Japanese royal menu: from Turkey and Cupcake to spring roll and wheat

 Japanese royal menu: from Turkey and Cupcake to spring roll and wheat

This feast ceremony still follows the precedent of Pingchengs accession ceremony, entertaining guests with Japanese dishes. You may think this is the common dish for Japanese royal family to receive foreign guests. In fact, this is not the case, because a single banquet of banquet instrument will invite 200-300 internal and external guests, and in a short week, such a scale of banquet will be held about 5 times. Only a small number of palace chefs who usually serve the royal family can not afford such a large-scale banquet in a short time. Therefore, the dishes of feast instrument are not actually cooked by the chefs in the Japanese palace, but outsourced to the chefs of famous hotels in Tokyo, such as the prince hotel. The imperial chefs in the palace only play an auxiliary role. So maybe some readers will wonder, what do the Japanese royal family usually eat? This article takes this topic as the core to talk about the imperial Chef and imperial meal of the Japanese royal family.

The author first introduces the origin of various information in this paper. First of all, the official documents of the intrauterine province (the postwar is the intrauterine Hall) is one of the main bases of this paper. According to the Japanese law, the official documents that have experienced a period of time have the obligation to open to the public, and the official documents of the intrauterine department are no exception. There are many official documents of dashanliao in Japan, including banquet menu, in the palace official document library under the Shuling Department of the Imperial Palace, which is the most important first-hand information to understand the Palace Banquet from Meiji to Zhaohe.

The palace dinner menu of Dazheng period in the palace official document library

As shown in the figure above, the author lists a menu of the palace dinner party in 1916, which was held more than 100 years ago. The menu consists of Japanese and French. The Japanese part of the dish name is basically Chinese characters, I believe that you can almost understand it (but now the menu of Japanese western restaurant is all a pile of kana loanwords that you cant understand). Through this menu, we can find that the Japanese palace dinner party was all French, and even the menu had to be prepared with a French version. Up to now, the palace dinner party for foreign guests is still dominated by French food, which shows the great influence of French food on Japanese royal banquet.

However, what we can learn from the historical materials of official documents is that most of them are the situations of ceremonial banquets. In principle, the historical materials of official documents are not public for the private information such as the daily diet of the emperor and the royal family. As for this part, the author mainly introduces some memoir books written after retirement by referring to the imperial chefs who once worked in the imperial dining room (the postwar dining class). Finally, this paper also contains some information about internal gossip that I learned from my classmates or teachers in the palace hall. Because involving the daily life of the royal family, the Memoirs of the Royal chefs or the internal gossip are not absolutely credible first-hand historical materials, which inevitably involves the subjective processing of the narrator, which needs to be explained at the beginning of the article.

The imperial chef in the palace

Nowadays, the official title of imperial Chef, who cooks for the emperor and the royal family in the palace, is kitchen division of big meal Department of the management department of the palace hall, whose identity is a national civil servant belonging to the palace hall. When it comes to the staff of the palace hall, I feel that many people in China are interested in the Japanese royal family, especially the readers of many articles about the experiences of the two generations of empress Yazi or meizhizi after she married into the royal family. Many of the staff of the palace hall feel that they are from the old noble family before the Japanese War, and they are an old-fashioned group with conservative ideas. In fact, this is not the case, although the palace hall has a cautious and conservative side compared with other government agencies because it has to deal with royal affairs. However, the palace hall is essentially a subordinate organ of the Japanese cabinet office, 99% of which are ordinary state civil servants (only a few attendants, female officials, internal sacrificial persons, and the officials in charge of Royal Sacrifice are employed on the basis of Royal internal court fees, which is not included in the sequence of state civil servants), and the positions of these state civil servants can be described as various, managing the mausoleum of the emperor of the past dynasties Tomb and royal documents, responsible for the maintenance of Royal cars, carriages and horses, including the fishermen who run Royal pastures and take care of potted plants, and even the fishermen who fish with Osprey on Liangchuan, the head of Qifu County, are the national civil servants of the palace hall, which can be described as all walks of life. The protagonist of this article, the imperial chef in the palace, is naturally one of them.

In a period of time after the war, Chinese food was once on the emperors table. According to the records of Zhaohe 59 (1984), Emperor Du Zhaohe had 13 times of Chinese fried rice, 10 times of spring rolls, 9 times of wheat and 6 times of fried dumplings. Maybe a lot of people will think, the Japanese Emperor will eat this? In fact, as shown in the picture below, during the postwar period, it seems that some high-end Chinese dishes were once served at the royal banquet table. However, due to the cooking fume, sanitation and other reasons, and the firepower of the imperial kitchen is not enough to cook many Chinese dishes that need to be fiery, the high-end Chinese food has gradually faded out of the main dish style of the imperial kitchen in Japan. Just occasionally, I will make some simple Chinese food like jiaozi, Shaomai, sweet and sour pork, hibiscus crab and so on, which is suitable for Japanese taste to change the taste of the emperor.

