An Italian man in Chongqing, China, who loves authentic Chinese spicy food, is dedicated to promoting Chinese chili culture to the world.
Gianluca Luisi came to China on a three-month backpacking trip 13 years ago, during which he toured the country from Beijing all the way down to Nanning, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
“I’m closely connected with China, and the longer I stay here, the more I love it, especially its food,” Luisi said.
After this tour, he resumed his college education in the UK and met his wife – who’s from Sichuan, a province neighboring Chongqing, three years later. This international romance prompted him to pursue a career in China.
In 2011, Luisi was admitted into a postgraduate program of international politics and economics at Peking University. After graduating two years later, he joined the Consulate General of Italy in Chongqing.
“That job was a real mission because it enabled me to let Italian people understand China and Chinese people to understand Italy,” he said. It was during his stay in Chongqing that Luisi developed a love for chili – an ingredient that always appears in Chinese hot pot.
In 2017, he decided to quit his job and run a chili business. “That’s something that I see as my dream for life, and it’s something that is really attracting lots of people like me, foreigners coming from all around the world,” he explained. In the same year, he married his wife.
Luisi believes Chinese cuisine is not just about dishes, but a culture. “I think maybe the cause I chose is endless. As a foreigner who promotes Chinese food abroad, I think I should do what I can for the culture,” he said.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service