China: The Road to Revolution - Sat 9th October [1 place remaining]

Post date: 25-Sep-2010 23:29:25

We start with a delectable lamb dish from the Imperial Court "Ah, Sweet as Honey", a favourite of the Empress Dowager (known to many from the opening scene of The Last Emperor). The last ruling dynasty, the Qing, were Manchus, from Northern China/Mongolia. They ate lamb which is relatively unusual in China. We go on to taste a tofu and seafood dish in "XO sauce" influenced by the "foreign devils" as the Imperialist powers started to exert their influence in China. This led to a taste for Western luxuries - and cognac was amongst them. Actually there is no cognac in this dish but "XO" became synonymous with luxury and the ultimate concession to the "foreign devils" - Hong Kong - developed this expensive sauce. Being seafood, it also comes from the Eastern Seaboard which is where the foreigners were able to trade. It could be argued that reactionary tendencies towards foreign influences were influential in bringing in the Communists. We then progress to the favourite dish of Chairman Mao - red stewed pork. This is an earthy dish and a world away from the "Ah, Sweet as Honey". It was a popular dish in Beijing and will be served with another dish from that era, stir-fried "Aubergine Silk", which was a simple dish eaten by people during the Cultural Revolution when there was not much available in the shops. Which system had better food? You decide!