Chinese food on the Royal menu in the early postwar period

Where is the central kitchen of the Japanese Emperor today? To give you a simple explanation, I borrowed a plan of Japanese Imperial Palace which I took by myself. Because of the size of the picture, the words in the picture may be difficult to recognize. The position drawn in red circle is the kitchen of the imperial dining room. The yellow circle shows the position between the pines in the main hall of the emperors residence where the ceremony was held.

The imperial kitchen, for the convenience of serving food and other reasons, is set in the Fengming Hall (blue circle in the picture, the name of the hall is from the banquet named Fengming Festival after the big taste sacrifice, and the restaurant of Meiji palace burned at the end of World War II, also known as Fengming Hall) and the small banquet, especially the small restaurant liancui for the Royal internal banquetuff08 The green circle in the picture, because this palace is next to the room of Hongye mountain on the northeast side of the palace, taking the meaning of successive Cuise, named liancui). Although the internal photos of Fengming hall and liancui are easy to see and occasionally open to the public, the appearance of the interior of the imperial kitchen has never been seen by the author. It can only be inferred from the memory of some chefs.

In the Memoirs of many chefs, the most impressive one is bright for the kitchen in the palace, because most of the chefs in the palace work in some high-end hotels and restaurants before entering the palace. Hotel kitchens are mostly located in dark rooms without external lighting. Therefore, the kitchen secretary who came to the palace for the first time left a deep impression on the lighting.

Secondly, in the recollection of the chefs, the description of clean and spotless appeared frequently. Every day before the chef enters the kitchen, he must take a bath and change some clothes, shoes and socks from head to toe. Cleaning the kitchen environment at any time is the foundation of the foundation. In principle, the kitchen in the palace must use the dry cleaning mode without water to clean the interior. In addition, the kitchen also adjusts the temperature of each room according to the temperature required by different dishes, for example, a special low-temperature cold room is set up for the chef who makes western desserts such as pudding.

Plan of the Imperial Palace

The emperors diet

Since the requirements of the palace kitchen for the cooking environment are so strict, many people think that the daily diet of the Japanese royal family must be very luxurious? In fact, this is not the case. In fact, the daily diet of the Japanese royal family, especially the queen of the Mikado, is very populist. As mentioned above, when eating Chinese food, most of them are simple dishes like fried rice and wheat. The most direct reason why the emperors diet is so simple is that he has no money.

Nowadays, the emperor and the inner court royal family including the queen (it can be considered that there is no independent royal family directly related to the emperor. Now the inner court royal family includes the queen Yazi, the emperor Mingren, the empress meizhizi, and the four princes aizinei). Every years expenses are paid from the fixed inner court fees. According to the catering staff, the budget for the daily food provided to the emperor and the imperial family is very limited. The meat, eggs and milk materials for daily consumption in the palace are purchased from the Yucai ranch (specially for the royal family) in Baimu County, which can be said to be self-sufficient to some extent. However, aquatic products must be purchased from the fish market in Tokyo (the former Tsukiji market and todays Fengzhou market) every day. Therefore, most of the aquatic products on the Royal table are relatively common fish, snapper, sea urchin, abalone and other high-end marine products can only be eaten once after a battle. However, it is said that the situation will be much better before the 1970s, because at that time, all parts of the country would basically pay the royal family some high-grade food materials like matsutake every day, which largely made up for the budget constraints of the royal family at that time. However, after the 1980s, the palace hall in principle did not accept the offer of high-priced goods, so the main source of the Royal high-end food materials was cut off. Now even if it is the emperor, it can only eat some ordinary people everyday.

Although the ingredients of the emperors daily diet are more common people oriented, its cooking methods and diet management are very delicate. The chefs in the big meal class will calculate the calories and nutrition balance of the emperor every day. If the Emperor didnt finish the last meal, the insufficient calories should be filled back in the next meal as much as possible. In the later years of emperor Zhaohe, the daily calorie intake of the emperor set in the big meal class was about 1600 kcal. Although it was enough for the general elderly, considering that the emperor would have to deal with all kinds of official business every day even if he was old, this figure was not too much. In addition, Dashan will try to consider the balance of three meals a day for the emperor, taking the emperor of Showa as an example. After the war, every days breakfast was mainly Western-style. For the rest lunch and dinner, the balance with foreign countries will be considered. For example, if you have western food at noon, you will have Japanese food at night, and vice versa.

