食物因緣 -- 淺談英國中餐文化項目

Chungwen Li  李中文

chinese reception 1884

Food is international as well as very cultural; it reaches our heart through the stomach and attracts our attention by its colour, aroma, taste and presentation. Overseas Chinese always carry their "Chinese stomachs" wherever they go, and bring Chinese food to every corner of the world.  You may ask...

民以食為天,自古中國文化與飲食息息相關;無論華人走到那裡,心思都離不開家鄉美食,自然而然帶著中國胃飄洋過海,在世界各地落腳。你也許會問...

 

English

 

entrance-to-the-chinese-collection1843

British Chinese Food Culture

Food is international as well as very cultural; it reaches our heart through the stomach and attracts our attention by its  colour, aroma, taste and presentation. Overseas Chinese always carry their "Chinese stomachs" wherever they go, and bring Chinese food to every corner of the world.

You may ask “why British Chinese Food Culture?” How was the idea originated?  And what exactly is British Chinese food?  The idea of promoting Chinese food in the UK was being “brewed” for a long time.  Our founder, Dr Therese Shak, had the idea that Chinese menus should be available all over the UK’s 5-star hotels when she first established the Institute in 1993.  It has been a long road and has proven to be no easy path.

Food culture is about the origins of local dishes. It may relate to environment, geography, culture and beliefs, when food immigrated with people to a new country. What are the significant changes and how have they been adapted or adopted? Those are the questions we would like to find answers to.  The heritage focus for this project is to track the changes of Chinese food in the UK, from how the original recipes were adapted by environment changes and different ingredients, to how it gets back to the original ingredients and recipes when more oriental foods are imported.

For example, the first ever Chinese menu was introduced to the UK in 1884 during the International Health Exhibition, China was held up as a role model for health and hygiene of Victorian Britain. Between the years of 1910s and 1960s, Chinese food embraced rapid growth in the UK till now.

There are many other questions that have arisen when we developed this project. With support from our contributors (including our volunteers and interviewees) we are now able to present the project in a more systematic way.

We all love food and, with this project, we are going to show you the delights of British Chinese food through different angles. But before that let us travel back to 1884 when Chinese food was first officially introduced to the UK.

 

When the East met West in 1884

1884 IHE floorplanThe International Health Exhibition in 1884 was held between 8 May and 30 October in the Royal Albert Hall in London. The special objects of the Exhibition were to illustrate in a practical manner Food, Dress, the Dwelling, the School and the Workshop, as affecting the conditions of healthy life; and how they applied to elementary school teaching and instruction in applied science, art and handicrafts.  According to official statistics, there were in 1884 4,167,683 visitors in total and 22,838 of them had visited the Cookery section.

Only China and Japan had restaurants and tearooms in which their respective national cookery were exemplified in the Exhibition. China occupied the East Gallery with an interesting feature of a Chinese tea garden, dining-saloon with balcony and kitchen on the ground. The official guide of the exhibition described the layout as this, “According to the Chinese theory when a man goes to a restaurant he ought to feel cheerful, sociable, and happy; and on the other hand, he goes to a tea-room to reflect, or to indulge in sober and earnest conversation. Accordingly we find the decorations of the two rooms reflect these ideas. The dining-room is very gay, full of light and colour, and the tea-room is relatively sombre.”

Hence we understand that for the Chinese people, food and their own culture are inseparable as they help each other grow. Just like other countries the diet habits reflect their humanity, geography and cultural heritage. With rapid global development we could now see the integration and influence between foods; and fusion food replaces a lot of traditional recipes and cooking methods.

menu 1884The Very First Chinese Menu in Britain

So, what was introduced to the British public in 1884? A Chinese tea-garden was built to have the atmosphere, what we call “hardware” today. Therefore the dishes were the “software” during the Exhibition, as the selected chefs made the “Chinese food” happen.

