Confucius family cuisine that tantalizes the taste buds

(| Updated : 2020-04-17

Print Print

Every dish has a story in the Confucius family cuisine.

Six cold appetizers - including beef, jellyfish and spiced duck tongue - are named after the "six arts", including rites, music and archery, that Confucius (551-479 BC) taught to his students.


Braised pork ribs with shallots are a typical Confucius dish. [Photo by Ye Jun/China Daily]

Deep-fried sea bass with crispy scales is named "the kylin imperial book" because of the shape of the fish with curled-up scales. It is said that the kylin, an auspicious mythical animal in Chinese culture with curled scales, appeared to the family of Confucius before he was born.

Crispy prawn rolls with vermicelli symbolize a story of Confucius' descendants: During a period of imperial book-burning, Confucius' ninth-generation grandson Kong Fu hid books in his wall, so that they could be preserved and handed down.

Did Confucius himself ever taste or prepare these dishes? No. Confucius, who lived in the late Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), spent his life teaching his theories on how to manage a country and society. He lived a thrifty life. But his descendants were treated well by Chinese emperors. They were given land and property, and their personal chefs prepared the best food of the time.

Chefs from Shandong were the first to come to Beijing to serve Chinese emperors. Northern Chinese food is deeply influenced by Shandong cuisine.


A Confucius family cuisine dish [Photo/]

The family cuisine of Confucius developed as a result of frequent visits by China's emperors, high-ranking officials and other distinguished guests to Confucius' home. Many banquets, ceremonies and royal commemorations were held there, giving the family the opportunity to develop its own formal cuisine.

The time-consuming and labor-intensive cuisine has been adversely affected by modern technology and must be preserved, experts say.


A Confucius family cuisine dish [Photo/]

The most complex banquet in Confucius family cuisine consists of 196 dishes, including six cold dishes such as braised sea cucumber and stir-fried seasonal vegetables. They are served on special silver porcelain plates, and dining etiquette and manners have been passed down by Confucius' descendants for more than 2,000 years, according to experts.

In ancient times, chefs at the Confucius Mansion passed on cooking skills and recipes only to their descendants or apprentices, but now experts believe the recipes should be made public so they can be preserved.

Confucius (551-479 BC) is regarded as one of China's most influential sages. Some of his ideas about food and diet played a significant role in the development of Chinese food culture.

Confucius family cuisine was included as part of China's national intangible cultural heritage in June 2011.