Yucai ranch supplies Royal bottled milk, which can be bought in some shops inside the palace hall. In fact, it doesnt make much difference from ordinary milk. However, compared with the royal families of the world, the Japanese royal family, which is absolutely poor, has to save money on food materials in many times.

In addition, there are many strange rules for the daily diet in the palace. For example, in principle, all the ingredients brought to the front of the emperor must be eaten (or should be eaten). There was a new chef who had not been in the palace for a long time and did not know all the food rules in the palace. When serving to Emperor Zhaohe, he did not remove the leaves of cupcakes (a Japanese snack with red bean stuffing wrapped in Cupressus leaves, as shown in the figure below) and brought them to the emperor. According to common sense, people will naturally take off the leaves and eat them again. However, Emperor Zhaohe quietly eats the cypress leaves, leaving only the veins. After cleaning up the tableware, looking at the leftover veins of emperor Zhaohes eating, the staff of the big meal class are all terrified. So the new chef was naturally scolded to the dogs. However, the new chef was not convinced. He thought that when the emperor ate, there were female officials and attendants nearby. Didnt anyone tell the emperor that he should pick the leaves and eat them? Everyone watched the emperor eat the leaves. I cant blame myself. In fact, this involves another Japanese palace rule. The servants and female officials around the emperor can only answer the emperors questions when he asks them, but they cant actively advise the emperor what to do. If emperor Zhaohe asked the people around him if they should eat the leaves together, they would naturally tell the emperor that they should pick the leaves before eating. However, if the emperor takes the initiative to speak without asking, it will be considered that the emperor has no common sense in his heart , which is absolutely not disrespectful behavior for lateral approach. So under all kinds of strange rules, we can only watch the emperor eat the leaves one by one.

Under this strange rule, all kinds of food materials will remove the inedible parts when they are brought to the emperor. The meat dishes of birds and animals cant be cooked with bones (though the emperor doesnt expect to swallow the bones). Fish must remove the bones except for some small fish that can be eaten with bones. The fruit needs to get rid of the seeds. Emperor Zhaohe loves watermelons very much. Every summer, it becomes a labor-intensive job to pick out all the watermelon seeds for the emperor. It is said that the only fruit that can be brought to the emperor without removing seeds is cherry. This is because the royal family has a kind of self-made and elegant way to go to the cherry core (there are so many rules for such a wonderful flower of the Japanese royal family).


As shown in the figure below, the imperial residence of the emperor is actually hundreds of meters away from the kitchen in the palace mentioned above. The chiban imperial land outside the emperors residence (now emperor derin and empress Yazi, as well as qiuxiao palace, Sanli palace and Gaoyuan Palace) is far away from the palace. In order to ensure that the dishes do not lose their flavor due to cooling on the way from the palace to the Imperial Palace, the chefs in the big meal class have also made great efforts.

As shown in the picture, the red circle is the imperial residence of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in the Pingcheng era (now its called the imperial residence of blown up immortal cave, where the two people still live before moving early next year). Huang Quans imperial residence was the residence of emperor Zhaohe and empress Xiangchun. The large building with the sky blue roof below is the palace where the kitchen is located.

First of all, when designing the Imperial Palace and each palace, the palace hall has set up a small kitchen in it. When its time to eat every day, the big meal class will send one chef and two main caterers who will arrange the table and clean up the tableware. The semi-finished dishes that are made to 80% will be transported to the imperial palace or palace by car. During the arrangement of the main meal, the chef will use the kitchen located in the imperial palace to complete the final cooking procedure of the dishes. In this way, the dishes brought to the royal family seem to have just been made on site, rather than being transported for a long time. It is also worth mentioning that members of the royal family sometimes use their own kitchen to cook their own meals. For example, shortly after the birth of emperor derin, for the first time, the prince and Princess of the United States, who raised their children in person (according to the tradition before the war, Empress of the emperor, crown prince and princess, are not able to raise their young children in person), once used the kitchen of the imperial palace to cook for derin himself. It also seems to be a good story. Its said that Emperor Akihito, who lived alone, would bake bread for himself at breakfast. In addition, he would often pay attention to all kinds of cooking journals to learn several dishes and cook for himself. It can be said that Renhe and meizhizi are more enlightened in cooking than the emperor and his wife.

