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Huaiyang Cuisine

As one of four world-renowned Chinese cuisines, Huaiyang Cuisine is the representative flavor of middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River as well as Huaihe River Basin. The Huaiyang Cuisine, originated from Yangzhou and also developed in Yangzhou, is a brilliant miracle of long history and culture in Yangzhou. Yangzhou is the center and cradle of Huaiyang Cuisine

CHINA CUISINE ASSOCIATION decided to confer the honor “Land of Huaiyang Cuisine” to Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province on 25 July 2001. Yangzhou becomes the first city named “Land of the Cuisine” of various Chinese cuisines.

I. History of “Land of Huaiyang Cuisine”

In early 2001, Yangzhou Municipal Bureau of Commerce and Yangzhou Municipal Cuisine Association organized professionals in cooling field to conduct survey and textural research on the historical origin, cuisine formation and profound influence of “Land of Huaiyang Cuisine”. In May 2001, they submitted the survey on “Jiangsu Yangzhou—Land of Huaiyang Cuisine” to Yangzhou municipal government for experts’ review and then reported to CHINA CUISINE ASSOCIATION. CHINA CUISINE ASSOCIATION offered the approval “upon the deep research and review by experts of ‘CHINA CUISINE ASSOCIATION’, we deem that the materials declared are comprehensive and true, the argument is exact and appropriate and the procedures are in line with the requirements.”

The textural research on “Land of Huaiyang Cuisine” is primarily involved in four aspects, including Huaiyang Cuisine originated from Yangzhou, symbolic features of Huaiyang Cuisine, long history of food culture and profound influence at home and abroad.

[Huaiyang Cuisine originated from Yangzhou]

1. Yangzhou has been the political and economic center in Huaiyang region since ancient times. “Huaiyang” refers to the region in the administrative jurisdiction of Yangzhou. “Huaiyang Cuisine” refers to the cuisines in Huaiyang region in which Yangzhou is the center.

Yangzhou is one of nine ancient provinces in Central Plains. After Qing Dynasty and Han Dynasty, Yangzhou became the government location of the prefecture, province, Lu, Fu and Shu in different dynasties. In the 5th year of Yuanfeng reign of Han Dynasty (B.C. 106), Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty divided the whole country into thirteen provinces and Yangzhou was one of them. In Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty, Yangzhou was the political and economic center in Huaiyang region. The Governor-General Territory was set in Yangzhou in Tang Dynasty. In Zhenguan (Taizong) reign of Tang Dynasty, the whole country was divided into ten Dao, Huainan Dao was one of them to govern Jianghuai region and the government was located in Yangzhou. In Longshuo (Gaozong) reign of Tang Dynasty, the Huainan Governor Territory was also set in Yangzhou and its jurisdiction was similar to Huainan Dao which governed twelve prefectures, including Guangling, etc. The Huainan Governor also served as the Iron and Salt Governor as well as Yangzhou Prefecture Chief sometimes. Huainan Dao was changed to be Huainan Lu in Song Dynasty and the government was still located in Yangzhou. Huainan was divided into East Lu and West Lu in Xining reign. The well-known writer and gourmet Su Dongpo once served as Yangzhou Prefecture Chief and Military General of Huainan East Lu in Yangzhou. The Jianghuai Governor and Huaidong Governor were set in Yangzhou in Southern Song Dynasty. The Jianghuai Province, Huainan, Jiangbei, etc. were set in Yuan Dynasty and all their governments were located in Yangzhou.

The Yangzhou government office was set in Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty to manage Yangzhou, Taizhou, Nantong City as well as partial regions of Yancheng City

The Government of the Republic of China set Huaiyang Dao (later called the 9th Administrative Area of Jiangsu) in Subei in the period of the Northern Warlords. In the years of the Republic of China, the local newspapers printed in Yangzhou was still named Huaiyang Daily which was issued in 1918 and stopped in  Anti-Japanese War Period in 1937.

Hence, “Huaiyang” always stands for Yangzhou in most literatures and poems of different dynasties.

[Evolution and formation of Huaiyang Cuisine]

Yangzhou cooking was originated from Neolithic Period four thousand years ago. A lot of ancient cookers, dining tools and petrified ingredients are discovered in archeological study. The cord marked pottery is discovered in cultural relics of Yangzhou Qilidian of late Neolithic Period, the bronze vessel, tripod, Zun, etc. of Shang and Zhou Dynasties are unearthed from Yizheng New City and also lacquer tray, lacquer cup, etc. of Warring States Period are excavated from the north of Yangzhou. The antler of Pre-Qin Dynasty and the marine fish fossils of Tang Dynasty, etc. have been unearthed from Yangzhou recently. The archeological discoveries are sufficient to prove that there are diverse cooking ways, it is possible that species are brewed in pottery, the catering vessels have been with their features and the cooking ingredients have developed from livestock, birds, river animals and wild vegetables to seafood when Huaiyang cooking is in early development.

Yangzhou, located at the intersection between Yangtze River and the Grand Canal, with mild climate and affluent products, provides the foundation of ingredients for Huaiyang Cuisine in development. Shangshu records: “The southern supplies fishes in Xia Dynasty”. The local products in tributes include Coilia fishes, sugar crabs, honey gingers, etc. in Sui Dynasty.  When Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty inspected water transport on Wangchun Building in Chang’an, he discovered that the fleets from Guangling Prefecture were the grandest and their tribute foods were vast and diverse. A Record of Yangzhou Gaily-Painted Pleasure-Boats written by Li Dou in Qing Dynasty records seafood treasures, pickled or cured dry goods, various spices, wines, teas, etc. in Yangzhou market.

Since ancient times, the emperors & ministers, famous scholars and Lianghuai salt traders have played a significant role to boost the development of Huaiyang Cuisine.

The Emperor Yang of Sui Dynasty once visited Jiangdu for three times and brought the cooking skills from the north to Yangzhou. All places supplied land and water treasures and delicacies on the way, which provided beneficial condition for Yangzhou chefs to learn the advantages of different cooking. Emperor Yang of Sui Dynasty set imperial banquet in Yangzhou with beautiful delicacies. In Tang Dynasty, after An Shi Rebellion, most royals went to the south, which also boosted the communication between the southern and northern cuisine skills in Yangzhou.

