Special And Famous Chinese Cuisine.
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Imperial Court Cuisine 宫廷菜
Imperial Court Cuisine （or Imitation Imperial Cuisine）, as the name suggests consists of dishes once prepared exclusively for the Imperial family. Every dynasty in Chinese history had an “imperial kitchen” to prepare meals for the emperor and his consorts. The dishes were not only meticulously prepared, but also included rare and expensive foodstuffs, such as bear’s paws, birds’ nests, shark’s fins, venison, sea cucumbers, duck webs and other delicacies of land and sea. The Imperial Cuisine of today is based on the dishes prepared by the Qing Imperial kitchens but further developed ever since. The Imperial refreshments are especially palatable and unique in flavour, such as wandouhuang(pea flour cake), yundoujuan (kidney bean roll), xiaowotou (small steamed corn bread) and roumoshaobing(sesameseed cake with meat fillings).
Beijing Roast Duck 北京烤鸭
Beijing Roast Duck has the reputation of being the most delicious food Beijing has to offer. A Beijing duck dinner is usually a fixed item on any Beijing tour itinerary. The earliest Beijing Roast Duck Restaurant was the Bianyifang(Shop of Convenience and Pleasure or Cheap Restaurant ), founded more than four hundred years ago, in Rice Market hutong in the old Vegetable Market area in the southern city of Beijing. The place that offers the best Beijing Roast Duck is the Quanjude (Complete Collection of Virtues/Repository of All Virtues) Restaurant, opened in 1864 outside Qianmen (Front Gate). It has outlets at Hepingmen and Wangfujing. The founder of the Quanjude was Yang Quanren. It is said that he came to Beijing from nearby Jixian County, Hebei Province in 1835 and stsrted up a duck and chicken stall (consisting of a plank across two stools) in the Meat Market outside Qianmen. At Quanjude, ducks are immersed in condiments unique to the Restaurant and are roasted directly over flames stoked by fruit tree wood. The best Roast duck is date-red, shining with oil, but with a crisp skin and tender meat. The chef then cuts the meat into thin pieces, each having a piece of skin. Then the meat is served with very thin pancakes, Chinese onions and special sauce. The way to savour it is to coat the thin pancake with sauce, slap on a few pieces of meat and roll up the pancake. Chopsticks are optional: it is much easier just to grab the thing with your bare hands.
Since the establishment of Quanjude on July 26,1864 to July 26,2004 within 140 years, a total of 115 million Beijing Roast ducks were sold. Quanjude was rewarded China’s 500 most valuable commodity brand, ranking 56 at the World Convention Commodity Brand sponsored by the World Commodity Brand Laboratory and the World Economics Forum on June 28,2004, and the assessment value reached 8,458 billion yuan (US＄1.023 billion), an increase of over 30 times than that of 1994.
Mongolian Hot Pot 涮羊肉
Mutton Hot Pot (or Rinsed Mutton) is a Muslim specialty. All the year round, the family, relatives, and friends would gather round the fire and eat in intimacy and warmth. It has now spread to people of all nationalities including foreign diplomats and overseas visitors in Beijing and become one of the capital’s most celebrated dishes. The hot pot used to be a brass pot with a wide outer rim around a chimney and a charcoal-burner underneath. Nowadays electric pot is used. Water containing mushrooms and dried shrimps is boiled in a pot. Thin pieces of raw mutton are cooked with chopsticks in a self-service pot of boiling water. Diners dip thin slices of raw mutton into the water, where the meat cooks rapidly. The cooked slices are then dipped into a sauce. This cooking method ensures that the meat is both tender, and tasty. Cabbage, noodles and pea starch noodles are gradually added to the boiling water, which becomes a very rich broth drunk at the end of the meal.
The piquant sauce is individually mixed by each diner from an array of more than a dozen condiments such as sesame paste, Shaoxing (in Zhejing Province) rice wine, fermented (preserved) bean curd, salted Chinese chive-flowers, soy sauce, chilli paste, shrimp paste, rice vinegar, chopped green onion and minced coriander. Only raw meat, vegetables and seasoning are provided, and the diners cook and serve themselves. This makes for a rather active meal. Rinsed Mutton has a history of more than a thousand years, when beef, chicken, fish, shrimp, pork were also cooked in hotpots. Covering an area of 1,200 square metres, the new Donglaishun (Success Comes from the East) Restaurant can serve 350 customers at one time. Because of its reputation, the Restaurant has established 62 chain restaurants in 19 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities throughout China.
Tan Cuisine 谭家菜
Tan Cuisine originated in the household of Tan Zongjun, a bureaucrat of the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Tan Zongjun was born into a famed scholar’s family in Guangding Province and worked his way up to a senior official at a young age. He had been appointed as sheriff in many places and finally got a position in Beijing during his 30s. Since Tan was a cooking enthusiast, he looked to perfect his skills and learn about local dishes wherever he went. After moving to Beijing, he was even more intrigued by food. He made efforts to fuse Beijing cooking with cooking styles of other places, especially of his hometown in Guangdong Province. Tan’s attemp0ts were successful.
Suiyuan Cuisine 随园菜
Suiyuan Cuisine, the Confucian Cuisine and the Tan Cuisine have been reputed as the three Imperial official foods in feudal China. The Suiyuan Cuisine uses local delicacies in Nanjing as the principal dishes, incorporating the local official cooking excellence of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui.
Yuan Mei 袁枚 (1716-1798), a successful candidate in the highest Imperial examinations of Qing Emperor Qianlong, Jiangning County magistrate, and poet of the Qing Dynasty, resigned and lived in Jiangning, near Nanjing, and built a garden at Xiaochuaqng Hill, named Suiyuan Garden, hired a very skilful chef named Wang Xiaoyu and cooked for the Yuan family. Due to various reasons, for more than one hundred years, the type of cooking was lost completely and fortunately, for more than 20 years’ hard work, Mr Xue Wenlong, especially in 1980s, when he was in charge of the Chinese Kitchen in Jinling Hotel (a five-star hotel) in Nanjing and worked together with famous gourmet Mr Li Enhua and finally reproduced and perfected the Suiyaun dishes. Because of Yuan Mei’s talent, social status, position and influence, the Suiyuan Cuisine exerted the most influential and the most salient official style of food in South China.
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Special And Famous Chinese Cuisine.