Confucius family cuisine that tantalizes the taste buds
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.