The writers or poets, such as, Wang Yucheng, Han Qi, Ouyang Xiu, Su Shi, etc. once served as Yangzhou Prefecture Chief in Song Dynasty, they had profound study on the cooking, left numerous gourmet writings, boosted the improvement of Yangzhou Cuisine and also enhanced the cultural taste of Yangzhou Cuisine.

In Tang and Song Dynasties, the cuisines in Huaiyang had been provided with obvious features. Meanwhile, the south and north communication as well as the summary by scholars also enhanced the skills and cultural connotation of Yangzhou Cuisine and formed Huaiyang Cuisine which represented the flavor in middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River as well as Huaihe River Basin. At that time, the major cuisines in China included north food, south food, Sichuan Cuisine and Vegetarian Cuisine, with Yangzhou Cuisine as the key representative of south food. The “Zhengchun Banquet” of Yangzhou government in Tang Dynasty, the “Prefecture Chief Banquet” of Ouyang Xiu in Song Dynasty, “Lvzikuai” of Guangling government in Five Dynasties, eel dishes in folk, etc., characterized by reasonable combination, excellent cutting skills and the best color, taste and shape, are the representative well-known banquets and cuisines in this period.

In Yuan Dynasty, the Daluhuachi Governor-General Territory was set in Yangzhou which was an important base for foods supplied to imperial palace. Yangzhou Viburnum Banquet was greatly renowned along Yangtze River Basin in Yuan Dynasty.

Zhu Yuanzhang in Ming Dynasty designated Yangzhou chefs to be responsible for foods in imperial palace after he ascended the throng in Nanjing. Later, Zhu Di moved the capital to Beijing, he took some Yangzhou chefs to be in charge of imperial kitchen, thus, Huaiyang Cuisine got rooted in Beijing. Yangzhou banquets walked into its flourishing period in Ming Dynasty. Record of Yangzhou Government in Wanli reign of Ming Dynasty records: “Yangzhou foods are luxurious and numerous diverse goods are sold in the market, which can be called the first of Yangtze River Basin.” The famous folk banquets in Yangzhou include seven-vessels-two-point, three-bowels-six-dishes, etc.

In early Qing Dynasty, Huaiyang Cuisine accessed to the greatest prosperity. Emperor Kangxi and Emperor Qianlong visited the south, Yangzhou people received them for many times and also lots of imperial commissioners and dignitaries frequently arrived in Yangzhou, hence, a huge quantity of banquets were provided in Yangzhou with beautiful delicacies in competition. Yangzhou salt dealers enjoyed delicious food everyday. The frequent banquet activities hosted by officials, salt traders and scholars elevate the cooking skills of Yangzhou Cuisine. The history records: “As for the grandness of banquets on the north of river, Yangzhou shall take the first place in rank.”

Numerous delicious cuisines are originated from Yangzhou, such as, Fish Roll with Three Shreds, Ivory Fillet, Stewed Meat in Shape of Sunflower, Braised Snakehead, Stewed Pig Head, Chicken Cooked in Firecracker Shape, clam dumplings, etc. The cooking of Yangzhou Cuisine is extremely fine, like the cutting skill of Wensi Tofu, the removal of whole duck bone in “Three Nested Duck” and fishbone removing in Mocidao Fish, and all of them require exquisite skills. Yangzhou cooking art contributes to so many famous chefs. The Yangzhou chefs were widely popular in Qing Dynasty and the status of Huaiyang Cuisine was also formed in that period.

[Obvious cuisine features]

Huaiyang Cuisine is all-inclusive. It absorbs the advantages of different dishes and forms special style in budding. Yangzhou Man-Han Banquet integrates delicacies in both south and north.  The famous chefs from South Anhui and Shanxi melt into Yangzhou cooking field with salt trader culture, which richens and enhances Yangzhou cooking skills.

Huaiyang Cuisine is open. Yangzhou was a metropolis in ancient times and numerous foreign chefs arrived here for demonstration. Yangzhou integrates various merchants from Shanxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Anhui, Guizhou, etc. and they bring various famous dishes and enrich Huaiyang Cuisine. Yangzhou is an important port in Tang Dynasty, Song Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty and the merchants from Southeast Asia, West Asia and other countries arrive in Yangzhou and bring different foreign catering styles which are melted into Yangzhou food culture. Yangzhou Islamic Cuisine is the symbol of south Chinese Islamic Cuisine. The vegetarian foods in Yangzhou nunneries and temples are also very famous. The vegetarian dishes in Yangzhou Daming Temple in prosperous Tang Dynasty were as famous as that in Zhenjiang Jinshan Temple, Zhejiang Putuo Temple and Sichuan Baoguang Temple and they were treasures of China.

Huaiyang Cuisine is adaptable. Huaiyang Cuisine includes banquet, hot and cold dishes, pastries, food carving and cooking culture system. Yangzhou wild animals & seafood banquet, theater banquet, etc. are quite well-known. Generally speaking, the ordinary housewife can cook several delicious dishes.

Huaiyang Cuisine is distinctive. Huaiyang Cuisine is characterized by careful selection, exquisite cooking, origin taste valuing, cooking degree stressing, light peace, pureness, moderate taste and benefit for both the southern and the northern.

Yangzhou pastry became an important cooking style all over the country in Qing Dynasty.

[Profound food culture connotation]

Influenced by traditional Yangzhou culture, Yangzhou cooking style and taste is quite superior and has profound cultural connotation.

