Confucian legacy served on a plate

(| Updated : 2024-07-05

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Kong Xiangkun, a seasoned artisan with 26 years of experience in crafting Kong Family pastries, views these delicacies as more than mere treats from Confucius' birthplace. To him, they serve as a gateway to traditional culture, offering a taste of age-old flavors and an immersion into local Confucian customs.


Kong Xiangkun, with 26 years of experience making Kong Family pastries, views the pastries as a gateway to Confucian culture. [Photo/Qilu News]

Originating in Jining, Kong Family pastries have a mysterious past with limited historical documentation. The intricate techniques behind various pastries are largely transmitted orally, passed down through generations of skilled pastry chefs.

The art of making Kong Family pastries embodies an intangible cultural legacy, where the values of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness – the Confucian five constant virtues – are intricately woven into each handmade creation.

Despite evolving over millennia, these pastries have preserved their traditional craftsmanship, resonating with both modern palates and hearts by encapsulating Confucian narratives.


Several types of Kong Family pastries are on display, such as the osmanthus pastry and the lotus pastry. [Photo/Qilu News]

Functioning both as ceremonial gifts and personal indulgences, Kong Family pastries serve dual purposes. Ruyi pastries, Kaikouxiao pastries, Zaohua pastries, and Kong Family mooncakes are suitable for tribute, while seasonal delicacies like mung bean cakes, chestnut cakes, and chilled cakes are summer delicacies, and crystal buns, red bean buns, and ham buns are winter favorites.