“The charge for admission to the dinning-room, which includes the price of dinner, is seven and six pence, and that to the tea-room, which includes a cup of tea and biscuits, or an ice, is one shilling. The dishes are, of course, perfectly novel to untravelled Europeans; amongst them are to be found the celebrated bird’s-nest soup, which is said to be delicious, white-shark’s fins, and a dish made of beche de mer, or sea-slug, which is said to resemble the green fat of turtle. The dinner includes Chinese wine, or Shao-sing, which is served up warm, and also Imperial tea, which is said to cost seven shillings a pound at Pekin. A Chinese band plays in the restaurant.  Its music, to Western ears, is most peculiar."

In fact, not only the music was peculiar to Western audiences but also Chinese food, presented in four courses, was  an unimaginable menu for the English public at that time. The ingredients consisted of rare creatures from the sea, land and sky that were not for the ordinary Chinese people either.  This "ancient menu" was set as below:

plan of the chinese court 18841st course: Eight Large Bowls
Birds’ nests, Sharks’ fins, Beche-de-mer, Claws of bear, Sinews of tiger, Bream, Stewed deer and Mushrooms

2nd course: Eight Small Bowls
Pigeons’ eggs, the Yellow of crabs, Lotus-seeds, White truffle, Shrimp sauce, Blood of ducks’ head, Pheasant and Mustard leaves

3rd course: Four Courses of Roast Meats
Roast chicken, Roast duck, Roast young pig, Roast goose or Roast mutton

4th course: Two courses of cakes
Steamed sponge cakes, and Spring vegetable rolls

Most of the foods from this menu are very popular today among the Chinese community, whilst some countries ban some dishes because of environmental protection. Cooking methods may change but the culture behind these foods remains.

1884 courtmusic"Food, Glorious Chinese Food"

The first introduction of Chinese food to the UK might not have been a great success but it was the first step to reveal the mystical mask of Chinese food to Western audiences. Nowadays, the British are open in their minds to different cuisines; moreover images of Chinese food are no longer cheap and simply labelled as Chop Suey.

For this project our brilliant team, with more than 30 volunteers, was helping us to find out more about British Chinese food; we interviewed more than 20 interviewees to collect and preserve their memories of Chinese food.

Education materials have also been produced to help pupils and students understand not only this ethnic food, which is available almost in every corner of the world, but also the cultural elements behind it.

Food is not only for our stomachs; it is for our souls as well! The project was fortunate to have different contributors share with us their thoughts on Chinese food.

1884 chinesecourtFood for Thought

When we think of food, the colour, aroma, taste and presentation are the elements we consider most. We invited different authors to contribute to our collection -- "Food for Thought" -- in order to have a great combination of articles bringing us into another world of Chinese food.

Mr Deh-Ta Hsiung, a food and wine consultant who produced 15 Chinese cookbooks, told us about the brief history of Chinese Food in the Britain. This was followed by Mr Kiu-Fat Fong, who revealed the changes from Limehouse Chinatown to Soho Chinatown in the 60s until the present time.

It was in the 1980s that Mr Ken Lo brought Chinese food to a higher level (or reputation) by a series of TV shows and presentations. Mr Lo was not a chef but he presented the Chinese food in a very positive manner to British society, and in fact established the first Chinese cookery school in the UK.  The project team has collected some memories from his friends and has re-created “The Memories of Ken Lo” by oral history format via video.  His daughter, Dr Vivienne Lo has written the preface for us.

chinese stroves

Mr William Poon, a master chef who specialises in Cantonese cuisine, has shown us the old Cantonese kitchen, explaining the ancient secret communication between the kitchen and front of house staff; while Ms Maria Chong explained the soul of the Chinese food – sauces -- and their development and how they made their entry to foreign lands.

But to prepare delicious Chinese food, suitable cookware is the essential tool and so the celebrity chef, Mr Ken Hom, introduced the history of this in amazing detail.

Master Yin and Dr Yu-Mei Tsai will hold our hands to rediscover the peace and love of vegetarian food from a pure angle of Buddhism and environmental protection.

We could not have food without drink; the best companion for Chinese food is of course Chinese tea. Mr Kamsang Law has 40 years' experience in the study of Chinese tea and he is going to show us how to enjoy it.