1. Food dictionary

There are many food dictionaries in Yangzhou. In late Sui Dynasty, patrolled in Yangzhou, Emperor Yang of Sui Dynasty brought senior director of Shangshi Xie Feng to the palace. Afterwards, Xie Feng wrote Classics on Food, which stated many Huaiyang Cuisine. In Ming Dynasty, Gaoyou native Wang Pan wrote Wild Cuisine. During Qianlong Reign of Qing Dynasty, Tong Yuejian wrote Eating Rules of Tong, which incorporating over one thousand kinds of Huaiyang Cuisine. A Record of Yangzhou Gaily-Painted Pleasure-Boats written by Li Dou recoded scores of hotel names, dishes and Yangzhou dietary customs during the Qianlong Reign. A List of Dietetic Treatment of Yuan Mei also recoded many Yangzhou dishes. The book has become one historical book on culinary research. During the Jiaqing Reign of Qing Dynasty, Three Hundred Poems in Han River written by Lin Sumen also recoded scores of dishes and dietary customs of Yangzhou.

After the emancipation, Yangzhou cuisine research possesses an advanced level in the country. For a long time, talent group has developed in Yangzhou cuisine culture research. Professor Nie Fengqiao, Qiu Pangtong, Tao Wentai and the like respectively assume as the deputy editor and coordinating editor in Chinese cuisine dictionary project (such as A Dictionary of Chinese Cuisine, An Encyclopedia of Chinese Cuisine, Classics on Chinese Food), besides, they also presided and published the authority books such as Dictionary for Ingredients of Chinese Cuisine, History of Chinese Noodles and History of Chinese Dishes. Following the publishing of History on Huaiyang Dietary Culture, Yangzhou cooking field complied more than 200 volumes of cooking books such as One Hundred Cases of Huaiyang Cuisine with Pictures and Text, Huaiyang Flavor Series, Chinese Huaiyang Cuisine and the like. The most prominent one is Chinese Huaiyang Cuisine with complete cases, beautifully decorated and packaged, possessing authority and artistic property. It has been praised by Chairman Jiang Zemin and Chinese cooking field. The provincial government also conferred it the Philosophy and Social Science Achievement of the year.

In recent years, the presses such as Beijing Publishing House, China Light Industry Press, Jindun Publishing House, Shanghai Publishing House, Jilin Publishing House, Anhui Publishing House, Jiangsu Publishing House, Qingdao Publishing House and the like have published books on Huaiyang Cuisine. In 1999, the Municipal Cuisine Association recommended representative of Yangzhou Municipal Cuisine Association to Beijing to give a talk on food culture in Tell It Like It Is of CCTV together with the representatives of Sichuan, Shandong and Cantonese Cuisine.

2. Food literature

The scholars from Yangzhou and that dwelled in Yangzhou wrote a large amount of poetry on diet, praising Yangzhou Cuisine. After the preliminary sorting of the Municipal Cuisine Association, the poems and lyrics on diet amount to over one hundred. The famous authors include Li Bai, Ouyang Xiu, Su Shi, Huang Tingjian, Qin Guan, Saduci, Kong Shangren, Zheng Banqiao, Yuan Mei, Liang Zhangju and the like. Scholars of from Yangzhou commented the dishes with a profound insight, such as the illustration of Zheng Xie on idyllic clearness and the return to nature and the discussion of Li Shan on stewing taros and the like.

3. Food stories

Food event in Yangzhou is rich in cultural texture. Liu Yuxi and Bai Juyi of Tang Dynasty drank wine and wrote poems in Yangzhou, leaving the famous lines “A thousand sails pass by the wrecked ship and ten thousands of young saplings shoot up beside the withered tree”. The allusion of “Fanhouzhong” and “Bishalong” in Mulan Court by Wang Bo fully depicted the hypocrisy and snobbishness in the society. Ouyang Xiu of Song Dynasty held a banquet and transferred the lotus and cup to drink wine with the guests, which become an admiring story in the circle of literature. In early Qing Dynasty, the “Red Bridge Gathering” of Wang Shizhen, Kong Shangren and Lu Yayu followed the residual customs of drinking water from a winding canal with one wine cup floating on it as so to let it wash away among a gathered crowd. When Lu Yayu wrote his album of poems at the Red Bridge, more than seven thousand people joined him, this becomes a good story. Gatherings through poems and wine in garden occurred one after another such as Yangzhou Mashi Cute Mountain Restaurant, travelers’ asylum, Chengshi Little Garden, Zhengshi Leisure Garden, Zhangshi Garden, Zhaoshi South Garden, the chrysanthemum and orchid appreciating of “Eight Eccentricities of Yangzhou”. Banquet in Yangzhou gaily-painted pleased boat cruising in the lake between the mountains generates a poetic and picturesque impression.

4. Food custom

Yangzhou has unique cuisine customs, such as festival and cultural cuisine customs, local cultural cuisine customs and etiquette cuisine customs, etc. It is a representative of the cuisine customs of Huaiyang region. The daily cuisine customs for the four seasons are different. There are customs in the Spring Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Lantern Festival, the starting point of summer, Summer Solstice, starting point of autumn, Chongyang, Laba, Qingming, Winter Solstice and the like. There are also usage based cuisine customs on housekeep, banquet, wedding, birthday party, funeral, fiesta and the like.

II. The profound influence of Huaiyang Cuisine

Yangzhou is the cradle of Huaiyang Cuisine.  The “Three Knives” of Yangzhou are famous both home and abroad, therein the “kitchen knife” that represents Yangzhou cooking ranks the top. Since Ming Dynasty, Yangzhou cooking has become the important industry of Yangzhou. Yangzhou provides cooking talents to the country constantly and Yangzhou Cuisine is famous around the country and the world.

