I ate Hu Jintao’s dinner; China’s president, and the rest of the politburo eat only organic food

And corporations want to convince you that GM food is healthy. GM food is lethal stuff.

It is the same with the Royals in the UK. They only eat organic food. Their deer for example are naturally raised (no pellets as food, no antibiotics, no hormones, no hormones and artificial sweeteners that the deer gain weight faster) and then the chief personally selects the deer that will be served for the Royals. All the fruits and vegetables are organically grown – all paid for by the taxpayer.

The funny thing is that the British Royals since 1714 are coming from the House of Hannover and the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The Royals are ‘really’ Germans.

The royal family’s official name, or lack thereof, became a problem during World War I, when people began to mutter that Saxe-Coburg-Gotha sounded far too German. King George V and his family needed a new, English-sounding name. After considering everything from Plantagenet to Tudor-Stuart to simply England, the king and his advisors chose the name Windsor.

God save the ….. Looks like I’ve got carried away here.



A stone’s throw from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square is Zhongnanhai, the walled compound where China’s top leaders live.

Each day the finest ingredients from all over China are delivered to the chefs in Zhongnanhai, by the Central State Organ for Special Food Supply.

Hu Jintao, China’s president, and the rest of the politburo get to eat specially-selected organic produce and wash it down with Red Robe tea, which only grows on a couple of bushes in Fujian.

Zhu Yong Lan, the head of the special food supply department, said no pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones, pollution, artificial additives, preservatives, or genetic modification would ever make its way into the food eaten in Zhongnanhai, a rare feat in a country where the label “organic” is sometimes rather loosely applied.

No one else in China can eat this forbidden food. The only foreigners who taste it are guests at state banquets.

However, behind one anonymous red door on NanChangJie, just around the corner, there is a restaurant with good enough guanxi (connections) to allow its diners a glimpse into this world.

Chengfu Courtyard, which only has four small private rooms and can seat a mere 30 people a night, is run by Liu Jian, the grandson of Cheng Ruming, Chairman Mao’s favourite chef.

Chef Liu is a consultant to the Zhongnanhai kitchens, and so gets access to the insider ingredients.

He uses them to recreate the menus served up by his grandfather at historic Communist Party banquets, including the meal that Mao served to Nixon in 1972 and the meal eaten by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery in Wuhan in 1961 (there was a sort of fusion dish of prawns and cheese that was apparently praised for its artistry).

Nixon and Mao only ate three dishes, including a “braised grass carp” which the president is said to have devoured hungrily.

Cheng Ruming was also behind an extraordinary meal that united Mao with China’s last emperor, Puyi on January 31, 1962. According to the restaurant archives, Mao threw a banquet and invited a close circle of friends, promising them a surprise. “This guest is far from ordinary and you all know him. You will know who he is when he arrives, but I can give you a clue – he is your immediate leader.”

Puyi then slipped into the room, plainly dressed, and was recognised by no one. Mao himself had not met him, but stepped forward and greeted him as an old friend. They had a simple meal and Mao was photographed with the emperor, who he told could “feel at home here. You are the true guest”.

Last night, I went along to the restaurant for a quick nine course banquet of the finest food China has to offer. The meal started with four types of fruit and four types of nuts to whet the palate.

Then there were small dishes of chicken, green chilies, beef and jellyfish before some dim sum shaped into birds and a cold appetizer of seven colours involving prawns, cucumbers, beef and various vegetables.

An amazing soup was then brought, made from silver crysanthemum with a fluffy pillow of intricately sliced tofu floating in the middle like an anemone. A giant tiger prawn followed, its insides mashed, breaded and deep-fried and then a duck and sticky rice sausage, with a pastry shaped into a gourd, a symbol of longevity.

We then ate Chairman Mao’s favourite dish, a cube of Hong Shao Rou, or braised pork belly, served inside a pumpkin.

The pork had been cooked for 24 hours, and was far less sweet and sticky than usual. Our waitress said it was made without soy sauce and according to a secret recipe. Mao is said to have disliked soy sauce after he witnessed an explosion at his family’s soy sauce factory as a child.

A fillet of fish followed, slightly curried, accompanied by a samosa-like parcel of vegetable. Mao also apparently disliked eating only one starch at a time, so a dish of rice which paired some dried tofu in a chrysanthemum sauce was mixed with xiao mi, which I guess is a type of ground corn.

The food was not too heavy, beautifully presented, but slightly ethereal in the way that haute cuisine can often be. The ingredients were incredible, but so artfully worked that they seemed to be very distant from their origins.

To finish things off, there was a pumpkin and almond milk dessert and an enormous bill. As I strolled down the street outside Zhongnanhai, I marvelled at the gilded life that must go on inside, and how far the Party has come in these 60 years.

Chengfu Courtyard (38 Nanchangjie, ???38?, Tel: 6606-9936)

By Malcolm Moore
Last updated: August 6th, 2009

Source: The Telegraph

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