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Fo Tiao Qiang (佛跳牆 Buddha Jumps Over the Wall)

Fo Tiao Qiang (佛跳牆 Buddha Jumps Over the Wall)

Introduction


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.


Features/Ingredients


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.




About/Origins


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.

A third tale says that during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), the dish was first prepared by an official from Fuzhou, who was trying to make a good impression on his superior, Zhou Lian. He combined many ingredients, including pork, duck and chicken, and simmered them slowly in an urn that was used to hold Shaoxing wine. After tasting the dish Zhou praised it profusely, and asked what the dish was called. The man replied that it was intended to bring “good luck and prosperity, happiness and longevity,” and so it was called Happiness and Longevity. Zhou’s chef then wrote down the recipe and improved the dish, and when Zhou served it to his guests someone wrote a few lines, saying that “The fragrant smell pervades the neighborhood, so that monks forget their Zen meditations and come jumping over the wall.” Ever since then the dish has been known as Buddha Jumps over the Wall.

Photos

  • Fo Tiao Qiang

  • Fo Tiao Qiang

  • Fo Tiao Qiang

  • Fo Tiao Qiang

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