1. One of the major schools both home and abroad

Quite a lot of Yangzhou chefs open restaurants or work as chef in other provinces. During Ming and Qing Dynasty, Yangzhou chefs opened Huaiyang restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Xi’an and the like. The restaurant “Laobanzhai” and the like in Shanghai characterized by Yangzhou Cuisine have a history of one hundred years. Since late Qing Dynasty till 1949, there were over one hundred restaurants with Yangzhou flavor in Shanghai. In the early years of the period of the Republic of China, ten thousands of Yangzhou chefs assumed as chefs in other provinces. There are many restaurants with Yangzhou flavor (also named Huaiyang Cuisine and Yangbang Cuisine) in big and medium cities all around the country, for example: Huaiyang restaurants are set in top-grade restaurants such as Hilton, China World Trade Center of Beijing and the like. Huaiyang Cuisine restaurants are scattered all around regions such as East China, North China, South China, Northwest China and the like. Yangzhou Fried Rice is especially highly popularized. About half of the counties and cities all around the country supply Yangzhou Fried Rice. “Yangzhou Fried Rice” is also widely scattered in each overseas Chinese restaurant. In 2004, the United Nations recommended Yangzhou Fried Rice as the globally famous rice brand. Many restaurants with Yangzhou Cuisine are opened overseas. Almost all major developed countries set Yangzhou restaurants. Yangzhou native Cheng Zhengchang opened about several hundred of chain stores of restaurants dominated with Huaiyang Cuisine in USA and the like. At present, restaurants of Huaiyang Cuisine are opened in 136 countries and regions. Huaiyang flavor has become one of the main schools of Chinese restaurants both home and abroad

2. The important position of Huaiyang flavor

In Ming Dynasty, the posts of imperial chef of the royal family were often taken by Yangzhou natives. Two thirds of Man-Han Banquet of Qing Dynasty was Huaiyang Cuisine.  There were Yangzhou chefs in the imperial kitchen of Qing Dynasty. When Kangxi and Qianlong patrolled southwards, they brought many Yangzhou chefs to the imperial kitchen. During the period of the Republic of China, most of the home chefs of senior officials were Yangzhou natives. After the emancipation, apart from that the First Banquet in Honor of the Foundation of China was dominated by Huaiyang Cuisine. Huaiyang restaurants are set in Peking Restaurant, the Great Hall of the People, DIAOYUTAI STATE GUESTHOUSE. Huaiyang Cuisine is also one of the major schools for dishes for the embassies of the People’s Republic of China in foreign countries. In the early 50s of the 20th century, over 500 chefs were called in from Yangzhou for working in state organs, provincial government and embassies in foreign countries.

3. The development and popularization of Huaiyang Cuisine

There are over 1, 400 catering enterprises in Yangzhou at the present time, therein 1 is special national catering enterprise, over 60 are special municipal catering enterprises, over 100 are catering enterprises of Grade 1 and over 400 are catering enterprises of Grade 2. Over 6,000 professional chefs engage in catering industry, therein 20 are Chinese cooking masters, ten are senior cooking technician, several hundreds are technicians and several thousands are senior chefs.

The culinary craftsmanship of Huaiyang Cuisine is constantly innovated and developing. In recent years, the good reputation of the traditional flavor of the original Huaiyang restaurants such as Fuchun Teahouse, YANGZHOU STATE GUESTHOUSE, Yangzhou Xiyuan Hotel, Yangzhou Garden International Hotel, New Century Hotel, Shiweitian Holiday Hotel, Fumanlou Hotel and the like spreads far and wide. In the meanwhile when Huaiyang Cuisine maintains the basic flavor, bold innovation in the process and the like is conducted and a large group of novel dishes is pushed out. Yangzhou chefs research on the combination of dishes. Following “Qianlong Banquet”, “Banquet of Three Heads”, “Banquet of Red Chamber”, in recent years, they sort the banquets such as “the Best Banquet of Chinese Man-Han Banquet”, “Banqiao Banquet”, “Wangshi Family Banquet”, “Muslin Banquet”, “Chunhui Banquet”, “Three-Tail Banquet”, “Eight Eccentric Artists Themed Banquet” and the like. Some restaurants return to nature, sort and develop some home cooking dishes and make them popular dishes. Candidates from Yangzhou successively won Gold Cup and Gold Medal in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th National Cooking Competition, International Chinese Cooking Contest and Innovative Dish Contest.

In recent years, Huaiyang Cuisine strengthens its communication with the outside world. Professors and experts in culinary arts sequentially visit countries such as Japan, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, France and the like to lecture and communicate there, scores of masters go to France, USA, Japan, Southeast Asia, Beijing, Shanghai, Jinan, Qingdao, Xiamen, Taiyuan, Xi’an, Luoyang, Nanjing, Hong Kong and the like to perform the cooking skills and win a good reputation from the local governments and the press. Huaiyang Food Festival has been held in Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, Jinan, Hong Kong and the like.

III. Education and research on Yangzhou cooking

Yangzhou is one of the cities that have advanced education on culinary education all around the country and the base that foster Huaiyang cooking talents in the country. At present, there are nine cooking schools. Therein two are university and junior college-- Tourism and Cuisine College of Yangzhou University and Jiangsu Yangzhou Business Higher Vocational School; three are technical school and technical secondary schools—Yangzhou Living Technology School, YANGZHOU TECHNICAL VOCATIONAL COLLEGE and Yangzhou Elite Cooking School; three are training centers—Yangzhou Cooking Training Center of National Party School, Training Center of College for the Aged and Labor Training Center. Besides, both Yangzhou Vocational University and the Open University of Yangzhou have provided junior college level cooking classes. According to the incomplete statistics, each year Yangzhou educates 300 cooking learners higher than junior college level, 800 technical secondary school students and constantly provides to the country talents of culinary education and skills. Since the initial years of the 70s, it has cultivated about 3, 000 junior college students, over 7,000 junior college students and technical secondary students (vocational secondary students) and trains over than 100, 000 chefs. Since the initial years of the 70s, it has cultivated and trained over 400 senior and junior cooks for departments that are directly governed by the central government entrusted by government offices administration of the central state organs and many leaders from the central government have Yangzhou chefs to work with them engaging in cooking.

Yangzhou let the cooking talents play their full role and enhance the skills, techniques and practice along the direction of theoretical research. Jiangsu Cooking Research Institute is set in Yangzhou. There is a public magazine on academic theory of cooking Culinary Science Journal of Yangzhou University (Originally named Chinese Cuisine Research).  Yangzhou Municipal Cuisine Association and the Tourism and Cuisine College of Yangzhou University hold cooking salon regularly to communicate their theory and experience and discuss their skills in cooking and learn from each other. CHINA CUISINE ASSOCIATION also entrusted Culinary Science Journal of Yangzhou University with the journal of the Association Information on Chinese Cooking.

