Thai Delegation Visiting Ningxia Halal Food Festival

Thai Delegation Visiting Ningxia Halal Food Festival

Some of the participants visiting China Muslim Cultural Muzeum

Held by Ningxia Investment Bureau, the 2nd Ningxia International Halal Food/Muslim Commodities Festival and the Investment & Trade Fair was held from 16th to 19th August, 2007 in Yinchuan city, China. There were more than 140 delegates from Thailand participating in the event, out of which over 40 were from the five Southern Provinces namely, Yala, Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Satun. The delegation was led by the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC) and those participating included governors, entrepreneurs, media and officials from the relevant agencies.

Ningxia is part of the Autonomous Region in China and is the home to five million Muslims. At the same time, more than 80 percent of the population in the three southern most border districts are Muslims. Therefore, according to Director-General of SBPAC Mr. Pranai Suwannarat, the main objective of the delegation was to explore the halal food market in China and to create more distribution channels for Thai halal food.

The opening ceremony/Serving free Thai delicacies and desserts

The dialogue session, mostly Thai delegates

The four days program included tours, opening ceremony, exhibition, dialogue, factory visiting, cultural performances and a grand banquet. We were really treated very well in terms of food, all of the meals were sumptuous and delicious. Compared to the Muslim food in Malaysia and Southern Thailand which were mostly yellow or orange in colours ( curry and spicy) and heavy taste, the Muslim food served in China had much more variety and had a lighter taste. I really enjoyed the Chinese Muslim food very much, especially the different types of lamb dishes. Yummy!!

The exhibition started on 16th after the opening ceremony. Thai halal food and other products had drawn a good attraction at the exhibition. Thai delicacies and desserts were served free during the exhibition and the response was very encouraging.

There was also a dialogue of economy and trade cooperation between Thailand and Ningxia. However, it was more of a speech session rather than interaction. SPBAC Director-General is a humorous guy and good at public speaking. However, since he did not speak according to the script, the Chinese translator had a hard time translating and made a lot of mistakes. The funniest thing was that Southern Thailand was said to be only one hour from Singapore!

I have joined a few Thai delegations visiting China; I find that one of the problems is the communication barrier. Not many Chinese in China speak English and even if they do, not many Thai delegates understand. Having said this, if the relevant authorities took seriously about helping the southerners whose living have been negatively affected by the violence for years and really took the effort to study and practically work towards the objectives, nothing can be a barrier! Yeah!

Buffet dinner/Cultural performance

Hui (Muslim) girl singing/My new Korean friends at the banquet

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