With a population of just 640,000 Macao is one of the smaller book markets in Asia, but with the benefit of two strong languages, Portuguese and Chinese, it presents interesting possibilities for publishers both at home and abroad.

This year some 20 countries are participating at the Macao International Book Fair (July 4-7) and gourmets among us will be pleased to hear the gastronomy  element that has recently come to be a big part of book fairs worldwide, is strong in Macao, as this report from the Macao Cultural Affairs Bureau shows.

Covering an area of 3,000 square metres, the exhibition hall is divided into six exhibition areas, including “Exhibition Area of Food and Wine Books”, “Exhibition Area of Chinese Publications”, “International Exhibition Area”, “Reading Experience Area”, “Chef’s Kitchen” and “Salon Area”. The “Exhibition Area of Food and Wine Books” showcases the award-winning books of the “24th Gourmand World Cookbook Awards” and other excellent food and wine books published in countries and regions around the world; the “Exhibition Area of Chinese Publications” mainly shows lifestyle books published in Chinese-speaking regions, featuring “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” and “Macao Pavilion”; the “Chef’s Kitchen” features a scene in the kitchen where Chinese and foreign master chefs offer live cooking demonstrations, allowing the audience to learn, watch and taste delicacies prepared by master chefs; the “International Exhibition Area” mainly displays overseas food and wine publications by publishers from Portuguese-speaking countries and world-famous cookbook publishers; the “Reading Experience Area” gathers gastronomy books and related cultural products; seminars and exchange sessions will be held in the “Salon Area”.

At which point you might be asking, if this a book fair or just a cook-book fair?
The Cultural Affairs Bureau assure us there’s more than just cookery on the agenda.
The Macao International Book Fair is being held,

in order to enhance the cultural exchange and collaboration between China and Portuguese-speaking countries to an unprecedented level.
The Macao International Book Fair (is) one of the highlights of the  “2nd Encounter in Macao—Arts and Cultural Festival between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries”, and is…

At this point its back to all things food.

…dedicated to the theme “A Taste of Macao”, and features a variety of diversified activities, including the “24th Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Ceremony”, seminars on publishing, exchange sessions, book launches and writers’ dialogues. Meanwhile, invited master chefs at home and abroad will offer live cooking demonstrations at the “Chef’s Kitchen”, allowing the audience to learn and experience culinary specialties.

Wait, there’s more.

The “24th Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Ceremony” is one of the highlights of the book fair. Founded in 1995 by famous food and wine book collector Mr. Edouard Cointreau, the “Gourmand World Cookbook Awards” are famed as the “Oscars” of the world of food and wine, drawing the attention of culinary and publishing sectors from around the world.
In addition, more than 10 famous chefs and writers are invited to the book fair, including world-famous chef Chakall; Western cuisine chef in the Great Hall of the People, Xu Long; famous French chef Cyril Rouquet; nonlocal writers Chua Lam, Ge Liang, Liu Zhenyun and Craig Au Yeung Ying Chai and local writers Tong Mui Siu, Yao Feng and Cecília Jorge, among others.

But honestly, it’s not all about cooking. It’s about promoting,

in-depth cooperation in the areas of copyright trading and publishing among Portuguese-speaking countries, countries along the “Belt and Road” route and China, with the ultimate goal to invigorate the book publishing market and stimulate cultural development in Macao.

See! A whole paragraph with no mention of cooking.
Not so the next paragraph, but the cookery mentions are minimal, and just maybe we can get at the wider issue of the Macao book market after all.

An array of events, including talks delivered by writers, book launches, seminars on publishing cultures of China and Portuguese-speaking countries, as well as cookbook publisher salons, will be held during the book fair. The Cultural Affairs Bureau hopes to use books as a medium to gather friends from around the world and expects that the “Macao International Book Fair 2019” will showcase the city’s rich and varied food and wine culture with its vigorous charm as a “Creative City of Gastronomy”, in order to highlight the cultural characteristics of Macao, where Chinese and Western cultures blend together harmoniously.

Read more on the Macao government website.