Manchurian cuisine has favored roasted and stewed dishes, while Han cuisine centers more on soupy dishes. People growing up eating and cooking their own style of food cook that particular cuisine the best. When Hans and Manchus play host to each other, it’s wise to showcase their own ethnic food to ensure the quality is not compromised in any way, and to avoid the famous misfortune of imitation — A young man, who tries to imitate the graceful walking style of the people of Han Dan, ends up not being able to walk at all.
Unfortunately, this principle of “knowing your strength and weakness” has been forgotten, and people do the opposite merely to please their guests. When the Hans serve Manchurian cuisine and the Manchus serve Han food, they become superficial imitators of the other. It’s as laughable as an untalented artist who sets out to draw a tiger, but ends up with a dog.
A scholar should study wholeheartedly, aiming for the highest goal until the day he is recognized. If he chooses to imitate the writing style of his master or the examiner at the official examination for quick success, he would become a shallow intellectual and remain anonymous all his life.
From 1644-1912, Manchus, the conquerors, and Hans, the conquered, lived rather happily until the 20th century when Doctor Sun Yat-sen, a Hawaii trained Han, and his followers overthrew the Qing dynasty in the name of democracy. During the preceding 268 years, a diverse food culture prospered and the collective palates of China rejoiced. The Manchurian Han Complete Course is a royal-like banquet consisting of a dazzling number of dishes, many of which are recipes stolen from the Qing imperial kitchen, as legend has it. Generations of Chinese stand-up comedians have reinvented it into an oral form which puts the speed, clarity, and the memorizing capabilities of the artists to the test. Imagine, one hundred grand-sounding dishes enunciated quickly, flawlessly and with as few rests as possible. Among them are: eight animal treasures from the mountain, eight rare sea creatures, eight fowl treasures and eight treasures from the garden.