Food & Wine

Goodness of Fuzhou's famous dish, Fo Tiao Qiang

Updated: 08 Dec 2010
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Fo Tiao Qiang, literally meaning "Buddha jumps over wall", is a famous dish in Fuzhou, Fujian
Fo Tiao Qiang (佛跳墙) literally means "Buddha jumps over wall" — a name meant to suggest that this meat-based consommé is so sinfully good even a vegetarian monk cannot resist its allure.

The flavor of this broth is hard to pinpoint because of the surf-and-turf ingredients that go into it. Every component adds a new level of taste or texture. Traditionally, the dish, from Fujian province in southern China, is a thick stew, thought to have health-giving properties. Fook Lam Moon restaurant in Hong Kong turned the rustic brew into a thin soup.

Medley of ingredients: Each drop of broth carries the essence of Jinhua ham — a premium Chinese ham, like Spain's Iberico — chicken, pork, Japanese dried and aged abalone, shark's fin, fish maw (its swim bladder), the flesh of a freshwater turtle, deer tendon, dried shiitake mushroom, dried sea cucumber, large dried scallop, goose feet and heart of bok choy. It takes the chef several days to clean, rehydrate, season and trim all the ingredients before they go into the pot.

Single-serving portions: The customary way to serve the dish is in a large earthenware pot that is then divided into individual pots tableside. At Fook Lam Moon, each serving comes in its own single-serving bowl.

Double boiling: Moistened paper is sealed over the ceramic pot, and then everything is placed in a steamer, known as a "steaming cabinet," to slowly stew. This method ensures even, gentle cooking. Though the process can take up to 12 hours, the investment of time pays off with a fragrant yet delicate stock.

Seasonal: The dish is available year-round, but at Fook Lam Moon it is predominantly ordered in the autumn and winter season. True connoisseurs know that some of the ingredients – such as the freshwater turtle – are in their best condition during the cooler winter months.
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