Chengde cuisine offers a number of unique dishes, mostly from the Qing Dynasty. Some of the most famous Chengde dishes include: Imperial Court Feast, Chengde Hot Pot, and barbecued meat. Chengde also has a range of famous snacks like dumplings, noodles, quick-fried liver, glutinous rice cakes, glutinous millet cakes, candied haws on sticks and clay-fried oven bread. The candied haws and other candied fruits on sticks are usually only available during the cooler and cold months.
Imperial Court Feast
Imperial Court Feast originates from royal kitchens where especially rich dishes were carefully prepared and cooked exclusively for the royal family. After the fall of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), imperial court cuisine became popular among the common people, who took a special delight in finding out what they had been missing out on.
The banquet featured many of the world's edible delicacies from land and sea such as famous mushrooms and fungi, choice vegetables, and fruit. Quality was the key selection criteria, and only the best materials were chosen. A case in point is the preparation of the roast suckling pigs. Only piglets weighing between 12 to 13 kilos (28 to 33 pounds) were used. These had to go through a three to four day fattening process where they ate only porridge so that the pork would be tastier. Much importance was placed on the choices of tableware, rituals, and all other forms of table etiquette. Many restaurants serve Court Cuisine in Chengde today, such as Fangshan and Tingliguan restaurants.
Mutton Hot Pot
Mutton Hot Pot, also known as Mongolian hotpot, is inherited from the Mongolian roots of the Qing Dynasty. It is known for its large variety of ingredients and seasonings, such as paper-thin mutton slices, sesame jam, leek sprouts, bitter shrimp oil, frozen bean curd, dried rice noodles and fresh vegetables. When the banquet starts, diners sit around the table and put the mutton slices into the boiling soup, already seasoned to taste. Once the red mutton slices turn light brown or gray, you can eat them along with sesame jams. This cooking process takes just a few seconds, so be careful not to overcook them or it with damage the flavor, tenderness, and nutritional value of the mutton. Hot peppers and pickled garlic can be added to the sesame jam according to the personal taste of the diner.