Sichuan Cuisine Museum
Updated: 2012-04-12 16:04
Museum of Sichuan Cuisine in Chengdu.[Photo/cntv.cn]
Sichuan Cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its bold flavor of spiciness featuring the liberal use of garlic, chili peppers and peppercorns, which combine to make a real sensation in one's mouth.
Well, guess you know what our Host Yin Chen's up to today for the museum series - It's the Sichuan Cuisine Museum! Time now to follow her for an exploration in the Museum of Sichuan Cuisine in Chengdu, where she's learned that having a good appetite is just the first step into the world of gastronomy.
I am in a museum right now, and I'm learning something about the Sichuan Cuisine. This is a very unique museum, dedicated to Sichuan Cuisine, one of the most popular cuisine around China. Here we're going to explore all the different aspects of the cuisine, to satisfy your curiosity and also your taste buds.
Here in the kitchen, open to visitors for a close view of the entire cooking process, I'm encouraged to make a hands-on practice---to chop the garlic, which is one of the most prominent ingredients of Sichuan cuisine.
There's arguably no better way to know more about a cuisine than learning how to cook it yourself.
It seems these Israeli tourists are pretty happy with the Mapo Tofu they made.
Of course the museum is not just about the cooking only. A stroll in the spacious compound, I'm attracted by not only the delicate arrangement of greens in the garden, but also the museum's wealthy collection of ancient relics that are closely associated with foods.
Sichuan, in Southwest China, is known as "heavenly country", due to its abundance of food and natural resources. The history of Sichuan Cuisine is vividly reflected through the unearthed relics being displayed in the museum. From dining utensils and food containers, to clay figures of chefs, every item tells visitors a "Spicy story".
According to historical records, the emperors of the Qin Dynasty more than two thousand years ago prompted two coarse migrations from central China to Sichuan, resulting in the amalgamation of various cultures. The advent of advanced technology introduced by new-comers enriched Sichuan Cuisine with more cooking materials, exotic seasonings, and new cooking techniques. This laid a solid foundation for the later popularity of Sichuan dishes.
The development of Sichuan Cuisine is also boosted by the demanding literati and celebrities in olden times. To meet the needs of picky diners, chefs back then had to rack their brains improving and working out new dishes.
Look at these two long rolls of huge containers. I give you a clue: Containers like these have been around since the ancient times here in Sichuan. They are a very important part of the local cuisine. And inside what we store is the preserved vegetables that Sichuan people enjoy so much. They are made with special water and special salt of the local area to give a unique flavor. Hi sir! Could we take a look at the food preserved inside?
Sichuan cuisine often contains food preserved through pickling, salting, and drying. And that explains why vases and jars for preserved foods are a must-have in almost every household in Sichuan.
The Sichuan Cuisine Museum is financially supported by a private fund. Gou De, curator of the museum, shares with us his momentum of establishing a themed museum devoted to Sichuan dishes.
Gou De, curator of Museum of Sichuan Cuisine, said, "It is acknowledged that Sichuan Cuisine enjoys a worldwide fame by both gastronomists and diners. It has a long history and abundant resources. Usually a visit to Sichuan Province is bound to include an exploration of local restaurants. But I think having one dinner or two here won't provide you the essence of the Sichuan Cuisine and the dining culture it bears. So that's why this museum has come into being. With concrete exhibits and interactive activities, the museum offers you A to Z knowledge of everything you want to know about Sichuan style food."
Museums today accentuate the involvement of spectators, and encourage them to be a part of the museum itself. Here in this Sichuan Cuisine Museum, visitors need not only to watch with their eyes, but also to listen with their ears, smell with their noses, and taste with their mouths. In a word, all your senses are mobilized. And all the interactive programs help us develop faster and stronger.