese Culinary Institute” (“C.C.I.”), in Hong Kong, with the support of a Hong Kong’s restaurant installed in the Antwerp’s suburb”.
Having worked closely with the “C.C.I.” to prepare the menu, Mr. Eric Boschman, renowned Belgian sommelier and media personality, explained how he chooised the 8 different beers, being served, in beer-testing glasses, with the delicious Hong Kong-style Cantonese specialities. According to him, this was was the first time that Belgian beers had been served exclusively at an official dinner in Belgium.
Our Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Jambon, underlined Hong Kong’s importance as a key channel for investment flows between Belgium and Mainland China, while European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Phil Hogan, commended the excellent co-operation between the European Union and Hong Kong.
Then came the time to listen to a 30 minutes’ Chamber Music Performance, gived by the “RTHK Quarted”, with three violins and one double bass, playing “Two Pieces of Cantonese music” (a world premiere), one traditional Grand Prelude, the “Quartettensatz Nr. 12” of Frans Schubert, and one ethnic music of the Yao people, this last one being plaid with a “sheng”, one ancient Chinese instrument (its existence would start in the 15t. Century B.C.), performed in the Egmont Palace by Sze-Wang Loo, who has been active in some world-famous music festival, winning different awards.
Highlight of this “Gala Dinner”, one singing performance was gived by Yuen Siu Fai, one Cantonese Opera Master, who is leading the “Spring Glory Cantonese Opera” during its European tour.
And to continue their gastronomic journey after the event, all guests received, as a souvenir, a pair of Hong Kong’s chopsticks and a commemorative booklet, produced by the “C.C.I.”: “The Taste of Old Hong Kong”, detailing the gastronomic history and culture of Hong Kong, to symbolise the close partnership of Hong Kong and Belgium.