Goat meat on the menu as cultural festival starts

The 10th Zhangze Goat Meat Culture Festival kicked off in Songjiang's Yexie Town and will last till October 8.
Jiang Huihui / Ti Gong

The 50-year-old chef at Zhangze Mutton Manor, Zhang Xinmei, cooks up a Zhangze goat meat feast for customers. 

The 10th Zhangze Goat Meat Culture Festival kicked off in Songjiang’s Yexie Town and will last till October 8.

As an old saying goes in the Zhangze area, “A plate of goat meat and a cup of spirits let you feel you are like an immortal sitting leisurely on a dock.”

It’s a tradition among Zhangze people to eat a plate of nutritious pulpy goat meat while drinking a cup of spirits during the dog days of summer. To honor the tradition, a goat meat culture festival was launched in 2009.

“During the peak days of the past several years, our restaurant would serve 500 to 600 customers daily,” said Lin Weiying, general manager of Zhangze Goat Meat Manor.

At the opening ceremony of this year’s goat meat culture festival on July 8, a group of straw dragon dancers were invited to perform a rainmaking ritual. Bamboo weavers were also present to show their skill at making bamboo baskets and plates.

Wang Mian, president of Songjiang literary federation and author of essay “Goat meat and Spirits,” was at the ceremony. Wang said quite a few seniors in Zhangze area held a habit for decades of keeping fit by eating goat meat and drinking spirits early in the morning.

“Goat meat, usually considered a tonic food for winter, offers its benefits when eaten in the sultry summer days. After exposing themselves in an air-conditioned room for a long time, people may feel muscle or knuckle ache, or even show irritable bowel syndrome. At this time eating some goat meat may warm the body and ease the blood system,” said Lin.

In 2017 the art of cooking Zhangze goat meat, which has a history of more than 700 years, was listed among the sixth batch of intangible cultural heritage of Songjiang District.

The habit of eating goat meat in Songjiang area is considered to be formed during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) when Mongolian people took control of the country.

Sha Quan, the Mongolian general leading his troops south to Songjiang, was regarded as a good official by locals because he forbade his officers to kill or rob locals. He and groups of Mongolian officials migrating to the south and settling down in Songjiang brought their custom of goat meat consumption to the area. Zhangze was selected by Sha Quan as a region to breed goats in a large scale.

This year a competition to create a logo for the goat meat culture festival was held in June and a green cartoon sheep with a roly-poly figure was selected as its mascot. 

Jiang Huihui / Ti Gong

People perform a straw dragon dance, which originated in Yexie Town, during the festival’s opening ceremony.

Date: July 8-October 8

Zhangze Goat Meat Manor


Tel: 5788-3777

Address: 105 Zhuting Rd S.


Lu Ming Cun


Tel: 3352-2727

Address: 196 Renmin Rd N.


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