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Slowing it down in Asia

Fans of the Slow Food movement are trying to teach Asia's busy eaters to take things more sedately.

by: Reuters: Sophie Hardach | 24 Apr 2008

From steaming bowls of noodle soup to fiery curries served at roadside stalls, Asia is known for its superb fast food.

But fans of the Slow Food movement are trying to slow down the eating habits of Asia

Founded in northern Italy and France in response to the spread of fast-food chains, Slow Food promotes local produce through tastings, farm visits and, of course, long and leisurely lunches. Its logo is a little snail.

The idea has taken a bit longer to get to Asia, and gourmets here say the reason is simple. Good food is greatly appreciated in most Asian cultures; slowness is not.

"Enslaved by speed"
"The word slow means it's not efficient in whatever Asian concept," said Wilson Kwok, the owner of a French restaurant in Hong Kong and founder of the city's Slow Food chapter.

With the grown-ups stubbornly sticking to their love of fast food, Kwok, who trained as a chef in Paris, is now focusing on children. His Slow Summer program offers cooking lessons and visits to organic farms to children aged around 9-12.

In Japan, the 1,800-strong movement is fighting the advance of instant "ramen" noodles and rice boxes sold at convenience stores, which are increasingly replacing home-cooked food.

What unites Slow Food fans around the world is their love of culinary diversity and fear that global fast-food chains are eroding local food culture.

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