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Ocean Park and Department of Health Promote Joyful Fruit Month 2014 Creative Fruit Dishes Help Lower Risk of Chronic Diseases

2014-03-27

Ocean Park, collaborating with the Department of Health (DH) again, today hosted the Joyful Fruit Month 2014 Kick-off Ceremony. The event was presided by Dr. Ko Wing-man, Secretary for Food and Health, Dr. Chan Hon-yee, Constance, Director of Health, Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park, and Mr. Joseph Leung, Executive Director of Revenue of Ocean Park. The Department of Health has designated April as Joyful Fruit Month to encourage students and the general public to develop the habit of eating more fruit daily for improving health and lowering the risk of developing various chronic diseases.

Dr. Ko said, “According to studies conducted by the Department of Health in recent years, over 50% of Hong Kong adults do not know that they should eat at least 2 servings of fruit every day, and over 80% do not consume a sufficient amount of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis.” To encourage the public to eat more fruit, the Department has designated the whole month of April as Joyful Fruit Month since 2013, encouraging schools and the public to promote eating fruit.

“Results of DH’s fruit promotion work at schools are encouraging. The number of participating schools in the Joyful Fruit Month event has increased from over 360 primary schools in the beginning to over 1,280 schools comprising pre-primary institutions, primary and secondary schools with involvement of more than 500,000 students in this school year,” Dr. Ko added. The Department of Health also joins hands with Ocean Park again to promote fruit eating in the community.

Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Ocean Park, said, “Ocean Park not only is committed to presenting unique edutaining experiences, but also advocating for healthy eating habits through different channels. Joining hands with the Department of Health to promote Joyful Fruit Month again, we have collaborated with Chef Christian Yang to present in April a series of creative fruit dishes by referencing the ‘3 low, 1 high’ principle – that is, low fat, low salt, low sugar and high fibre. Inspired by fruit and vegetable dishes from various international cuisines, the dishes will definitely appeal to kids and adults alike. During the month of April, we will also distribute information cards on fruit and vegetables within the Park and present educational displays at various attractions about the health benefits of fruit and vegetables, as well as interesting facts about fruit-loving animals. We have also printed limited-edition admission tickets themed on Joyful Fruit Month as a reminder to our guests to eat more fruit.”

This year’s Joyful Fruit Month 2014 Kick-off Ceremony highlighted the benefits of four nutrients that can be found in fruit, including dietary fibre, which helps stabilise blood sugar and prevent constipation; potassium, which helps stabilise blood pressure; vitamin C, which promotes growth and repair of cells and aids wound healing; and ß-carotene, which helps maintain good eyesight. The initiative aims to inspire more people to pay attention to eating fruit every day as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Like humans, Ocean Park’s animal ambassadors need health-promoting nutrients. Ocean Park thus includes fruit into their diets based on their preferences and health condition so that they can maintain good health. For instance, the giant pandas favour sweet and juicy Fuji apples, which are rich in dietary fibre. Given that they also consume 10kg of bamboo shoots and leaves every day, they can be assured of sufficient intake of dietary fibre to promote bowel movement and prevent constipation. Toco Toucans, on the other hand, like pumpkins because of their soft texture. Pumpkins contain a lot of ß-carotene, which helps maintain good eyesight. Despite their slow gait, turtles actually possess acute olfactory and visual senses. Always drawn to bright colours, they prefer papayas, rich in vitamin C, which promotes cell growth and repair.

At the kick-off ceremony, Dr. Ko and Zeman both put on the chef’s hat to demonstrate how to prepare Shrimp Balls stuffed with Mandarin Orange, a Chaozhou dish modified by Dr. Ko, a fan of Chaozhou cuisine. The chef duo first stuffed diced mandarin oranges inside shrimp balls, which are made with sustainably sourced fresh shrimps from Australia and without any fatty minced pork added. Instead of deep frying the shrimp balls, as per the traditional recipe, they cooked them by steaming. A sauce made from freshly squeezed orange juice was finally added to complete this delicious and healthy dish.

To promote Joyful Fruit Month, Ocean Park invited Chef Christian Yang to design a number of creative dishes that are healthier than their traditional counterparts for the Park’s various restaurants, taking inspiration from different international cuisines. Guests can visit Neptune’s Restaurant and Tuxedos Restaurant to enjoy the Joyful Fruit Month Set Menu, with Avocado and Grapefruit Salad and Chicken Consommé as appetizers. The main course is Bourguignon Style Chicken with Pears and Tagliatelle, featuring different fruit and vegetables as well as cubes of chicken meat prepared in a traditional French style. For dessert, the Neptune’s Restaurant offers Frozen Yogurt Fruit Pop, made by mixing fresh fruit with yogurt and honey, whilst Tuxedo’s Restaurant provides Fresh Fruit with Strawberry Cheesecake Dip.

Guests can also choose from a variety of individual dishes such as American-style Pomegranate Baby Back Ribs with Baked Sweet Potato Salad, great for sharing among family members. Instead of using tomato sauce or barbecue sauce, the slow-cooked ribs are dressed with a unique sauce made from guava puree and apple sauce. Another menu option is Grilled Lobster with Szechuan Citrus Dressing and Grilled Fennel, featuring sustainably sourced lobsters and a Szechuan chilli sauce with orange juice and grapefruit juice added for a more nuanced flavour. Other dishes featuring fresh fruit include: Thai Flavoured Pork Burger with Strawberries and Nectarines and Vietnamese BBQ Pork Patties (Bun Nem Nuong) with Spicy Blueberry Sauce and Cold Vermicelli.

As for desserts, Chef Christian recommends Chocolate Blueberry Cookies, made healthier by using blueberry-spinach puree to replace butter, which has a relatively high fat content. The use of unsweetened cocoa powder also makes these kids’ favourite extra healthy. Another refreshing choice is Cereal Tart with Yogurt and Persimmon, garnished with crushed pistachios. The crust is made with unsweetened cornflakes and pecans, with persimmon and yogurt as filling. Other healthier desserts made using relatively less sugar and fat include: Mango-Vitasoy Crème Brulee with Apple Rosette and Fresh Fruit with Strawberry Cheesecake Dip.