This dish is made by Master Cheng Ruming for Chairman Mao Zedong using finely selected raw materials and a cooking method without soy sauce as a condiment. In his childhood years, Mao Zedong’s family ran a soy sauce workshop. One day in summer, Mao incidentally witnessed the soy sauce fermentation process and saw little organisms (maggots) which he felt disgusting. Ever since then he had no idea of using soy sauce. When Cheng Ruming was General Chief Chef for Mao Zedong, he twice made braised pork with soy sauce for Mao but the dishes were both returned. In that period of time, a chef who serves a state leader might be replaced if his dishes were returned more than twice. Nervous, Cheng asked Chairman Mao why he did not like the braised pork he made when he was in company with Mao in walking in Yuquan Mountain one day. Laughing, Mao told him the reason. Cheng realized why Chairman Mao disliked soy sauce and kept this in mind. Ever since then, Cheng tried hard and created braised pork without soy sauce and served it to Chairman Mao for 22 years. It immediately became a favorite dish of Mao for its good taste, brightness, and flavor. That’s the origin of today’s wonderful Family Cheng’s Braised Pork and also the authenticity icon of Family Cheng’s Banquet.
This dish is a historical and cultural dish created by Master Cheng Ruming. In 1961, Chairman Mao Zedong met in Wuhan with Mr. Montgomery, a British Marshall in World War II. The two strategists had an extensive and cheerful conversation which went beyond the original time schedule. Chairman Mao happily asked Marshall to have dinner together. Chief Chef Cheng Ruming began to prepare for the banquet. Very soon, a rich state banquet was presented on table. Among all the dishes, Cheese Shrimp Rolls, with features of both Chinese and Western cuisines, attracted great interest and attention from both the host and the guest. The shrimps are made of four big prawns caught in the Bohai Sea intermingled with cheese. Crispy on the surface and tender inside, the shrimp rolls give out extensive cheese aroma and are extremely delicious! The two great men never stopped praising the dish during the banquet. At the end of the dinner, Marshall Montgomery, in his 70s, mentioned again how delicious the dish was. Chairman Mao happily commented “Cheng Ruming has really superb cooking skills!” This dish stands for the tough appearance and warm heart of Chinese soldiers. It is called Family Cheng’s Marshall Shrimp on the menu of Chengfuyan as it is enjoyed by the Marshall and complimented by Chairman Mao.
This dish is one classical Family Cheng’s dish. In June 1956, Chairman Mao swam in the Yangtze River twice in Wuhan. Relaxed and reinvigorated, he took up a brush and wrote the famous poem Prelude to Water Melody-Swimming “I drank Changsha water just now. Now I am eating Wuchang fish……” The delicious Wuchang Fish mentioned in this poem was first-handedly made by Cheng Ruming! It is also the most proud and touching moments of his entire life and is still admired by later generations. In June 1956, Cheng Ruming accompanied Chairman Mao to Wuhan on his special train. When the train was at stop in Changsha, the local government gave two fresh Wuchang fishes to Chairman Mao. Ready to cook the fishes, Cheng Ruming was told that Chairman Mao was about to go to Wuhan, so he put the fishes into a primitive refrigerator made by himself. When the special train arrived at Wuhan, Cheng got off the train following Chairman Mao. When Mao proposed to have meal, Cheng took out the two fishes and made a dish together with Zisu (purple perilla) and a small amount of cooking liquor and salt, etc. The fish in rich soup tasted very fresh, light, and tasty. Chairman Mao liked it very much and wrote this poem which later became well-known home and abroad. After a few rounds of revision, the poem was officially published in 1957. This dish is called Family Cheng’s Zisu Wuchang Fish on the menu of Chengfuyan.
This is the most featured soup on the menu of Family Cheng’s Banquet. The basis is soup made of chicken 5 years old. The light soup tastes like tea, with aroma lingering in mouth. A piece of bean curd is made with 108 cuts, resulting in the same depth and the same thickness. Put into the soup, the bean curd blossoms like a silver chrysanthemum, fully demonstrating the superb skills of the chefs of Family Cheng’s Banquet. The 108 cuts have special meaning: in mathematics, 1 plus 8 is 9, and the number 9 in ancient time is an imperial number used only by the royal family.
This dish is a dish created by Cheng Ruming when he was working in Juhecheng Restaurant in Tianjin in early years. In Feb. 1972, then American President Nixon and his wife visited China. Designated by Chairman Mao Zedong and his wife, Cheng made 3 dishes for the evening banquet for the President and his wife on Presidential Building No.18 in Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. The President liked the dishes very much and praised Cheng for his cooking expertise. This dish is the main one among the three. In 1980s, this dish also appeared on the banquet table when Comrade Hu Yaobang was treating Mr. Pavarotti in Zhongnanhai. Pavarotti also enthusiastically praised this dish!
As a spokesman for contemporary state banquets, this dish is a favorite of both Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou Enlai. With finely selected ingredients (the ratio of fat to lean meat is 4:6 in winter and 3:7 in summer) and sophisticated cooking procedures, this dish tastes fatty but not greasy, refreshing but not excessively pleasing. In 1960s and 1970s, Premier Zhou Enlai only treated important foreign heads of state and guests with this dish. In everyday life, Chairman Mao would also ask Cheng to make this dish for him as he switched between different flavors from time to time. It is called Family Cheng’s Lion Head on the menu of Family Cheng’s Banquet.
In the evening of April 30th, 2010, President Hu Jintao and his wife held a reception dinner prior to the opening ceremony of Shanghai World Expo to treat presidents and other state leaders of foreign countries. In the banquet, a beef dish became a favorite as it is stylish, tasty and tender. It is made of specially supplied beef and sophisticated cooking procedures. Not only loved by Western guests, it is also highly accepted by Chinese distinguished guests for its high quality, long-lasting taste, and tender texture. After the banquet, this beef dish was introduced into Zhongnanhai and became a new member of the state banquet menu.
As regard for cold appetizers in a state banquet, the emphasis is on nutrition balance, combination of vegetables and meats, and combination of different colors. The number of primary and secondary ingredients may be 5, 7, and 9. A cold appetizer with 9 ingredients is reserved for the most respected person as 9 is the paramount number in the Chinese culture. Cold appetizers are supplemented with self-made Family Cheng sauce, and can be consumed together with butter and bread.