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Jing Su’ Cuisine Listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage

Date: 2013-03-10

On February 22, 2013, the ‘Jing Su (Jiangsu) Cuisine Preparation Techniques’ were officially included in the Nanjing Municipal Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Representatives from local authorities awarded the gild plate to the Nanjing Grand Group.

As recorded in history, even during the Tsing Dynasty, there appeared the Jing Su Cuisine in Nanjing. ‘Jing’ refers to the ancient capital city of Nanjing, while ‘Su’ stands for the Province of Jiangsu in which Nanjing is located. This type of cuisine is renowned for its nobleness, elegance, glamour and great taste. The Nanjing local gourmet food culture has been formed as a result of rich food production, convenient transportation and trade, colorful cultural heritage, and delicate social and folk customs.

In history, the Jing Su cuisine was mainly consumed by the elite and officials. Its unique features have included carefully selected raw materials, delicate cutting and preparing, original soup and taste, an emphasis on different seasons, a well-balanced flavor, etc. As far as cooking is concerned, the best known dishes are made from wild vegetables and ducks.

The Jing Su cuisine has also a branch with a high-sounding name – the ‘Republic’ period cuisine. This school of cooking is based upon Jing Su and at the same time blends outside influences. The common features of these two types of cuisine are those of carefully picked materials, delicate cooking, time-consuming in cooking, etc. and they both demand very high in table setting and decoration, perfect serving order of different dishes, as well as service skills of the attendants.

In 2012, the city of Nanjing began to promote two local cultural brand names: the Republic period cuisine and Qinhuai River snacks, in an effort to enhance the level of food and beverage industry as well as the city image. The Nanjing Grand Hotel was right at the center of organizing, research and development of the event, aiming at publicizing the brand-name, invigorating the local culinary industry and adding one more cultural name-tag to this historic city.

The listing of Jing Su Cuisine in the intangible cultural heritage is a symbol of the cultural influence and liveliness of local food, as well as its timelessness. According to some reports, the listing is going to be upgraded to the Provincial level in the near future.