GUANGZHOU, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Turkish businessman Neville Caesar has just had a busy Spring Festival holiday at his restaurant in a bustling business area in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
During the holiday, which was celebrated from Jan. 21 to 27 this year, Caesar's MADO Turkish restaurant received over 10,000 visitors, up more than 20 percent from the same period last year.
"China's COVID response adjustment has had a very positive impact on the food business. We can see more customers in the restaurant enjoying our dishes," Caesar said.
Chinese people, especially the younger generation, are more willing to try foreign cuisines and love to explore various tasty foods, he added.
Mo Ruirui, who runs a bar nearby, is a regular at MADO. Ordering a cup of Turkish coffee and sitting leisurely for an afternoon has become an important part of her Spring Festival holiday each year.
"Except when I was on business trips, I have come to this restaurant three or four times a week since it opened in 2017," Mo said, adding that she has tasted almost all the dishes at MADO and hopes to visit Türkiye this year for a more authentic cultural experience.
Though now a successful restaurant owner, Caesar didn't step into the food business until 2007, when he joined his brother's Sultan Restaurant located in the same area as MADO.
Guangzhou, as an important gateway to China for the world, not only has the world-famous Canton Fair, but also various exhibitions throughout the year. With increasing international exchanges and cooperation in recent years, more and more customers have been brought to us, Caesar said.
"The Sultan Restaurant was first opened to offer Turkish visitors in Guangzhou a place to taste authentic Turkish flavors, but over time it has gained popularity among other foreigners from many countries, as well as among local Chinese people," he said.
With the restaurant's growing popularity, Caesar's business career in China has also been growing. The Sultan Restaurant has expanded to other cities in China, including Urumqi and Chengdu. "We plan to open more branches in other cities," Caesar noted.
To expand his food business in the Chinese market further, Caesar introduced Türkiye's famous ice cream and pastry brand MADO to China and opened a flagship store in Guangzhou in 2017. He now operates five branches in China.
Under the Belt and Road Initiative, China and Türkiye have in recent years undertaken closer economic and trade cooperation, and more Turkish products have appeared on the tables of Chinese consumers.
"We plan to open MADO branches in Shenzhen and Shanghai this year. With our business expanded to more cities, we can help more people sample authentic Turkish flavors," Caesar said.