Jiangnan Five-Blessing Feast
Part of the Jiangnan Five-Blessing Feast [Photo/jiaxing.gov.cn]
Jiaxing, located in central Jiangnan, a region south of the Yangtze River, enjoys a cuisine which combines the sweetness and crispness of Suzhou and Shanghai cuisine with the mildness of Shaoxing cuisine and the unique preparation methods of Anhui and Huaiyang cuisines.
The Jiangnan Five-Blessing Feast highlights mildness, freshness, and health.
The five blessings (longevity, riches and honor, health, decent morals, and completeness) are represented by five different dishes.
Sea eels and dried vegetables represent longevity, as they are abundant in calcium and active proteins.
Braised sheldrake represents riches and honor because it was a favorite of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
The other three blessings are represented by Er Xian Jin (or steamed pork-stuffed fried gluten balls and bean curd skin rolls with minced grass fish meat), steamed pork, braised fish head with tofu, shrimp, clams, wolfberries, black fungus, and ham.
In addition to the five dishes, the feast also includes Kalimeris indica in sauce, thin sheets of bean curd, honey pumpkin, wined chicken, pot-stewed pig feet, wined shrimps, plum fish, small fried dough sticks, stir-fried pork liver, fried rice mixed with vegetables, clam soup, stewed bean curd with water chestnuts, glutinous dumplings, and vegetable and fruit salad.