The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London (London ETO) displayed Hong Kong's cultural heritage with the launch of the Hong Kong's Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival in London on May 15 (London time). The festival formed part of London ETO's programme to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The Hong Kong's Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival aimed to raise awareness of Hong Kong's culture via a series of events in London. The first event, held on May 15, was an international symposium examining Chinese heritage and food culture in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, held at the Crowne Plaza London-The City.

Organised by Ming-Ai (London) Institute with the support of London ETO, the symposium featured a keynote speech by the Curator of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, Mr. Chau Hing Wah and a forum on British Chinese food. The panel for the forum included internationally renowned Chinese chefs Mr. Ken Hom and Ms. Huang Ching-He, plus the Director of Good Earth Group, Mr. Andy Kwok, as well as owner and Chef at A. Wong restaurant, Mr. Andrew Wong. The event also featured a demonstration of the making of rice dumplings as featured in the Dragon Boat Festival.

Speaking at a reception to launch the Hong Kong's Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival, the Director-General of the London ETO, Ms Priscilla To said, "It is fitting that this festival of Intangible Cultural Heritage is part of our programme of events to mark the 20th Anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the Motherland in 1997. Because anniversaries are not just about looking back, to celebrate what happened, but also looking forward to what will come - and what we will become - in the future. Hong Kong has taken very seriously its role in keeping faith with its traditions, launching the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, and we have already published an inventory list of 480 items, covering areas such as performing arts, rituals, festive events and traditional craftsmanship, representing the efforts of different local communities in passing on their customs and traditions."

"Over the past 20 years, under the successful implementation of the 'one country, two systems' principle, Hong Kong has continued to thrive as Asia's world city. We maintain our unique characteristics of blending the East with the West – and we do it in our Hong Kong recipes."

Other events in the Hong Kong's Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival include: Mid-Autumn Tranquillity (September 21), which includes a range of activities including moon-cake making, music, arts, etc., that focus on the theme of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The Mid-Autumn Tranquillity event was held on September 21st in Crowne Plaza London - the City. Organised by Ming-Ai (London) Institute, with the support of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London, the celebration was held to commemorate the approaching Mid-Autumn Festival. The evening’s Mooncake-making demonstration was a major highlight. For this special occasion, two Michelin Star awarded chefs from Hong Kong’s Tim Ho Wan Restaurant, Chef Mak and Chef Leung, who have dedicated their careers to delivering only the highest quality dim sum, were happy to share their cooking and expertise with the evening’s guests. Later, in a hands-on Dim Sum Workshop, lucky guests were invited to join chefs Mak and Leung in making the same springrolls, siu mai and wontons for themselves to take home. In addition, food teachers who have been taken to Hong Kong for a culinary and cultural adventure by Ming-Ai (London) Institute and Lee Kum Kee Europe Ltd, shared their experiences of Hong Kong after the screening of a video depicting trip highlights. Other elements of intangible cultural heritage included the Calligraphy corner, Hong Kong waffle vendor, Lion Dance performance, and the screening of the Hong Kong award-winning film “In the Mood for Love”.

MC Andy Kwok, Director of Ming-Ai (London) Institute, announced the commencement of the evening and introduced the programme. In his words, “Food is the most accessible, but also the most easily misrepresented intangible, with the likes of cheap takeaway food and supermarket representations. Our aim is to educate that Chinese food is not all about sweet and sour chicken, most ordinary Chinese people do not eat like that at home.” Maria Chong, Managing Director of Lee Kum Kee Europe Ltd, reinforced this statement by emphasizing, “Through food, we are all connected. For historical and geographical reasons Hong Kong offers a unique yet diverse gastronomy”.

Next up in the Hong Kong Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival Series is the free exhibition (November 15-25) - a journey of discovery highlighting many aspects of Hong Kong Intangible Cultural Heritage.

To kick off the exhibition, Hong Kong milk tea Master Mok Pui Ling and paper crafting Master Kenneth Mo Cheuk-kei flew from Hong Kong to lead workshops on their respective trades for local students and members the public. The second week saw free public dim sum (siu mai, cha sui bao, and ha gao) making workshops hosted and taught by chefs from Chinatown's Dumplings' Legend and Golden Dragon restaurants. The exhibition also featured a special lecture on Hong Kong's Intangible Cultural Heritage by the exhibition's co-curator, Hing Wah Chau, and ended with a talk on Cantonese Opera and powerful performance by Councilman Thomas Chan DL and Hanifah Law followed by a delicious dim sum dinner at Golden Dragon.

Throughout the exhibition, an exciting competition was held to celebrate both Hong Kong and British intangible cultural heritage through photos taken in the UK that recall memories of Hong Kong. The competition ran from 21 Sep to 8 Nov 2017, the judge panel selected 10 best images for the public to vote for at the Hong Kong Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition between 16 to 25 Nov 2017. 

The symposium and launch reception was organised by Ming-Ai (London) Institute, supported by London ETO the Hong Kong's Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, Lee Kum Kee (Europe), Crowne Plaza-The City, and British Airways.

The Mid-Autumn Tranquillity was sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and supported by Hong Kong Tourism Board, Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Crowne Plaza London - the City, Lee Kum Kee Europe Ltd, British Airways, The Good Earth and NosTEAgia.

The exhibition was supported by the Hong Kong’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, Lee Kum Kee (Europe) Ltd., Crowne Plaza London – the City, British Airways, The Good Earth, and Dumpling's Legend.