I am not able to introduce all the articles here but the project aims to collect more and more articles about British Chinese food. You are welcome to share your thoughts with us, and make the “Food for Thought” richer and richer!

Finally, food is an art form and the relation of Chinese food to Britain can virtually be regarded as a beautiful love affair. We are happy to present a story written by Prof Nigel Mathers, on how a cross-cultural love affair can be told over a 3-course meal, as the perfect dessert for all of us!

 

Notes:

“British Chinese Food Culture”, a project tribute to Ming-Ai’s founder, Dr Therese Shak, for her devotion and dedication to promote Chinese food in the UK. 


Reference:

Anon. 1884. Official Guide to the International Health Exhibition. The Health Exhibition Literature, 14, p. 36-37.

 

繁體

 

entrance-to-the-chinese-collection1843英國中餐文化

民以食為天,自古中國文化與飲食息息相關;無論華人走到那裡,心思都離不開家鄉美食,自然而然帶著中國胃飄洋過海,在世界各地落腳。

你也許會問為甚麼要做「英國中餐文化」?構思是如何來的?到底英國中餐是甚麼?其實在英國推廣中菜的想法己經「醞釀」良久,明愛的創辦人石慧嫻博士,在 1993 年成立學院時就認為全英國的五星級飯店的菜單上,應該要找到中菜的一頁。事實證明這是一條漫漫長路,並是艱辛之路。

食物文化是關於某道菜色的起源,它可能與地理環境、文化信仰有關;當食物隨著人移居海外所產生的轉變,例如怎樣受環境影響而改動,及如何被當地接受,這些都是我們想知道的。此項目旨在輯錄研究中菜在英國的起源與發展,從原有菜譜如何因應環境變遷與材料缺乏而改動,到東方食物的入口增長而回到原有的口味及煮法!

比方說,中國菜餚是在 1884 年透過在倫敦舉辦的國際健康展覽時正式登陸英國,中國以模範國身份參展相關項目,唯在維多利亞時代的當時,中菜的展示未能為保守的英國人帶來驚嘆。直至 1910-1960 年間,中菜才在英國大放異彩,現在更成為主流菜式之一。

隨著項目的發展,許多相關的問題不斷衍生,而答案則由我們的支持者(包括義工與被訪者)用不同的方式解答。

人皆愛食物,藉此項目,我們將透過不同的角度為你闡釋英國中餐。在此之前,讓我們時光倒流回到 1884 年,當中餐首次在英國正式登陸。


1884 年,當東方遇上西方

1884 IHE floorplan1884 年的國際健康展覽是在倫敦的皇家阿爾伯特館舉行,展期由 5 月 5 日到 10 月 30 日。展覽的目的在顯示有關食物、衣飾、居所、學校及工坊的實用之處;及他們如何影響到健康條件,並引用在中學的自然科學、藝術及手工藝的教學上。根據當年官方統計數字共有 4,167,683 入場人次,其中有 22,838 名入場參觀飲食部。

當時展場只有中國與日本為國家烹飪的示範國,有自己的餐廳與茶室。中國區設在東廊,有建築特別的茶園、飯館及廚房。展覽的官方簡介是如此描繪它的擺設:「根據中國理論,當人進入餐館時應該覺得愉悅與合群;另一方面,進入茶室則是要自我反省,或要清醒認真的交談。因此我們發現兩室的擺設反映著這般理論。飯館是十分明亮開朗,而茶室則相對黑暗。」

因此我們明白到對中國人而言,食物與自身文化不但不可分離,並能協助對方成長。正如其他國家的飲食習慣同樣反映人文、地理及文化的傳承。隨著全球高速發展,我們可以看到各國食物之間的融和與影響;而融合食物也取代了許多傳統的菜譜及烹飪法。


menu 1884英國首個中餐菜單

那麼在1884年有甚麼樣的中菜介紹給英國社會?當時為了營造氣氛,在庭中建了個茶園,以現今角度來說可稱之為「硬件」;當年的大廚們便在裡頭製作菜餚,故此展出的菜色應該可算是「軟件」 。

