Fo Tiao Qiang (佛跳牆 Buddha Jumps Over the Wall)
Buddha Jumps Over the Wall is a famous Fujianese dish most often served at lavish banquets. Preparing the dish is difficult and time-consuming, for it brings together many different ingredients. To the Taiwanese people, the dish also symbolizes getting together and being reunited with family and friends.
Buddha Jumps over the Wall is made from numerous delicacies and is considered one of the foremost dishes in Chinese cuisine. Great skill is required to prepare the dish: more than 10 ingredients have to be simmered slowly for many hours with just the right amount of heat. The dish has a wonderful aroma and is simply irresistible.
The earliest mention of the phrase “Buddha Jumps over the Wall” appears in a book from the Song dynasty (960-1279). Stories abound as to the origin of the dish’s colorful name. According to one version, the fragrant smell of the dish was so powerful that it induced a Buddhist monk to climb over the monastery wall to get a taste of it. Another version says that a monk prepared the dish one day, adding many nonvegetarian ingredients to his stew, and that when he was caught eating it he had to leap over his monastery walls to escape. But it is impossible to prove or disprove either of these versions.