Beijing is the Capital city of many dynasties in the history
of China, and many nomadic populations once lived in Beijing. Today, Beijing
cuisine is refined from a combination of Shangdong cuisine and the Imperial
cuisine, and formed its unique characteristics. Many Beijing dishes primarily
comprise of meat, as a result of eating habits of the royals. For example,
the Mongolian rulers during the Ming dynasty favored mutton, while the
Qing dynasty rulers preferred pork. Bejing chefs generally put more effort
into the method of cooking, and uses very common ingredients. Deep-frying,
roasting, instant-boiling, stir-frying and stewing are among the most
common methods of cooking. Because of its more northerly location, instead
of rice, which is the staple diet in southern cuisines, noodles, buns,
or jiaozi(dumplings), are preferred by the local people.
Peking Roast Duck:
The most famous dish associated with Beijing is Peking Roast Duck.
The origin of the Peking Duck dates back to the Ming Dynasty, about
600 years ago. Cooks from all over China travelled to the capital
Beijing to cook for the Emperor. It was a prestigious occupation as
only the best chefs could enter the palace kitchens. A top cook was
even able to reach the rank of a minister! It was in these kitchens
where dishes of exceptional quality such as the Peking Duck was first
created and crafted to perfection by palace chefs. However, many of
the recipes for such "foods of the Emperor" were later smuggled
out of the kitchen and onto the streets of Beijing. With the eventual
fall of the Ching dynasty in 1911, court chefs who left the Forbidden
City set up restaurants around Beijing and brought the Peking Duck
and other delicious dishes to the masses. The crisp skin of the duck
is the most prized part. To achieve such crispness, the duck is air-dried,
then coated with a mixture of syrup and soy sauce before roasting.
When ready, it is presented ceremoniously and the skin deftly carved.
These pieces are wrapped in thin pancakes with onions or leeks, cucumber,
turnip and plum sauce. Some restaurants also serve up just about every
part of the duck, from the webbed feet to the beak and liver. On request,
the remainder of the duck meat can be sauteed with bean sprouts, and
the bones made into a wonderful soup with cabbage.
Shuanyangrou (Lamb Hot Pot)
Another favorite Beijing dish, it is especially popular in the cold
Beijing winter months. Lamb is typical northern food, and is generally
not consumed in southern parts of China. It is favored by northern
people as it warms up the body. Around the Chunjie or Chinese Lunar
New Year, Shuanyangrou is consumed a lot. The way to cook the lamb
is ridiculously simple. Lamb meat is first cut into very thin pieces.
This was done manually and required great skill. Recently machines
have become better at this job and many lamb are thus cut by machines.
The lamb is put into a boiling pot for a few seconds with many other
ingredient such as seafood or vegetables, and taken out immediately
and consumed with sauces such as peanut sauce.
| back to food
© 1999 - 2003 ShanghaiFinance.com
All Rights Reserved