The Tanjia Cuisine is a famous Chinese court cuisine which was created by the court officer Tan Zongjun at the late Qing dynasty. It was a history of more than 100 years. It is the local authorities' dish only served at the Beijing Hotel. It is the Beijing Famous Trademark. Beijing has many traditional cuisine specialties, including Beijing Roast Duck, Mongolian hotpot, Muslim barbecue, and Beijing traditional folk food. Tanjia cuisine is a good example of Beijing's traditional cuisine.
Tanjia cuisine enjoys a history of over 100 years. It was named after Tan Zonghou, who was a high official in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and a great gourmand as well. He was fond of inviting friends to have dinner together, and the food he offered successfully combined the flavor of several cuisines and developed its own characteristics. The unique and impressive taste had been deeply favored by all the guests, and gradually gained its reputation as Tanjia (Tan Family) cuisine. Tan Zonghou's son inherited his father love for food and developed a large collection of recipes to suit the tastes.
Tanjia cuisine is famous for its two principles: First, only the finest ingredients may be used and cooked carefully to retain the flavor; secondly, the taste should reflect the essence of Tanjia cuisine. The dishes taste soft and original, with light, fresh seasonings, not too sweet nor too salty. Typical dishes include stewed shark's fin and fish maw in jar, stewed abalone in delicious sauce, sauted and fried prawn, etc.
There is a saying in the cooking field that "no one does not praise Tan",which reflects Tan's superb cuisine. Tan Zongjun, who won the second place of the first grade in China’s highest imperial examinations in the 13th year of the Tongzhi reign of Qing Dynasty, created Tan Family Cuisine. This cuisine successfully combines North China cuisine and South China cuisine, and forms a distinctive flavor. It is a representative of Chinese official cuisine. Tan Zhuanqing, the son of Tan Zongjun, was more a dainty eater than his father. He even sold his house to held banquet during the decline in family financial situation. Both the father and son were so obsessed with cuisine research that whenever they heard of a famous chef, they would employ him with a huge sum of money, and they kept on employing the new chef and discharging the previous one to absorb all their essence of cooking skill. Every time they were appointed to a hold in the provinces, they would search for the famous local food. Besides, Tan Zhuanqing's third concubine Zhao Lifeng is gifted in cooking. She always cooked herself, willing to learn from all the strong points of different cuisines and integrate them into her own cooking, which helped form better Tan Family Cuisine. The Tan Family declined in family financial situation in the Republic of China, and they had to open the Tan Family Cuisine restaurant to make a living, which made the cuisine handed down. Mrs. Zhao Lifeng epitomized Tan Family Cuisine, and made it reach the top of the old-style Chinese official cuisine. After she passed away, her outstanding disciple Peng Changhai became the chef of Tan Family Cuisine. After the foundation of the People's Republic of China, the Tan Family Cuisine is finally served in Quyuan Restaurant. However, the cuisine faced the crisis of being lost for the same reason of other lost official cuisines that most of the people who used to afford Tan Family Cuisine disappeared from the scene.
In 1958, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai invited his international friends to dinner at Quyuan Restaurant. He was told the cuisine's situation and believed that the Tan Family Cuisine, as the highest-level representative of Chinese culinary culture, should be well kept and handed down, so as to maintain and develop the skill as well as showing the Chinese culinary culture to the stat. Since 1949, visiting heads of state or government from about 60 countries have enjoyed the delicious feast.
Imperial Court Cuisine
Imperial Court Cuisine is a style of Chinese food that originated at the Imperial Palace. It is based on the foods served to the emperor and his court. Now, the cuisine has become a major school of Chinese cooking and there are several places where one can sample its unique flavor. Fang Shan in Beihai Park and Ting Li Guan at the Summer Palace are the best ones. Some 150 years ago one could never have dreamed of enjoying such delicacies -- which, however, come at a price.
Beijing Imperial Court Cuisine Restaurant:
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