(Instructions: Pleased provide several pictures of famous dishes of Yangzhou, for example)

As one of four world-renowned Chinese cuisines, Huaiyang Cuisine is the representative flavor of middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River as well as Huaihe River Basin. The Huaiyang Cuisine, originated from Yangzhou and also developed in Yangzhou, is a brilliant miracle of long history and culture in Yangzhou. Yangzhou is the center and cradle of Huaiyang Cuisine

CHINA CUISINE ASSOCIATION decided to confer the honor “Land of Huaiyang Cuisine” to Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province on 25 July 2001. Yangzhou becomes the first city named “Land of the Cuisine” of various Chinese cuisines.

I. History of “Land of Huaiyang Cuisine”

In early 2001, Yangzhou Municipal Bureau of Commerce and Yangzhou Municipal Cuisine Association organized professionals in cooling field to conduct survey and textural research on the historical origin, cuisine formation and profound influence of “Land of Huaiyang Cuisine”. In May 2001, they submitted the survey on “Jiangsu Yangzhou—Land of Huaiyang Cuisine” to Yangzhou municipal government for experts’ review and then reported to CHINA CUISINE ASSOCIATION. CHINA CUISINE ASSOCIATION offered the approval “upon the deep research and review by experts of ‘CHINA CUISINE ASSOCIATION’, we deem that the materials declared are comprehensive and true, the argument is exact and appropriate and the procedures are in line with the requirements.”

The textural research on “Land of Huaiyang Cuisine” is primarily involved in four aspects, including Huaiyang Cuisine originated from Yangzhou, symbolic features of Huaiyang Cuisine, long history of food culture and profound influence at home and abroad.

[Huaiyang Cuisine originated from Yangzhou]

1. Yangzhou has been the political and economic center in Huaiyang region since ancient times. “Huaiyang” refers to the region in the administrative jurisdiction of Yangzhou. “Huaiyang Cuisine” refers to the cuisines in Huaiyang region in which Yangzhou is the center.

Yangzhou is one of nine ancient provinces in Central Plains. After Qing Dynasty and Han Dynasty, Yangzhou became the government location of the prefecture, province, Lu, Fu and Shu in different dynasties. In the 5th year of Yuanfeng reign of Han Dynasty (B.C. 106), Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty divided the whole country into thirteen provinces and Yangzhou was one of them. In Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty, Yangzhou was the political and economic center in Huaiyang region. The Governor-General Territory was set in Yangzhou in Tang Dynasty. In Zhenguan (Taizong) reign of Tang Dynasty, the whole country was divided into ten Dao, Huainan Dao was one of them to govern Jianghuai region and the government was located in Yangzhou. In Longshuo (Gaozong) reign of Tang Dynasty, the Huainan Governor Territory was also set in Yangzhou and its jurisdiction was similar to Huainan Dao which governed twelve prefectures, including Guangling, etc. The Huainan Governor also served as the Iron and Salt Governor as well as Yangzhou Prefecture Chief sometimes. Huainan Dao was changed to be Huainan Lu in Song Dynasty and the government was still located in Yangzhou. Huainan was divided into East Lu and West Lu in Xining reign. The well-known writer and gourmet Su Dongpo once served as Yangzhou Prefecture Chief and Military General of Huainan East Lu in Yangzhou. The Jianghuai Governor and Huaidong Governor were set in Yangzhou in Southern Song Dynasty. The Jianghuai Province, Huainan, Jiangbei, etc. were set in Yuan Dynasty and all their governments were located in Yangzhou.

The Yangzhou government office was set in Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty to manage Yangzhou, Taizhou, Nantong City as well as partial regions of Yancheng City

The Government of the Republic of China set Huaiyang Dao (later called the 9th Administrative Area of Jiangsu) in Subei in the period of the Northern Warlords. In the years of the Republic of China, the local newspapers printed in Yangzhou was still named Huaiyang Daily which was issued in 1918 and stopped in  Anti-Japanese War Period in 1937.

Hence, “Huaiyang” always stands for Yangzhou in most literatures and poems of different dynasties.

[Evolution and formation of Huaiyang Cuisine]

Yangzhou cooking was originated from Neolithic Period four thousand years ago. A lot of ancient cookers, dining tools and petrified ingredients are discovered in archeological study. The cord marked pottery is discovered in cultural relics of Yangzhou Qilidian of late Neolithic Period, the bronze vessel, tripod, Zun, etc. of Shang and Zhou Dynasties are unearthed from Yizheng New City and also lacquer tray, lacquer cup, etc. of Warring States Period are excavated from the north of Yangzhou. The antler of Pre-Qin Dynasty and the marine fish fossils of Tang Dynasty, etc. have been unearthed from Yangzhou recently. The archeological discoveries are sufficient to prove that there are diverse cooking ways, it is possible that species are brewed in pottery, the catering vessels have been with their features and the cooking ingredients have developed from livestock, birds, river animals and wild vegetables to seafood when Huaiyang cooking is in early development.

Yangzhou, located at the intersection between Yangtze River and the Grand Canal, with mild climate and affluent products, provides the foundation of ingredients for Huaiyang Cuisine in development. Shangshu records: “The southern supplies fishes in Xia Dynasty”. The local products in tributes include Coilia fishes, sugar crabs, honey gingers, etc. in Sui Dynasty.  When Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty inspected water transport on Wangchun Building in Chang’an, he discovered that the fleets from Guangling Prefecture were the grandest and their tribute foods were vast and diverse. A Record of Yangzhou Gaily-Painted Pleasure-Boats written by Li Dou in Qing Dynasty records seafood treasures, pickled or cured dry goods, various spices, wines, teas, etc. in Yangzhou market.

Since ancient times, the emperors & ministers, famous scholars and Lianghuai salt traders have played a significant role to boost the development of Huaiyang Cuisine.

The Emperor Yang of Sui Dynasty once visited Jiangdu for three times and brought the cooking skills from the north to Yangzhou. All places supplied land and water treasures and delicacies on the way, which provided beneficial condition for Yangzhou chefs to learn the advantages of different cooking. Emperor Yang of Sui Dynasty set imperial banquet in Yangzhou with beautiful delicacies. In Tang Dynasty, after An Shi Rebellion, most royals went to the south, which also boosted the communication between the southern and northern cuisine skills in Yangzhou.