「會展裡中國飯館的入場費為七便士六先令,含飯錢;而茶室的入場費是一先令,包括一杯茶及糕點或凍飲。其菜式對於不出遠門的歐洲人士來說是簡直天方夜談,其中有據聞十分美味的燕窩羮、白魚翅、海參等。飯菜中有中國酒,或稱之紹興,暖飲之。還有皇帝茶,據說在京城賣到七先令才有一磅重。在飯館裡有中國樂隊,其樂韻在西方人士耳中是極為奇怪。」

事實上,對西方人士來說不只是音樂奇怪,當時所展示的四大道系列的菜色對大眾人士更是不可思議。食材包括罕見的海、陸、空生物;在中國的普通百姓也未能享用這些食材。這個「古董菜單」是這樣的:

plan of the chinese court 1884第一道:八小碗
燕窩、魚翅、海參、熊掌、虎鞭、鯉魚、燉鹿及香菇

第二道:八大碗
鴿子蛋、蟹黃、蓮子、白松茸、蝦醬、鴨血、野鴙及芥蘭

第三道:四道燒烤
燒雞、燒鴨、燒豬、燒鵝或燒羊

第四道:兩道糕點
蒸蛋糕及春卷

這菜單裡有很多道菜在華人社會裡還是很普及的,但有些國家現今因為保育環境而禁售某些菜式。烹調方法也許改變,但背後的文化則會長留。

 

1884 courtmusic「食物,輝煌的中餐」

中國食物首次登陸英國也許未即時帶來成功,但卻是為西方人士掀開中菜神祕面紗的第一步。現在,英國人對外來食品的思想已大為開放,並且中菜的形像不再只是廉價並被統稱為雜碎了。

我們幹練的項目團隊,有超過 30 位義工幫忙發掘英國中餐資料;採訪超過 20 位人士,搜集並保存他們對中菜的回憶。

同時我們也為莘莘學子製作教學資源,讓他們瞭解這遍佈世界角落的異族食物及其背後的文代元素。

食物不只是為我們的胃而生,也可以為我們的心靈作出貢獻。本項目向各方邀稿,榮幸地有各作者與我們分享他們對中菜的看法。


1884 chinesecourt食物迷思

色香味美  -- 當我們想起食物時,這四者是首先湧入腦海的元素。我們邀請了不同的作者,在「食物迷思」這一欄目裡,以文章方式帶領我們進入中國食物的不同境界。

熊德達先生是一位飲食與品酒顧問,編寫了 15 本中菜菜譜,會告訴我們有關英國中餐的歷史。而方橋發先生則把唐人街從萊姆豪斯走到蘇豪區,由六十年代說到現今。

直至 1980 年代,羅孝建先生透過電視節目令中菜的地位更上一層樓。羅先生並非廚師,但他把中菜以肯定的姿態帶進英國社會,並在英國首創中餐廚藝學校。項目小組搜集了其親友們對他的回憶,以口述歷史方式用錄像重現「羅孝建先生回憶錄」,並由他女兒羅維前博士為我們作前序。

chinese stroves

粵菜大師潘偉廉先生為我們解構廣東廚房的暗語,而莊美賢女士則細說中國醬料遠道而來的故事。

要準備美味的中菜,合適的煮食器皿是不可或缺的工具,明星廚師譚榮輝先生會為這工具的歷史向我們娓娓道來。

德慇師父及蔡裕美博士則牽著我們,以佛教及環保的角度去重新發現素食帶給人們的愛和安寧。

飲、食不可分界,中菜最佳的伴侶當然是中國茶;羅錦生先生以 40 年的品茗經驗,教我們如何欣賞中國茶藝。

篇幅所限,恕未能介紹所有文章。但本項目正不斷搜集有關英國中餐的文章,我們無任歡迎各界投稿,以增進「食物迷思」的覆蓋面。

最後,食物本身是件藝術品;而中菜在英國的發展則儼如一段美麗的愛情故事。Nigel Mathers 教授用三道菜色來詮譯這份異國戀情,將是「食物迷思」這一欄目裡最完美的甜點!


