Mouth-watering imperial food served in Nanjing. Wait, are they edible?
On February 7, 2011, 108 dishes were prepared in Nanjing as a lite version of the feast. But one can barely discern that these dishes consist entirely of stones and no other ingredient unless he strains his eyes.
48-year-old Zhang Junxiang is a rockhound. He said in 1997, he stumbled upon a stone on his business trip to Shangdong Province. The stone looked extraordinarily beautiful and too perfect to be true, even though it was indeed a masterpiece of Mother Nature. Since then, he has been collecting gemstones and minerals of all kinds.
The “Manchu Han Imperial Feast” made up of by his collection contains entrees like “streaky pork,” “cured meat,” “Crystal Hock,” “meatballs” as well as snacks such as “mung beans” and “chocolate,” and “melon seeds.”
Manchu Han Imperial Feast was one of the grandest meals ever documented in Chinese cuisine. It consisted of at least 108 unique dishes from the Manchu and Han Chinese culture during the Qing Dynasty, and it is only reserved and intended for the emperors.
Very few modern day Chinese have the means or the dough to savor the expensive feast, and even if they do, the feast is downsized and simplified without any exception, for not only have many food materials used in the original feast, such as elephant trunk, monkey brain, and leopard placenta, become too gory and/or legally banned, some of ancient culinary arts failed to be handed down and have been lost.
The collection is on display in Nanjing’s stone museum.