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Chinese Hangzhou Cuisine Museum

by Jacqueline M. Newman


Winter Volume: 2012 Issue: 19(4) page(s): 23

This very special museum is on the east side of Jiang-yang-fan Ecological Park in Hangzhou (see the map). The museum property is nearly an acre and a half and museum itself has three floors, one is underground. This Anhui-style building opened March 20 in 2012.

Taking three years to complete, this museum shows off Hangzhou's five thousand years of China's ten-thousand-year food history. It is an important place telling about food eaten by one and one-third billion people. In it one sees China's food production and living history, eating customs and behaviors, and the social aspects of the country's and the region's food service.

The chief designer, Prof. Zhao Rongguang, is a renowned scholar of Chinese food culture and history. He made this museum the soul of food science and food history. Visiting here provides education and enjoyment among its scientific, authentic, accurate, and dramatic exhibitions.

The museum consists of four sections. The core area is one titled: Professional Showroom. It has these main exhibitions:

Ancient Qiantang: Culture of Fish in Rice Fields: From Hangzhou Pre-Qin (221 – 206 BCE) food culture to the Southern Dynasties (420 – 589 CE);
Southern End of China’s Grand Canal: Paradise on Earth: During the Sui and Tang Dynasties (581 – 907 CE);
Empire Metropolis: Song and Dance Around West Lake: During the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 CE);
Dialogue about the Table Increases Between China and the West: In the Yuan and Ming Dynasties (1279 – 1644 CE)
Particularly Distinctive in Xiajiang Area: Fame Around China: The Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 CE);
Judging Food Is like Commenting on Poems: China’s gastronome Yuan Mei (1716 – 1798 CE);
Beautiful Scenery and Delicious Food: The food service industry in the Republic of China (1912 – 1949 CE); and,
Paradise of Delicacy with Reputation Around World: In the new era (since 1949).

These exhibitions, in Professional Showroom, traces Hangzhou cuisine with nearly three hundred dishes made with silica gel and more than one hundred pots, pans and bowls unearthed over the years. All the foodstuffs were, some still are, in daily use, some specialties not as popular as before. Shown in scenes, colorful videos, and funny interactive games, the museum displays a spectacular feast, and tells the history of their consumption.

Some well-known historical banquets such as Man-Han feasts are discussed including one royal one served when Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong toured Hangzhou. There is also a video hall and a library are arranged to learn more of their details; others, too.

This museum allows visitors to taste Hangzhou delicacies, take cooking lessons, and enjoy other activities. The Qiantang Kitchen displays the folklore of Hangzhou Cuisine with displays of cookery and tableware from the Song Dynasty. There is a place to get souvenir prints, an area for chopsticks culture, an interactive room to learn and make desserts and dim sum, and books, multimedia, and more detailing still more information.

Taste of Hangzhou and the Dongpo Pavilions share other Hangzhou specialties. Thirty-four related dining room themes are shown, each its own style with fascinating dining experiences, each related to a historical person's own story. They bring particular culinary tasting information and personal enjoyment, so do visit it at: No.9 Fenghuang Mountain Rd. in Hangzhou, in the Zhejiang Province of China. To get there using public transportation, take city bus 62, 194, 527, 808, or 822 and you will reach this culinary delight!

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