Yuyuan autumn banquet beckons foreign foodies

Yuyuan Garden Malls present a mid-autumn banquet especially for tourists from abroad.
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Yuyuan Garden Malls' Mid-Autumn banquet was created to delight tourists from abroad.

Yuyuan Garden Malls yesterday presented their mid-autumn banquet aimed at tourists from overseas.

The Osmanthus Banquet was put together with neighboring Suzhou's Songhelou Restaurant, established in 1735. It will be served in the Beaufort Terrace until Mid-Autumn Festival, on September 24 this year.

Nine traditional Suzhou dishes will be on the menu, including squirrel-shaped, sweet-and-sour mandarin fish and tea shrimp, both said to be among Emperor Qianlong’s (1711-1799) favorites.

Jitoumi (chicken head rice) cooked with sugar and dried osmanthus, is a traditional festival treat in Suzhou. The rice is a treasured ingredient in the Jiangnan region — areas south of the Yangtze River — not only because of its unique flavor, but also for the intensive labor required to harvest it.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A foreign guest samples some of the dishes on offer.

The pork mooncake is handmade by senior chefs from Suzhou in the time-honored way that cannot be reproduced by machine.

Chinese classical music will accompany the feast. Kunqu Opera, Han Chinese clothing shows and a tea ceremony will be performed.

Beaufort Terrace is an opera house in the style of the original in Yuyuan Garden which was built in 1559. 

Private opera troupes performed in the garden for owner Pan Yunduan, a high government official of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) who built the garden as a gift to his parents.

Dining and shopping facilities near the historic garden originated from the prosperous market of the City God Temple some 140 years ago. Other events planned for the autumn will focus on City God culture and help revive the traditions of the season.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The banquet incorporates traditional Suzhou dishes and performances.

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