The imperial cuisine which was served to the emperors and the royal family has represented top class cuisine since ancient China. The Imperial Cuisine Museum of China is located at 117 Xisihuanbei Road, Haidian District, Beijing, covering an area of 3, 250 square meters. The Museum has over 1,000 pieces of collections of food vessels and historical records, highlighting the imperial cuisine and Chinese food culture.
China’s imperial cuisine started from Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties, saw rapid development in Qin and Han Dynasties, came into full bloom in Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties, and reached climax in Ming and Qing Dynasties.
The Museum is divided into three areas for imperial cuisine culture, imperial cuisine tasting and interactive sightseeing.
Cultural Display Area
Imperial cuisine culture display area consists of three sections. The first section introduces the 5,000-year development of Chinese imperial cuisine. The second section highlights famous cuisines and chefs. The third section explains how the imperial cuisine served as health regimen.
Interactive Experience Area
Here you can see vivid replicas of the imperial dining room in the Forbidden City, exhibition rooms are built at ratios of 1:1. Visitors could know about imperial cuisine culture in all aspects.
1. Mashed Delicacy for the Emperor
Created in the Zhou Dynasty, it was one of the eight dedicated cuisines for emperors of Zhou Dynasty. The ingredients are fresh meat from cattle, sheep, deer and other animals. Chef has to remove tendons from the meat first, mashing the meat next and cooking with spices at last. Known as the world's first steak, the cuisine is crispy and tender and is beneficial for health.
2. Huainan Tofu
Tofu was invented by Liu An, the King of Huainan in the Western Han Dynasty. Known as the “vegetable meat”, Tofu was initially reserved for imperial cuisine. Then, it was introduced to the common people in China and other Asian countries. It embodies the best combination of nutrition and pharmacology Stewed with chicken soup, shrimp and bamboo shoot, Huainan Tofu tastes tender and soft, and has high nutrition. Everyone loves it.
3. Milky Fish
As a famous delicacy in Tang Dynasty, Milky Fish is made according to an ancient recipe. The fish meat is smooth and tender in the milky soup. This dish enriches blood and invigorates spleen and stomach. Though fish is its main ingredient, the cuisine has no bones, which is an ideal choice for the old and the young.
4. Orange Bowl Crab
As a great delicacy in Song Dynasty, the cuisine employs orange as a bowl in which crab meat is steamed with spices. It’s fragrant and good for our eyes.
5. Roast Whole Lamb
It is a famous cuisine at the imperial banquet of Yuan Dynasty. Its main ingredient is the locally-bred fat wether which was roasted in traditional recipe. The wether becomes appetitive with golden, crispy skin, tender texture and strong flavor after multiple procedures. Actually, it is really a perfect choice for nourishing body.
6. Western Trends Spread to the East
It is a great delicacy originated from the Ming Dynasty. Zheng He's voyage to the western countries not only built the Maritime Silk Road, but also brought back western vegetables which enriched Chinese cuisines. The ingredients of this cuisine are western cabbage and mashed chicken breast, which are sprinkled with soup. It is ideal for clearing heat, removing toxicity, relieving cough and reducing phlegm.
7. Have Heaven and Earth in the Palm of Your Hand
It was a great delicacy in the Qing Dynasty and a favorite dish of Emperor Qianlong and his mother, Zhenhuan. The ingredients include camel palm, lily, scallion, ginger, and rice wine. The cooking procedure runs as follows: steam the ingredients in tomato, dousing soup on tomato, and place the tomato bowl on plate. The cuisine is appetitive with bright color and delicate fragrance.