Chinese Cuisine Whats In A Name

Chinese Cuisine Whats In A Name



Chinese Cuisine What’s In a​ Name?
There’s more to​ Chinese cuisine than meets the​ taste buds .​
There is​ also what meets the​ eye, the​ ear and​ the​ imagination .​
Chinese culture demands attention to​ the​ entire presentation of​ a​ meal, and​ that includes the​ blend of​ flavors, the​ subtlety of​ the​ spicing, how appealing the​ colors and​ arrangement of​ the​ food is​ and​ how well it​ plays on the​ imagination of​ the​ diner .​
This is​ a​ concept that is​ as​ foreign to​ most Westerners as​ an​ appreciation for​ the​ nuance of​ a​ single brushstroke in​ an​ ideograph .​
To the​ Chinese, though, the​ name of​ a​ dish plays its own part in​ the​ presentation when they serve a​ meal to​ guests.
The subtlety is​ lost on most Americans, who’d rather know what’s going to​ be on their plate than enjoy a​ bit of​ imagery with their meal .​
Some of​ the​ most common names survive – Seven Happiness, a​ dish that includes shrimp, lobster, scallop, fish, pork, beef and​ chicken in​ a​ delicate sauce with vegetables, for​ instance .​
Seven happiness indeed – what mouth wouldn’t be happy with that?
In China, however, many honored and​ respected restaurants still cling to​ the​ old traditions .​
At the​ Confucius House, for​ instance, one can dine on Two Phoenix from One Egg, An Oriole Welcoming Spring and​ as​ Luck as​ One Wishes .​
The Fangshan Restaurant in​ Beihai Park serves Phoenix in​ Its Nest and​ Frog and​ Abalone .​
The Fangshan Restaurant has also revived an​ ancient tradition – the​ complete Manchu-Han Banquet .​
Created during the​ Qing Dynasty as​ a​ celebration of​ important events, the​ Manchu-Han Banquet consists of​ 234 hot dishes, 28 cold dishes, cakes and​ fruit .​
Such a​ lavish spread is​ it​ that it​ often is​ held over the​ course of​ several days.
It was during the​ Northern and​ Southern Dynasties that the​ practice of​ giving poetic names to​ dishes truly flourished .​
While many dishes were named simply for​ their appearance, many others included a​ play on words in​ their names – subtle references to​ the​ ingredients wrapped in​ a​ beautiful title .​
Thus, a​ dish of​ shredded fish with orange might be called ‘powdered gold and​ minced jade .​
Shrimp with green peas and​ scallions might bear the​ name ‘Coral, Pearl and​ Jade’ .​
Some were far more fanciful – and​ in​ some cases descriptive of​ the​ elaborate preparation that turned a​ plate of​ food into a​ landscape or​ a​ scene from history .​
One such dish is​ chicken and​ soft-shelled turtle, served in​ its shell and​ named the​ Conqueror says goodbye to​ his concubine.
It’s only fitting that Hunan cuisine, generally considered to​ be the​ most visually appealing of​ the​ Chinese regional cuisines, should also feature the​ most fanciful and​ delightful names .​
Who cares what the​ ingredients are when your host serves you ‘Footsteps of​ the​ Phoenix’ and​ Pearls in​ the​ Snow? They are truly names fit for​ the​ dishes that graced the​ tables of​ emperors.




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