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China eyes UNESCO listing for Confucius cuisine

Xinhua | Updated: 2015-10-20 10:31

China eyes UNESCO listing for Confucius cuisine

The family cuisine of ancient philosopher Confucius. [Photo/]

China is preparing a bid for the family cuisine of ancient philosopher Confucius to be listed as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, experts said on Sunday during a food conference in East China's Qufu.

A committee for the standardization of Confucius family cuisine was established and officially launched preparations for the UNESCO application during the ongoing 5th Asian Food Study Conference in the ancient thinker's hometown.

"It will take at least three years to prepare before we file the application to UNESCO," said Liu Deguang, director of the committee, adding that the committee plans to hire special teams to collect historical materials and promote standardized production.

The family cuisine of Confucius developed as a result of frequent visits by China's emperors, high-ranking officials and other distinguished guests to Confucius' home. Many banquets, ceremonies and royal commemorations were held there, giving the family the opportunity to develop its own style of formal cuisine.

The time- and labor-intensive cuisine has been challenged by modern technology and requires preservation, experts said.

"Cooking Confucius family cuisine is complex, labor-intensive and demands great attention to detail," said chef Wang Lingtao.

The most complex banquet in Confucius family cuisine consists of 196 dishes, including six cold dishes such as braised sea cucumber and stir-fried seasonal vegetables. They are served on special silvered porcelain plates, and dining etiquette and manners have been passed down by Confucius' descendants for more than 2,000 years, according to Wang.

In ancient times, chefs at the Confucius Mansion passed on cooking skills and recipes only to their descendants or apprentices. But now experts believe the recipes should be made public so they can be preserved.

Confucius (551-479 BC) is regarded as one of China's most influential sages. Some of his ideas about food and diet played a significant role in the development of Chinese food culture.

Confucius family cuisine was included as part of China's national intangible cultural heritage in June 2011.


A display of traditional Chinese dishes at the Asian Food Study Conference

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