Enjoy A Taste Of Imperial China

Imperial Court Cuisine has always been an important part of Beijing Cuisine, which originates from royal kitchens where dishes and food were only cooked for the royal family. After the fall of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Imperial Court Cuisine began to be popular among the common people with its original features that the raw material and the ingredients are carefully selected and the dishes are exquisitely prepared and delicately decorated in different colors with light taste and sufficient nutrition. The Complete Manchu-Han Banquet might be the best representative of the Chinese Imperial Court Cuisine.

The Man-Han Banquet is the most expensive meal you can have in China, where you're treated like an emperor. The meal was actually modelled after every detail dishes served to the Imperial Qing emperor. The original Man Han Banquet consists of at least 108 hot dishes and 44 deserts, which requires 3 days to complete the entire meal.

This imperial banquet became popular during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). After Manchu people’s occupation of the Han areas and in order to strengthen their control of the whole country, they promoted a large number of former Han officials, landlords and scholars. Manchu people, then, created a banquet that served to have harmony with the han by combining both han and manchu dishes in it. When Emperor Kangxi first tasted the complete Manchu-Han banquet, and wrote down the four characters -- Man Han Quan Xi (The Complete Manchu-Han Banquet), the banquet hence became popular among the imperial family as well as the nobles and officials.

The banquet featured many of the world’s edible delicacies from land and sea, famous mushrooms and fungi, and choice vegetables and fruits. Quality was the key selection criteria, and only the best were chosen. For example, the bear’s paw had to be the front paw of the black bear in autumn because then it had short sides and much gelatinous protein (Nowadays deer tendon, beef and black mushrooms are used instead of real bear’s paws in order to protect the animals.)
Another example is the preparation of roast pigs. The pigs must weigh 12 to 13 catties and have been fattened with porridge for three to four days before being slaughtered so they would be tastier. Moreover, Peking duck, roast chicken, and pork leg were requisite banquet dishes.

The Complete Manchu-Han Banquet fully embodies the majesty and elegance of the emperors. The utensils are all in the traditional imperial style. During the banquet, the guests are served by waitress in "Qing" Dynasty customs. The dishes are put in adequate containers, like pieces of art. Further for the glittering golden tableware, the dishes taste delicious, smell fragrant and looke fine. The antique and elegant decoration, the typical emperor's eating procedures and court service, together with singing and dancing, create a historical and cultural ambience.