Buddha Jumps Over the Wall
|Place of origin||China|
|Region or state||Fujian|
|Main ingredient(s)||shark fin, quail eggs, bamboo shoots, scallops, sea cucumber, abalone, fish maw, chicken, Jinhua ham, pork tendon, ginseng, mushrooms, and taro|
|Variations||Shark fin soup|
|Buddha Jumps Over the Wall|
Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, also known as Buddha's Temptation, (Chinese: 佛跳墙; pinyin: fó tiào qiáng) is a variety of shark fin soup in Fujian cuisine.It was created by Zheng Chunfa, celebrated chef and proprietor of the Ju Chun Yuan Restaurant in Fuzhou, Fujian Province. Zheng was private chef of a senior local official in the early years. Since its creation during the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1912), the dish has been regarded as a Chinese delicacy known for its rich taste, usage of various high-quality ingredients and special manner of cooking. The dish's name is an allusion to the dish's ability to entice the vegetarian monks from their temples to partake in the meat-based dish. It is high in protein and calcium.
The soup or stew consists of many ingredients, especially animal products, and requires one to two full days to prepare. A typical recipe requires many ingredients including quail eggs, bamboo shoots, scallops, sea cucumber, abalone, shark fin, fish maw, chicken, Jinhua ham, pork tendon, ginseng, mushrooms, and taro. Some recipes require up to thirty main ingredients and twelve condiments. Use of shark fin, which is sometimes harvested by shark finning, and abalone, which is implicated in destructive fishing practices, are controversial for both environmental and ethical reasons.
There are many stories on the origin of the dish. A common one is about a scholar traveling by foot during the Qing Dynasty. While he traveled with his friends, the scholar preserved all his food for the journey in a clay jar used for holding wine. Whenever he had a meal, he warmed up the jar with the ingredients over an open fire. Once they arrived in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province, the scholar started cooking the dish. The smells spread over to a nearby Buddhist monastery where monks were meditating. Although monks are not allowed to eat meat, one of the monks, tempted, jumped over the wall. A poet among the travelers said that even Buddha would jump the wall to eat the delicious dish.
Consumption outside China
In South Korea, the dish is known as Buldojang (불도장, the Korean reading of the same Chinese characters). It was first introduced in 1987 by Hu Deok-juk (侯德竹), an ethnic Taiwanese chef at the Chinese restaurant Palsun (팔선), located in the Shilla Hotel in Seoul. The dish played an important role in changing the mainstream of Chinese cuisine consumed in South Korea from Szechuan cuisine to Cantonese cuisine. However, in 1989, the Jogye Order, the representative order of traditional Korean Buddhism, strongly opposed the selling of the dish because the name is considered a blasphemy to Buddhism. Although Buldojang temporarily disappeared, the dispute ignited the spreading of rumors among the public, and the dish consequently gained popularity.
Kai Mayfair in London was dubbed "home of the world's most expensive soup" when it unveiled its £108 version of Buddha Jumps Over the Wall in 2005. The dish includes shark's fin, Japanese flower mushroom, sea cucumber, dried scallops, chicken, Hunan ham, pork, and ginseng.
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