附註:
「英國中餐文化」是獻給明愛創辦人石慧嫻博士的一個項目,為她致力在英國推廣中菜作出感謝。


參考書目:
Anon. 1884. Official Guide to the International Health Exhibition. The Health Exhibition Literature, 14, p. 36-37.

 

简体

 

entrance-to-the-chinese-collection1843

英国中餐文化

民以食为天,自古中国文化与饮食息息相关;无论华人走到那里,心思都离不开家乡美食,自然而然带着中国胃飘洋过海,在世界各地落脚。

你也许会问为什么要做「英国中餐文化」?构思是如何来的?到底英国中餐是甚么?其实在英国推广中菜的想法己经「酝酿」良久,明爱的创办人石慧娴博士,在 1993 年成立学院时就认为全英国的五星级饭店的菜单上,应该要找到中菜的一页。事实证明这是一条漫漫长路,并是艰辛之路。

食物文化是关于某道菜色的起源,它可能与地理环境、文化信仰有关;当食物随着人移居海外所产生的转变,例如怎样受环境影响而改动,及如何被当地接受,这些都是我们想知道的。此项目旨在辑录研究中菜在英国的起源与发展,从原有菜谱如何因应环境变迁与材料缺乏而改动,到东方食物的入口增长而回到原有的口味及煮法!

比方说,中国菜肴是在 1884 年透过在伦敦举办的国际健康展览时正式登陆英国,中国以模范国身份参展相关项目,唯在维多利亚时代的当时,中菜的展示未能为保守的英国人带来惊叹。直至 1910-1960 年间,中菜才在英国大放异彩,现在更成为主流菜式之一。

随着项目的发展,许多相关的问题不断衍生,而答案则由我们的支持者(包括义工与被访者)用不同的方式解答。

人皆爱食物,藉此项目,我们将透过不同的角度为你阐释英国中餐。在此之前,让我们时光倒流回到 1884 年,当中餐首次在英国正式登陆。


1884 年,当东方遇上西方

1884 IHE floorplan

1884 年的国际健康展览是在伦敦的皇家阿尔伯特馆举行,展期由 5 月 5 日到 10 月 30 日。展览的目的在显示有关食物、衣饰、居所、学校及工坊的实用之处;及他们如何影响到健康条件,并引用在中学的自然科学、艺术及手工艺的教学上。根据当年官方统计数字共有 4,167,683 入场人次,其中有 22,838 名入场参观饮食部。

当时展场只有中国与日本为国家烹饪的示范国,有自己的餐厅与茶室。中国区设在东廊,有建筑特别的茶园、饭馆及厨房。展览的官方简介是如此描绘它的摆设:「根据中国理论,当人进入餐馆时应该觉得愉悦与合群;另一方面,进入茶室则是要自我反省,或要清醒认真的交谈。因此我们发现两室的摆设反映着这般理论。饭馆是十分明亮开朗,而茶室则相对黑暗。」

因此我们明白到对中国人而言,食物与自身文化不但不可分离,并能协助对方成长。正如其他国家的饮食习惯同样反映人文、地理及文化的传承。随着全球高速发展,我们可以看到各国食物之间的融和与影响;而融合食物也取代了许多传统的菜谱及烹饪法。


menu 1884英国首个中餐菜单

那么在 1884 年有什么样的中菜介绍给英国社会?当时为了营造气氛,在庭中建了个茶园,以现今角度来说可称之为「硬件」;当年的大厨们便在里头制作菜肴,故此展出的菜色应该可算是「软件」 。

「会展里中国饭馆的入场费为七便士六先令,含饭钱;而茶室的入场费是一先令,包括一杯茶及糕点或冻饮。其菜式对于不出远门的欧洲人士来说是简直天方夜谈,其中有据闻十分美味的燕窝羮、白鱼翅、海参等。饭菜中有中国酒,或称之绍兴,暖饮之。还有皇帝茶,据说在京城卖到七先令才有一磅重。在饭馆里有中国乐队,其乐韵在西方人士耳中是极为奇怪。」

