Many famous Chinese dishes have stories attached to them that are as entertaining to diners as the dishes themselves are satisfying to the taste buds. Most of the stories involve noted figures in Chinese history.
Wuliu Fish or Five-Willow-leaf Fish is a popular traditional dish in South China’s Sichuan Province. It is said to have been invented by Du Fu,a famous poet in the Tang Dynasty. That was in 760 when chaos overran the country and life was terribly hard. One day, an old friend came to pay him a visit. Du Fu was delighted as it had been a long time since they had last seen each other. But he was also worried that he could not afford a decent meal for his friend. By coincidence, a member of his family brought home a big carp caught in a nearby stream. Du Fu was overjoyed. He went to the kitchen and cooked the fish himself. At dinner, his friend was amazed by the delicious fish. He asked Du Fu what the dish was called. Du Fu examined the fish carefully and noticed the colorful lines running along its back. They looked like willow leaves, which gave him an idea for its name. “How about calling it Wuliu Fish?” His friend thought the name was very appropriate. Wuliu means five willow leaves. Later, When Du Fu became famous, the dish became popular in china.
Now let’s turn to a pork dish.In Hangzhou in East china’s Zhejiang Province, there is a well-known dish called Dongpo Meat. It is named after su Dongpo, a literary giant who lived about 900 years ago.The story is that when he was the prefectural governor of Hang zhou,he had a dam built across the West Lake.The lake was dredged and became a rich source of irrigation for the farmland,thus making it possible for the local people to have a bumper harvest each year. The dam is now known as the sudi Dam.
When the spring Festival arrived, many folks went to Su Dongpo’s home to wish him Happy New Year. They took along pork and wine to show their thanks. Su Dongpo accepted the gifts. But then he and the meat cooked in a special way and sent it on to the families of the people who had worked on the West Lake dredging project.The local people greatly praised su dongpo for this good deed and named the dish Dongpo Meat. One restaurant manager was very quick to capitalize on the name. When he saw how popular the dish proved, he asked his cook to prepare the meat in the same way. His business soon flourished. Of course, other restaurants began to copy him. Before long, Dongpo Meat was available in every restaurant in Hangzhou. Soon, Dongpo Meat ranked first on the list of local dishes. Even today, when people there hold a feast,Dongpo Meat is still often featured.