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A taste of China / Food & Drink

The most popular Fujian dish: Fo Tiao Qiang

By Zhiyu Wang

April 14

Fo Tiao Qiang is commonly served at formal banquets.

Fo Tiao Qiang is commonly served at formal banquets.

Fo Tiao Qiang (佛跳墙), also called Man Tan Xiang (满坛香) orFu Shou Quan (福寿全), is synonymous with Fujian Province. It is commonly served at formal banquets to distinguished guests. Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ and Bill Gates tried this traditional dish when they visited China.

Fo Tiao Qiang [Image Credit: VCG]

What is Fo Tiao Qiang?

Fo Tiao Qiang means “Buddha jumps over the wall” in Chinese. Here’s how the name originated: There was a chef who worked for an officer in the Qing Dynasty. He created the dish — which he first called Fu Shou Quan, or “full of happiness” — and then stopped working for the officer. He opened a restaurant, which soon became popular and attracted many notable literati and poets. They were amazed by the pungent fragrance of the dish. One poet wrote a poem that included the lines “the fragrance spread among neighborhoods when the container opened. It smelled so good that even a monk would forget his vegetarian vows and leap over the wall to try it.”

How to make Fo Tiao Qiang?

Authentic Fo Tiao Qiang contains 18 ingredients including shark’s fin, sea slug, chicken breast, duck, pig’s feet, dried scallops, mushrooms, abalone, pigeon eggs and seasoning. All the ingredients are boiled with yellow wine from Shaoxing and ginger for 15 minutes. It’s cooked in a wine jar to enhance the flavor. Chicken soup is added and the jar is sealed with lotus leaves. It is then boiled for two hours.

Ju Chun Yuan Restaurant (聚春园) in Fuzhou is the birth place of this traditional delicacy. Though one hundred years have passed, it is still the best place to try this dish.

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