事实上,对西方人士来说不只是音乐奇怪,当时所展示的四大道系列的菜色对大众人士更是不可思议。食材包括罕见的海、陆、空生物;在中国的普通百姓也未能享用这些食材。这个「古董菜单」是这样的:

plan of the chinese court 1884第一道:八小碗
燕窝、鱼翅、海参、熊掌、虎鞭、鲤鱼、炖鹿及香菇

第二道:八大碗
鸽子蛋、蟹黄、莲子、白松茸、虾酱、鸭血、野鴙及芥兰

第三道:四道烧烤
烧鸡、烧鸭、烧猪、烧鹅或烧羊

第四道:两道糕点
蒸蛋糕及春卷

这菜单里有很多道菜在华人社会里还是很普及的,但有些国家现今因为保育环境而禁售某些菜式。烹调方法也许改变,但背后的文化则会长留。

 

1884 courtmusic「食物,辉煌的中餐」

中国食物首次登陆英国也许未即时带来成功,但却是为西方人士掀开中菜神秘面纱的第一步。现在,英国人对外来食品的思想已大为开放,并且中菜的形像不再只是廉价并被统称为杂碎了。

我们干练的项目团队,有超过 30 位义工帮忙发掘英国中餐资料;采访超过 20 位人士,搜集并保存他们对中菜的回忆。

同时我们也为莘莘学子制作教学资源,让他们了解这遍布世界角落的异族食物及其背后的文代元素。

食物不只是为我们的胃而生,也可以为我们的心灵作出贡献。本项目向各方邀稿,荣幸地有各作者与我们分享他们对中菜的看法。


1884 chinesecourt食物迷思

色香味美  -- 当我们想起食物时,这四者是首先涌入脑海的元素。我们邀请了不同的作者,在「食物迷思」这一栏目里,以文章方式带领我们进入中国食物的不同境界。

熊德达先生是一位饮食与品酒顾问,编写了 15 本中菜菜谱,会告诉我们有关英国中餐的历史。而方桥发先生则把唐人街从莱姆豪斯走到苏豪区,由六十年代说到现今。

直至 1980 年代,罗孝建先生透过电视节目令中菜的地位更上一层楼。罗先生并非厨师,但他把中菜以肯定的姿态带进英国社会,并在英国首创中餐厨艺学校。项目小组搜集了其亲友们对他的回忆,以口述历史方式用录像重现「罗孝建先生回忆录」,并由他女儿罗维前博士为我们作前序。

chinese stroves

粤菜大师潘伟廉先生为我们解构广东厨房的暗语,而庄美贤女士则细说中国酱料远道而来的故事。

要准备美味的中菜,合适的煮食器皿是不可或缺的工具,明星厨师谭荣辉先生会为这工具的历史向我们娓娓道来。

德殷师父及蔡裕美博士则牵着我们,以佛教及环保的角度去重新发现素食带给人们的爱和安宁。

饮、食不可分界,中菜最佳的伴侣当然是中国茶;罗锦生先生以 40 年的品茗经验,教我们如何欣赏中国茶艺。

篇幅所限,恕未能介绍所有文章。但本项目正不断搜集有关英国中餐的文章,我们无任欢迎各界投稿,以增进「食物迷思」的覆盖面。

最后,食物本身是件艺术品;而中菜在英国的发展则俨如一段美丽的爱情故事。Nigel Mathers 教授用三道菜色来诠译这份异国恋情,将是「食物迷思」这一栏目里最完美的甜点!


附注:
「英国中餐文化」是献给明爱创办人石慧娴博士的一个项目,为她致力在英国推广中菜作出感谢。


参考书目:
Anon. 1884. Official Guide to the International Health Exhibition. The Health Exhibition Literature, 14, p. 36-37.