Chinese foodBeijing Roast Duck
It is often said that if you are in Beijing, there are essentially two things that you must do; one is to climb the Great Wall of China, and the other is to eat Peking Duck. Once confined to the kitchens of the palace, the legendary Peking Duck is now served at thousands of restaurants around Beijing, as well as around the world.
The origin of the Peking Duck dates back to the Ming Dynasty, about 600 years ago. Cooks from all over China travelled to the capital Beijing to cook for the Emperor. It was a prestigious occupation as only the best chefs could enter the palace kitchens. A top cook was even able to reach the rank of a minister!
It was in these kitchens where dishes of exceptional quality such as the Peking Duck were first created and crafted to perfection by palace chefs. However, many of the recipes for such "foods of the Emperor" were later smuggled out of the kitchen and onto the streets of Beijing. With the eventual fall of the Ching dynasty in 1911, court chefs who left the Forbidden City set up restaurants around Beijing and brought Peking Duck and other delicious dishes to the masses.
In the winter season, when chilly temperatures and frigid winds prevail over the land, people like to eat food that instantly warms their bodies and lifts their spirits. For that, the hot pot is a delicious and hearty choice. Families or groups of friends sit around a table and eat from a steaming pot in the middle, cooking and drinking and chatting. Eating hot pot is not a passive activity: diners must select morsels of prepared raw food from plates scattered around the table, place them in the pot, wait for them to cook, fish them out of the soup, dip them in the preferred sauce, and then eat them hot, fresh, and tender. They can also ladle up the broth from the pot and drink it.The high temperature in the hot pot is symbolic of the warmth of tender feeling that those people sitting around it have for each other, while the round shape of the apparatus is a hint at the lack or complete absence of irregularities in the man-to-man relationship. Undoubtedly, this way of eating is not only a figurative embodiment but a visual indication of the willingness to eat from the same pot and to share the same lot. This is the most highly prized merit of group consciousness.
The hot pot is not only a cooking method; it also provides a way of eating. It is not only a dietary mode; it is also a cultural mode. As a dietary mode, the hot pot can be used by many people dining together, or by one person eating alone. Yet how few are those solitary diners to be found in a restaurant! In a hot pot restaurant it's really hard to meet with a customer dining by him/herself. This is not because the diner wants to economize, but because dining by oneself in front of a hot pot is devoid of interest and joy.