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September 14, 2018

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Yuyuan autumn banquet beckons foreign foodies

YUYUAN Garden Malls yesterday unveiled their mid-autumn banquet aimed principally at overseas tourists.

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

Nine traditional Suzhou dishes will be on the menu, including 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.

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.

Theater above the Sea is an opera house in the style of the original in Yuyuan Garden which was built in 1559 by Pan Yunduan, a high official of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) as a gift to his parents.


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