The writers or poets, such as, Wang Yucheng, Han Qi, Ouyang Xiu, Su Shi, etc. once served as Yangzhou Prefecture Chief in Song Dynasty, they had profound study on the cooking, left numerous gourmet writings, boosted the improvement of Yangzhou Cuisine and also enhanced the cultural taste of Yangzhou Cuisine.

In Tang and Song Dynasties, the cuisines in Huaiyang had been provided with obvious features. Meanwhile, the south and north communication as well as the summary by scholars also enhanced the skills and cultural connotation of Yangzhou Cuisine and formed Huaiyang Cuisine which represented the flavor in middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River as well as Huaihe River Basin. At that time, the major cuisines in China included north food, south food, Sichuan Cuisine and Vegetarian Cuisine, with Yangzhou Cuisine as the key representative of south food. The “Zhengchun Banquet” of Yangzhou government in Tang Dynasty, the “Prefecture Chief Banquet” of Ouyang Xiu in Song Dynasty, “Lvzikuai” of Guangling government in Five Dynasties, eel dishes in folk, etc., characterized by reasonable combination, excellent cutting skills and the best color, taste and shape, are the representative well-known banquets and cuisines in this period.

In Yuan Dynasty, the Daluhuachi Governor-General Territory was set in Yangzhou which was an important base for foods supplied to imperial palace. Yangzhou Viburnum Banquet was greatly renowned along Yangtze River Basin in Yuan Dynasty.

Zhu Yuanzhang in Ming Dynasty designated Yangzhou chefs to be responsible for foods in imperial palace after he ascended the throng in Nanjing. Later, Zhu Di moved the capital to Beijing, he took some Yangzhou chefs to be in charge of imperial kitchen, thus, Huaiyang Cuisine got rooted in Beijing. Yangzhou banquets walked into its flourishing period in Ming Dynasty. Record of Yangzhou Government in Wanli reign of Ming Dynasty records: “Yangzhou foods are luxurious and numerous diverse goods are sold in the market, which can be called the first of Yangtze River Basin.” The famous folk banquets in Yangzhou include seven-vessels-two-point, three-bowels-six-dishes, etc.

In early Qing Dynasty, Huaiyang Cuisine accessed to the greatest prosperity. Emperor Kangxi and Emperor Qianlong visited the south, Yangzhou people received them for many times and also lots of imperial commissioners and dignitaries frequently arrived in Yangzhou, hence, a huge quantity of banquets were provided in Yangzhou with beautiful delicacies in competition. Yangzhou salt dealers enjoyed delicious food everyday. The frequent banquet activities hosted by officials, salt traders and scholars elevate the cooking skills of Yangzhou Cuisine. The history records: “As for the grandness of banquets on the north of river, Yangzhou shall take the first place in rank.”

Numerous delicious cuisines are originated from Yangzhou, such as, Fish Roll with Three Shreds, Ivory Fillet, Stewed Meat in Shape of Sunflower, Braised Snakehead, Stewed Pig Head, Chicken Cooked in Firecracker Shape, clam dumplings, etc. The cooking of Yangzhou Cuisine is extremely fine, like the cutting skill of Wensi Tofu, the removal of whole duck bone in “Three Nested Duck” and fishbone removing in Mocidao Fish, and all of them require exquisite skills. Yangzhou cooking art contributes to so many famous chefs. The Yangzhou chefs were widely popular in Qing Dynasty and the status of Huaiyang Cuisine was also formed in that period.

[Obvious cuisine features]

Huaiyang Cuisine is all-inclusive. It absorbs the advantages of different dishes and forms special style in budding. Yangzhou Man-Han Banquet integrates delicacies in both south and north.  The famous chefs from South Anhui and Shanxi melt into Yangzhou cooking field with salt trader culture, which richens and enhances Yangzhou cooking skills.

Huaiyang Cuisine is open. Yangzhou was a metropolis in ancient times and numerous foreign chefs arrived here for demonstration. Yangzhou integrates various merchants from Shanxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Anhui, Guizhou, etc. and they bring various famous dishes and enrich Huaiyang Cuisine. Yangzhou is an important port in Tang Dynasty, Song Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty and the merchants from Southeast Asia, West Asia and other countries arrive in Yangzhou and bring different foreign catering styles which are melted into Yangzhou food culture. Yangzhou Islamic Cuisine is the symbol of south Chinese Islamic Cuisine. The vegetarian foods in Yangzhou nunneries and temples are also very famous. The vegetarian dishes in Yangzhou Daming Temple in prosperous Tang Dynasty were as famous as that in Zhenjiang Jinshan Temple, Zhejiang Putuo Temple and Sichuan Baoguang Temple and they were treasures of China.

Huaiyang Cuisine is adaptable. Huaiyang Cuisine includes banquet, hot and cold dishes, pastries, food carving and cooking culture system. Yangzhou wild animals & seafood banquet, theater banquet, etc. are quite well-known. Generally speaking, the ordinary housewife can cook several delicious dishes.

Huaiyang Cuisine is distinctive. Huaiyang Cuisine is characterized by careful selection, exquisite cooking, origin taste valuing, cooking degree stressing, light peace, pureness, moderate taste and benefit for both the southern and the northern.

Yangzhou pastry became an important cooking style all over the country in Qing Dynasty.

[Profound food culture connotation]

Influenced by traditional Yangzhou culture, Yangzhou cooking style and taste is quite superior and has profound cultural connotation.

1. Food dictionary

There are many food dictionaries in Yangzhou. In late Sui Dynasty, patrolled in Yangzhou, Emperor Yang of Sui Dynasty brought senior director of Shangshi Xie Feng to the palace. Afterwards, Xie Feng wrote Classics on Food, which stated many Huaiyang Cuisine. In Ming Dynasty, Gaoyou native Wang Pan wrote Wild Cuisine. During Qianlong Reign of Qing Dynasty, Tong Yuejian wrote Eating Rules of Tong, which incorporating over one thousand kinds of Huaiyang Cuisine. A Record of Yangzhou Gaily-Painted Pleasure-Boats written by Li Dou recoded scores of hotel names, dishes and Yangzhou dietary customs during the Qianlong Reign. A List of Dietetic Treatment of Yuan Mei also recoded many Yangzhou dishes. The book has become one historical book on culinary research. During the Jiaqing Reign of Qing Dynasty, Three Hundred Poems in Han River written by Lin Sumen also recoded scores of dishes and dietary customs of Yangzhou.

