The origin of Beijing Cuisine

Mention Beijing cuisine, the first name that comes to your mind is probably Peking Duck. Actually, this typical dish reflects the origin of Beijing cuisine. Dishes in Beijing cuisine that are served as main courses are mostly from other Chinese cuisines, thanks to the city's history.

Beijing was the capital city for the Liao(907–1125), Jin(1115–1234), Yuan(1271–1368), Ming(1368–1644), and Qing (1636–1911) dynasties in Chinese history. The catering scene was deeply influenced by the eating habits of the ruling class. Most of the cuisines brought by the imperial family and officials continued to serve the privileged few and throughout time developed into so called Imperial Cuisine and Aristocrat Cuisine.

Islamic cuisine was first prominently introduced when Beijing became the capital of the Yuan Dynasty. The imperial clan of the Ming Dynasty came from Jiangsu in southern China, the birthplace of Huaiyang cuisine. And, the most significant contribution to the formation of Beijing cuisine came from Shandong cuisine, as many skilled chefs from Shandong province came to Beijing during the Qing Dynasty.

Beijing cuisine has been much influenced by culinary traditions from all over China. Dishes had to be created that combined the southern and northern cuisines. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to determine the actual origin of a dish. For example, Peking Duck is roasted in Huaiyang style to emphasize the color and taste, then seasoned with fermented flour sauce, and eaten with onions and pancakes baked Shandong style.

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