Luoyang Water Banquet
The water banquet had its origin in Luoyang ,where the climate is dry. People like drinking soups and cooking dishes with starch, Chinese yam, radish and Chinese cabbage. The rich families in ancient times also like cooking a lot of things together. Therefore, local cooking style and cuisines preferred the taste which is sour, spicy and fresh.
The water banquet has two explanations. One is that each dish is inseparable from the soup. The other is that the hot dishes are eaten one by one, like flowing water. The banquet has 24 dishes, including eight cold dishes, four big dishes, eight middle dishes and four closing dishes. There are meat dishes and vegetables with varied tastes, such as sour, spicy, sweet and salty. Hot dishes are accompanied by soups, chicken, duck, fish and pork, fresh vegetables and mushrooms. These are cut into different shapes and cooked via different ways.
The Eight Pre-banquet Dishes represent Empress Wu Zetian's eight achievements in the Tang Dynasty. They range from people's lives to culture and art. The eight dishes include four meat dishes and four vegetable dishes. They are presented in the shapes and images of flowers and birds with beautiful colors and amazing designs.
The four representative dishes are Peony Yan Dish, Carp with Scallion (carps are from the Yellow River flows via Mengjin), Meat with Preserved Beancurd and Dried Shrimps with Chinese Cabbage.
Eight Big Dishes include five dishes as the first batch and three dishes as the second batch. The first batch includes Quick Three Dish, Wuliu Fish, Fish Essence and chicken. The second batch includes three sweet dishes.
The four closing dishes include meat balls and squids. In Chinese, the pronunciation of meat balls is similar with that of 'finished'. According to legend stories, the meat balls were the last dish that Wu Zetian ate in her last meal. She then sighed and understood that everything was too late to change.