After the emancipation, Yangzhou cuisine research possesses an advanced level in the country. For a long time, talent group has developed in Yangzhou cuisine culture research. Professor Nie Fengqiao, Qiu Pangtong, Tao Wentai and the like respectively assume as the deputy editor and coordinating editor in Chinese cuisine dictionary project (such as A Dictionary of Chinese Cuisine, An Encyclopedia of Chinese Cuisine, Classics on Chinese Food), besides, they also presided and published the authority books such as Dictionary for Ingredients of Chinese Cuisine, History of Chinese Noodles and History of Chinese Dishes. Following the publishing of History on Huaiyang Dietary Culture, Yangzhou cooking field complied more than 200 volumes of cooking books such as One Hundred Cases of Huaiyang Cuisine with Pictures and Text, Huaiyang Flavor Series, Chinese Huaiyang Cuisine and the like. The most prominent one is Chinese Huaiyang Cuisine with complete cases, beautifully decorated and packaged, possessing authority and artistic property. It has been praised by Chairman Jiang Zemin and Chinese cooking field. The provincial government also conferred it the Philosophy and Social Science Achievement of the year.

In recent years, the presses such as Beijing Publishing House, China Light Industry Press, Jindun Publishing House, Shanghai Publishing House, Jilin Publishing House, Anhui Publishing House, Jiangsu Publishing House, Qingdao Publishing House and the like have published books on Huaiyang Cuisine. In 1999, the Municipal Cuisine Association recommended representative of Yangzhou Municipal Cuisine Association to Beijing to give a talk on food culture in Tell It Like It Is of CCTV together with the representatives of Sichuan, Shandong and Cantonese Cuisine.

2. Food literature

The scholars from Yangzhou and that dwelled in Yangzhou wrote a large amount of poetry on diet, praising Yangzhou Cuisine. After the preliminary sorting of the Municipal Cuisine Association, the poems and lyrics on diet amount to over one hundred. The famous authors include Li Bai, Ouyang Xiu, Su Shi, Huang Tingjian, Qin Guan, Saduci, Kong Shangren, Zheng Banqiao, Yuan Mei, Liang Zhangju and the like. Scholars of from Yangzhou commented the dishes with a profound insight, such as the illustration of Zheng Xie on idyllic clearness and the return to nature and the discussion of Li Shan on stewing taros and the like.

3. Food stories

Food event in Yangzhou is rich in cultural texture. Liu Yuxi and Bai Juyi of Tang Dynasty drank wine and wrote poems in Yangzhou, leaving the famous lines “A thousand sails pass by the wrecked ship and ten thousands of young saplings shoot up beside the withered tree”. The allusion of “Fanhouzhong” and “Bishalong” in Mulan Court by Wang Bo fully depicted the hypocrisy and snobbishness in the society. Ouyang Xiu of Song Dynasty held a banquet and transferred the lotus and cup to drink wine with the guests, which become an admiring story in the circle of literature. In early Qing Dynasty, the “Red Bridge Gathering” of Wang Shizhen, Kong Shangren and Lu Yayu followed the residual customs of drinking water from a winding canal with one wine cup floating on it as so to let it wash away among a gathered crowd. When Lu Yayu wrote his album of poems at the Red Bridge, more than seven thousand people joined him, this becomes a good story. Gatherings through poems and wine in garden occurred one after another such as Yangzhou Mashi Cute Mountain Restaurant, travelers’ asylum, Chengshi Little Garden, Zhengshi Leisure Garden, Zhangshi Garden, Zhaoshi South Garden, the chrysanthemum and orchid appreciating of “Eight Eccentricities of Yangzhou”. Banquet in Yangzhou gaily-painted pleased boat cruising in the lake between the mountains generates a poetic and picturesque impression.

4. Food customs

Yangzhou has unique cuisine customs, such as festival and cultural cuisine customs, local cultural cuisine customs and etiquette cuisine customs, etc. It is a representative of the cuisine customs of Huaiyang region. The daily cuisine customs for the four seasons are different. There are customs in the Spring Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Lantern Festival, the starting point of summer, Summer Solstice, starting point of autumn, Chongyang, Laba, Qingming, Winter Solstice and the like. There are also usage based cuisine customs on housekeep, banquet, wedding, birthday party, funeral, fiesta and the like.

II. The profound influence of Huaiyang Cuisine

Yangzhou is the cradle of Huaiyang Cuisine.  The “Three Knives” of Yangzhou are famous both home and abroad, therein the “kitchen knife” that represents Yangzhou cooking ranks the top. Since Ming Dynasty, Yangzhou cooking has become the important industry of Yangzhou. Yangzhou provides cooking talents to the country constantly and Yangzhou Cuisine is famous around the country and the world.

1. One of the major schools both home and abroad

Quite a lot of Yangzhou chefs open restaurants or work as chef in other provinces. During Ming and Qing Dynasty, Yangzhou chefs opened Huaiyang restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Xi’an and the like. The restaurant “Laobanzhai” and the like in Shanghai characterized by Yangzhou Cuisine have a history of one hundred years. Since late Qing Dynasty till 1949, there were over one hundred restaurants with Yangzhou flavor in Shanghai. In the early years of the period of the Republic of China, ten thousands of Yangzhou chefs assumed as chefs in other provinces. There are many restaurants with Yangzhou flavor (also named Huaiyang Cuisine and Yangbang Cuisine) in big and medium cities all around the country, for example: Huaiyang restaurants are set in top-grade restaurants such as Hilton, China World Trade Center of Beijing and the like. Huaiyang Cuisine restaurants are scattered all around regions such as East China, North China, South China, Northwest China and the like. Yangzhou Fried Rice is especially highly popularized. About half of the counties and cities all around the country supply Yangzhou Fried Rice. “Yangzhou Fried Rice” is also widely scattered in each overseas Chinese restaurant. In 2004, the United Nations recommended Yangzhou Fried Rice as the globally famous rice brand. Many restaurants with Yangzhou Cuisine are opened overseas. Almost all major developed countries set Yangzhou restaurants. Yangzhou native Cheng Zhengchang opened about several hundred of chain stores of restaurants dominated with Huaiyang Cuisine in USA and the like. At present, restaurants of Huaiyang Cuisine are opened in 136 countries and regions. Huaiyang flavor has become one of the main schools of Chinese restaurants both home and abroad.

