Qianlong Jiangnan Feast
The Qianlong Jiangnan Feast includes six cold dishes, nine hot dishes and one plate of dim sum. [Photo by Sheng Xilin and Zhang Jiajian for chinadaily.com.cn]
As its name implies, the Qianlong Jiangnan Feast is associated with the Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), who visited the prefecture-level city of Jiaxing six times in order to inspect the conditions of its residents.
During his stay, renowned chefs prepared feasts of the finest local dishes and that is the origin of the Qianlong Jiangnan Feast. All the ingredients of the dishes are sourced from Jiaxing, including shrimps, clams, river eels, water chestnuts and mandarin fish.
Cold dishes: Lu Gaojian-branded duck seasoned with soy sauce, crispy fried fish, sheep's parsley with dressing, golden salad rolls, stewed kidney beans with preserved plums and cold intestines of hogs and pork tripe in sauce.
Hot dishes: stir-fried shelled shrimps, stewed clams with pork, braised river eels in brown sauce, braised shrimp roes with fish maw, stewed crab meat with water chestnuts, deep-fried boneless mandarin fish, termitomyces albuminosus mushrooms and pigeon soup.
Dim sum: candied petit potatoes with almond flakes.
The most famous variety of this dish is Lu Gaojian-branded duck seasoned with soy sauce, a gastronomic treat going back more than 100 years.
The essence of the dish is the controlled duration and degree of heating and of course the ingredients. Moreover, to cook delicious duck seasoned with soy sauce, a two-year-old sheldrake and homemade soy sauce are also indispensable.
Place the ingredients in a pot with fennel, cassia bark and salt and leave to simmer over the stove. Then let time do the rest.