The first restaurant of its kind in the UK to be sanctioned by the Chinese state is to open in Epping Forest.

Huaiyang food, which is eaten in China’s Jiangsu Province, will be served at a new eatery in Phoenix Epping Hotel on the A414 in North Weald.

Huaiyang is one of the four traditional Chinese cooking methods, alongside Cantonese, Sichuan and Shandong.

It tends to be slightly sweeter and not as spicy as the others.

Typical dishes include steamed dumplings, wild vegetable steamed buns and tofu noodles.

The restaurant will open later this month and is the only one in the UK to be approved as authentic by state authorities in Jiangsu Province, China.

A feast was held yesterday to showcase Huaiyang cuisine at the hotel, which is owned by Chinese company, PPM International, and promote business links.

Xin Chu, from the company, said: “We’re holding the feast here so you can experience Jiangsu on your doorstep.

“We hope the hotel will become a venue for developing cultural exchange.”

Chairman of the Epping Forest District chamber of Commerce, John Price, said: “This event is a great opportunity for Epping Forest companies to meet and work with businesses in China.

“It is also a great chance for us to promote tourism in the area.”

Essex County Council’s deputy to the cabinet member for economic growth and infrastructure, Sue Lissimore, returned from leading a delegation to Jiangsu province in China last week.

She said: “We are concentrating on China because we know the country and we have a good relationship with businesses and the authorities there.

“It’s important to maintain our relationship with Jiangsu so that we can make sure businesses are not just looking at London but coming to Essex and Epping Forest which is perfectly placed and has a lot of opportunities for tourism.”