The role of gastrodiplomacy and tourism in preserving culinary traditions – Manila Bulletin


The Philippines has a rich culinary heritage that deserves to be preserved and recognized internationally.

However, today many aspects of Filipino cuisine and culture are disappearing and are no longer practiced or eaten.

In order to conserve them, identifying and understanding the food and culture is vital. How can we accomplish this? One is to communicate with culture bearers or those who practice and transmit cultural values, traits and knowledge within their communities.

Image by Nhick Ramiro Pacis from Pixabay.

More important than just getting to know Filipino cuisine and the food culture of various regions, it needs to be promoted inside and outside the country.

Gastronomy and tourism are two powerful tools that can help protect and promote Filipino food and culinary traditions.

That’s what Clang Garcia, a Filipino culinary heritage explorer and TV host, talked about in the second episode of the KainCon webinar series, which is part of the Filipino Food Month (FFM) festivities.

Initiatives from neighboring countries

During the webinar, Garcia shared an example of how Thailand launched a food brand for its food industry called “Thailand: World Cuisine”.

“It’s meant to introduce Thai cuisines to the world, but more than that, they’ve pushed food branding to create demand for their agricultural products,” Garcia said.

Part of Thailand’s efforts to promote the Thai food industry is allocating budget to international businesses.

“If you are an entrepreneur and want to open a Thai restaurant in different parts of the world, they will finance you, as long as you comply with the uniformity of ingredients, hygiene, precautions, appearance and brand image,” says Garcia. .

These restaurants are becoming a way for foreign entrepreneurs and customers to learn about Thai cuisine without having to travel to its origin.

In some ways, this piques diners’ interest in exploring not only Thai cuisine, but the country’s destinations and culture as well.

This is where tourism promotion comes in.

Thailand has millions of international travelers, and according to Garcia, most of them go there for the food and the culture. Traveling is not complete without souvenirs, which is why the Thai government has also made attractively packaged goods available to tourists.

“That’s the beauty of gastronomy, diplomacy and tourism. If you have the government with you, working side by side with you, then it becomes a very powerful and organized campaign. »

Budget, government alignment and private sectors are three necessities for the implementation of such gastrodiplomacy campaigns.

Following Thailand’s example, South Korea has also launched the “Kimchi Diplomacy” campaign to promote its cuisine and culture. They started to produce and publicize Korean movies, stars, music, etc.

“They just have to follow the same example. Suddenly, Korean restaurants dominate different parts of the world.

Seeing the efforts of these two countries, Garcia explained: “If you present the traditions [to the world], there will be a sense of appreciation. If you start sponsoring international food and travel shows, it will spark the curiosity of viewers. They would like to go where you presented kimchi and learn the process, and meet the people they see on the screen.

Embrace Filipino Culinary Heritage

In our case, events like Filipino Food Month give every region of the Philippines a reason to celebrate our culinary heritage, which should grow over time, says Garcia.

When it comes to preserving and promoting Filipino cuisine and culture through food and tourism, Garcia remains optimistic, adding, “We can do a lot more collectively.”

Traveling locally and supporting local businesses is one way we are helping, especially in the midst of the outbreak.

As a local tourism champion, Garcia says, “Sustainability has never been more relevant than now. We need to take care of our environment [and of our heritage] because it defines us as a people and as a destination. If we lose that, who are we going to be? Who are you as a Filipino?

The KainCon or Kain Conference webinar series covers a variety of topics and features local food industry champions. It will go live every Tuesday and Thursday from April 7 to 28, 2022.

KainCon also includes cooking parties and food films that aim to raise awareness about preserving Filipino heritage and traditions. This event is led by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM) and the Slow Food Youth Network Philippines (SFYN).

Watch KainCon Session 2 here

For more information about the event, visit KainCon or Filipino Food Month on Facebook

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