Luoyang Boiled Food Banquet
Together with Longmen Grottoes and Luoyang Peony, Luoyang Boiled Food Banquet are reputed as the three most famous things in Luoyang. As a traditional banquet, Luoyang Boiled Food Banquet has a history of more than 1,000 years and is regarded as the “Top Banquet under the Heaven”. It is originated from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Dishes served during this banquet are brought one after another, like flowing water. The banquet is in total 24 dishes, including 8 cold dishes and 16 hot dishes. All the dishes are related with soups and are served one after another, like flowing water, therefore, it was called Liushuixi in Chinese.
Boiled Food Banquet was originated from Luotang. It has a great relationship with the geographical climate of Luoyang. As a city surrounded by mountains, Luoyang is lying in a basin. The weather here is cold and dry. In order to resist the dry and cold climate, people in Luoyang are fond of soup. With various kinds of soups, they make up the need of water. People here are accustomed to boil soup with the economical starch, the root of lotus, Chinese yam, radish and cabbage. Even the royal families, they like to boil the soup with the staple food and the subsidiary food together. As the time goes by, the distinctive Luoyang Boiled Food Banquet was formed. It is featured for its sour and hot flavor.
The Implications of Luoyang Boiled Food Banquet
The Luoyang Boiled Food Banquet has two implications. One is that all the hot dishes are related to soups. The other one is that when a hot dish is fished, the other will follow, just like flowing water. There all in total 24 courses and all of them are served in an interesting way. First served are eight cold dishes, which are mingled with meats and vegetables. That is, the 8 cold dishes include 8 kinds of meats and 8 kinds of vegetables. When the wine has been round three times, the remaining 12 dishes are brought up in four groups, each consisting of three dishes that are similar in taste, one of which is the main dish and the other two are side dishes.
This way of serving is reputed as “a father taking his two sons to court” then, another four dishes are served for the end of the meal. The egg soup, sometimes called the "Farewell soup," tells that the banquet is nearly over. The banquet is very sumptuous. The chicken, duck, fish meat, fresh fruit or vegetables, fungus are all included. The banquet can be divided into three grades, the high, the medium and the low. It can be prepared according to the fortune of the host, so it is popular in the urban and rural areas. The Boiled Food Banquet can also be modified and served as an ordinary facility dinner.
Yan Cai and the Other Three Main Dishes
The first and highly reputed dish is named Luoyang Yan Cai, made of radish shreds, chicken shreds, minced pork and various vegetables boiled in thin soup. It tastes like succulent bird's nest soup. It is said that the Empress Wu Zetian liked this dish so much and her favor influenced the royal families and the officers. Since then, an ordinary folk dish became famous overnight and become a main course in the banquet of the royal banquet. The second main dish is called the Happiness for the Whole Family, which is a braised mixture of different kinds of meat and vegetables. It represents a good wish for the guests. The third main course is called Liu Xiu Porridge, which is made with swallow's nest and lotus seeds and with green plums and about a dozen other kinds of preserved fruit. This porridge is both tasty and nourishing. The last course is the egg soup. Also known as the farewell soup, the egg soup reveals that the dinner is coming to its end and the best wishes for the guests to have a pleasant journey home.
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