2. The important position of Huaiyang flavor

In Ming Dynasty, the posts of imperial chef of the royal family were often taken by Yangzhou natives. Two thirds of Man-Han Banquet of Qing Dynasty was Huaiyang Cuisine.  There were Yangzhou chefs in the imperial kitchen of Qing Dynasty. When Kangxi and Qianlong patrolled southwards, they brought many Yangzhou chefs to the imperial kitchen. During the period of the Republic of China, most of the home chefs of senior officials were Yangzhou natives. After the emancipation, apart from that the First Banquet in Honor of the Foundation of China was dominated by Huaiyang Cuisine. Huaiyang restaurants are set in Peking Restaurant, the Great Hall of the People, DIAOYUTAI STATE GUESTHOUSE. Huaiyang Cuisine is also one of the major schools for dishes for the embassies of the People’s Republic of China in foreign countries. In the early 50s of the 20th century, over 500 chefs were called in from Yangzhou for working in state organs, provincial government and embassies in foreign countries.

3. The development and popularization of Huaiyang Cuisine

There are over 1, 400 catering enterprises in Yangzhou at the present time, therein 1 is special national catering enterprise, over 60 are special municipal catering enterprises, over 100 are catering enterprises of Grade 1 and over 400 are catering enterprises of Grade 2. Over 6, 000 professional chefs engage in catering industry, therein 20 are Chinese cooking masters, ten are senior cooking technician, several hundreds are technicians and several thousands are senior chefs.

The culinary craftsmanship of Huaiyang Cuisine is constantly innovated and developing. In recent years, the good reputation of the traditional flavor of the original Huaiyang restaurants such as Fuchun Teahouse, YANGZHOU STATE GUESTHOUSE, Yangzhou Xiyuan Hotel, Yangzhou Garden International Hotel, New Century Hotel, Shiweitian Holiday Hotel, Fumanlou Hotel and the like spreads far and wide. In the meanwhile when Huaiyang Cuisine maintains the basic flavor, bold innovation in the process and the like is conducted and a large group of novel dishes is pushed out. Yangzhou chefs research on the combination of dishes. Following “Qianlong Banquet”, “Banquet of Three Heads”, “Banquet of Red Chamber”, in recent years, they sort the banquets such as “the Best Banquet of Chinese Man-Han Banquet”, “Banqiao Banquet”, “Wangshi Family Banquet”, “Muslin Banquet”, “Chunhui Banquet”, “Three-Tail Banquet”, “Eight Eccentric Artists Themed Banquet” and the like. Some restaurants return to nature, sort and develop some home cooking dishes and make them popular dishes. Candidates from Yangzhou successively won Gold Cup and Gold Medal in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th National Cooking Competition, International Chinese Cooking Contest and Innovative Dish Contest.

In recent years, Huaiyang Cuisine strengthens its communication with the outside world. Professors and experts in culinary arts sequentially visit countries such as Japan, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, France and the like to lecture and communicate there, scores of masters go to France, USA, Japan, Southeast Asia, Beijing, Shanghai, Jinan, Qingdao, Xiamen, Taiyuan, Xi’an, Luoyang, Nanjing, Hong Kong and the like to perform the cooking skills and win a good reputation from the local governments and the press. Huaiyang Food Festival has been held in Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, Jinan, Hong Kong and the like.

III. Education and research on Yangzhou cooking

Yangzhou is one of the cities that have advanced education on culinary education all around the country and the base that foster Huaiyang cooking talents in the country. At present, there are nine cooking schools. Therein two are university and junior college-- Tourism and Cuisine College of Yangzhou University and Jiangsu Yangzhou Business Higher Vocational School; three are technical school and technical secondary schools—Yangzhou Living Technology School, YANGZHOU TECHNICAL VOCATIONAL COLLEGE and Yangzhou Elite Cooking School; three are training centers—Yangzhou Cooking Training Center of National Party School, Training Center of College for the Aged and Labor Training Center. Besides, both Yangzhou Vocational University and the Open University of Yangzhou have provided junior college level cooking classes. According to the incomplete statistics, each year Yangzhou educates 300 cooking learners higher than junior college level, 800 technical secondary school students and constantly provides to the country talents of culinary education and skills. Since the initial years of the 70s, it has cultivated about 3, 000 junior college students, over 7,000 junior college students and technical secondary students (vocational secondary students) and trains over than 100, 000 chefs. Since the initial years of the 70s, it has cultivated and trained over 400 senior and junior cooks for departments that are directly governed by the central government entrusted by government offices administration of the central state organs and many leaders from the central government have Yangzhou chefs to work with them engaging in cooking.

Yangzhou let the cooking talents play their full role and enhance the skills, techniques and practice along the direction of theoretical research. Jiangsu Cooking Research Institute is set in Yangzhou. There is a public magazine on academic theory of cooking Culinary Science Journal of Yangzhou University (Originally named Chinese Cuisine Research). Yangzhou Municipal Cuisine Association and the Tourism and Cuisine College of Yangzhou University hold cooking salon regularly to communicate their theory and experience and discuss their skills in cooking and learn from each other. CHINA CUISINE ASSOCIATION also entrusted Culinary Science Journal of Yangzhou University with the journal of the Association Information on Chinese Cooking.

 
  • Bureau of Commerce
  • Add: No.18 Wenchang Road Of YangzhouCity International Trade Building
    Tel: 0514-87859332