Sunday, 14 July 2013

Beijing - Cooking class with a sustainable and ethical business

The class setup

Another company I had the pleasure to discover and work with in Beijing was Hias Gourmet.
I took one of their dumpling classes.

In order to respect my classmate's privacy (as well as mine ;-) ) all faces have been blurred / pixelised

All studious - A new way of mashing fish
Hias offers cookery classes : Regional Flavours, Traditional Dumplings, Dim-Sum, Noodles, Peking Duck, Fruit & Vegetable carving as well as cooking classes.

They also offer food-tours : Breakfast Farmers Market, Hutong Eats, Beijing Night Market and a Tea Tasting Safari.

All tours and classes can be custom made.

Hias also hosts a series of corporate events and team-building.

And finally, they have many connections with local caterers and restaurant. If you need to feed a group, Hias will be the perfect interlocutor to get you a deal and make sure your event runs smoothly

Chef showing how to scrape the fish to turn into smooth
and fine mash

About your experience with Hias :

The main goal of Hias to his customer is to share Chinese culture through food.

Sharing and preserving the culinary heritage is to preserve the cultural heritage of China.

Their excursion, walks, visits and talks are not only about food but about showing China's sights and culture … as well as sharing some fab food ;-)

Having difficulties using Asian cleaver.
I gave up and reverted to tried and trusted technique ;-)

Now to my favourite point about Hias :

Hias is an ethical and sustainable business.
Their resources go towards research projects on Asian culinary heritage and contributes towards social causes : education, empowerment, public health and the environment.

And as far as food ethics are concerned : Hias only works with small business who adhere to the rules of Slow Food or traditional farming !!!

Preparing the dough for the dumplings

Economic sustainability with Hias :

Hias is there to re-enforce the link between tourism and small local business.
However, HIAS does not support commission tourist restaurants and store.

The reason Hias receives a discount is by promoting the word-of-mouth advertising. The discount is passed on to the customer.

My first dumplings

Social sustainability :

For the customer : Allow visitors to see behind the shop's front and establish an understanding of the destination through food

For the business : allow small local businesses to realise their uniqueness and foster a sense of place, history and culture

The batch of dumplings is being taken away
by Chef to be cooked

Environmental sustainability :

All food is selected on seasonability and locally produced.

Where can you contact Hias for your next trip ?
Website :
Facebook :
Email :


  1. Amazing, I have also taken on one of Hias' cooking classes and worked with them on an event in Beijing. I completely concur with our Hussy: they stand out. If memory serves the company is managed by Adlyn Adam-Teoh who is a great person to work with. China is sometimes difficult for foreigners to navigate, she made everything easy. My experience was that you could trust Adlyn's word (which was not the case with some of the other companies we interacted with). She organized dinners, cooking tours and food walks for a rather large group and everyone had nothing but praises. The cooking class was a memorable experience -- the chef could do 10 dumplings in the time it took me to do one, while at the same time speaking softly in Chinese. The class was held in a small one-story house in residential district. A translator was also on hand to provide English explanations and to take pictures of cooking experience.

    Thanks for the blogpost, it makes me yearn to return to Beijing soon.

    1. Thank you for sharing your views.
      Hias really is an amazing company, and so is Adlyn !

  2. Looks like a fascinating experience

    1. Sure was.
      The whole Beijing trip was amazing. But the cookery class one of the highlights.

  3. This sounds like a really interesting experience. I love learning new cooking skills.

  4. I wish we had known about this when we went to Beijing, I would love to learn how to make dumplings. One of my to-do list is to learn how to cook proper Sichuan food after an amazing trip to Chengdu.

    1. If you ever go back to China, Hias does have partners across the country.
      They should be able to direct you to the right people/schools in other cities.

      As far as Sichuan food is concerned, do you have a copy of Fushsia Dunlop's Sichuan Cookery ?
      She is the Times' Asian food correspondent but has studied cooking at a professional school in China.
      The preface and introduction are a great insight into Sichuan food culture … and her experience as the only non-Chinese at the school ;-)
      Each recipes should be authentic and introduced by information on the dish.

      The book doesn't have pictures for each dish but her writing is worth a thousand pictures.

  5. Looks great, would love to travel out to Asia :)

  6. I'd love to go to a cooking class once :)

  7. Wow, what a great experience! I would love to do something like this. Great pics, too.

    1. Thank you Emily.

      Emily's fab blog:

  8. Those dumplings looks really great considering they're your first ;) I always admire people who pushes for sustainability before or regardless of personal interest. Cheers for Hias Gourmet.

    1. Thank you ;-)

      Great candles at DCHomewares

      And couldn't agree more with you regarding sustainability.