In the era of crown princess, Meizhi, who cooks for her children in the kitchen of the Imperial Palace

The queen does not live in the imperial residence of Tokyo all year round. In winter and summer, the big meal class will also send personnel to follow the empress to Yeshan, where xusaki and other imperial residences will serve the empress of the emperor who goes to the winter or summer resort. The palace will also send cars every day to transport its food materials to the imperial land. In addition, there are many itineraries for Empress Mikado to visit all parts of Japan in one year. When you go out, you have to eat outdoors or on the road. At this time, it is also the work of the chef of the big meal class to make the convenient Bento for the emperor. Among them, sandwiches seem to be the favorite food of the two generations of emperor Zhaohe. In addition, during the visit, the emperors schedule is often accurate to minutes, which can be said to be very close, so the time for meals is also very limited and accurate. In order to ensure that the emperors schedule is not delayed by meals, it has become a science to control the temperature of food and drink. In general, the chef will go to the place where the emperor ordered the meal in advance, cook the dishes first, and control the temperature within the range suitable for immediate consumption, while making tea is more troublesome. The chef even needs to cooperate with the steps of the emperors meal, temporarily immerse the tea cup with a large amount of ice water to quickly reduce the temperature of the tea, so as to ensure that the emperor can drink at any time.

In addition, people like and dislike all kinds of food. Everyone is hungry in the middle of the night and wants to eat a midnight snack. What should the royal family do when they encounter food they dont like or want to add food. This needs to be analyzed in detail. Emperor Zhaohe seems to know the likes and dislikes of food very well. He likes pasta, hates spicy and heavy food, cant stand too hot food and so on. The eating habits of emperor Zhaohe can be said to be very famous. In addition, the two generations of emperor Zhaohe and Pingcheng, it is said, have never taken the initiative to express what they would like to eat one day, which is similar to the order behavior. They all eat what they do at the big meal, and never ask for anything. However, it is said that nowadays, in Dashan, the wind rating of the qiuxiao palace family seems to be poor. It may also be because there are relatively many children in the family, and there have been a lot of pickiness and requests for extra meals in the royal family.

Ceremony and banquet

After talking about the daily diet of the Japanese Emperor for so long, at the end of this article, the author brings the topic back to the ceremony and banquet in the palace to see the palace diet in these non daily occasions. It was mentioned at the beginning of this article that, in fact, it was different from the feast ceremony held after the emperors accession to the throne to entertain guests from all countries with Japanese materials. Traditionally, the Japanese royal familys palace dinner party for foreign guests was dominated by Western food, especially French food. Why is that?

In fact, the introduction of Western food into modern palace banquets can be traced back to the early days of Meiji. According to the menu of Meiji 8 (1875) below, it can be seen that as early as 140 years ago, the banquets in the palace had been dominated by Western food. The menu was full of dishes of beef and mutton that the Japanese were not used to eating, and even the seven faced birds (that is, Turkey). At that time, most of the reasons for this situation were to show the civilized side of Japanese diet to foreign guests.

Of course, this has also caused the opposition of some conservatives who attach great importance to the tradition. In 1917, when Qiushan became the chief chef of dashanliao, the Japanese British alliance was still in force at the end of the first World War. At that time, it can also be said that Japan had the highest influence in the international community and the most active and open period of social atmosphere. In the international diplomacy after World War I, dinner table diplomacy as one of the important links can not be ignored. In the active and open society as a whole, combined with the diplomatic environment at that time, it was an inevitable trend for the Palace Banquet to connect with Europe.

The palace banquet menu of Meiji 8

Before the dinner meeting in the palace, prepare the main meal of tableware in the dining room of the big meal class. The image comes from the propaganda film of the palace hall in the period of Zhaohe, because the time is long and the definition is not good.

In May this year, President trump of the United States hosted a dinner party in the imperial palace of Fengming. Most of the seats in the palace dinner meeting are arranged in such a horizontal E-shape.

Although meal has long been the first choice for official banquet in the palace to entertain foreign guests, this does not mean that the traditional Japanese cuisine has left the stage of the palace ceremony. Every time there is a traditional ritual activity in the palace, especially at the end of the year and the beginning of the year, it is the busiest time of the year for the big meal class. The busiest one is not the second one in charge of Western cooking, but the third one in charge of making Japanese snacks. This is because in the sacrificial activities, the traditional Japanese cuisine with the traditional Japanese dim sum as the core is eaten as ceremonial food or offered as offerings to gods. Beginning at the end of each year, the staff of the whole meal class will be mobilized to work on the third part of Japanese dim sum production. Since modern times, with the constant pursuit of Westernization, tradition is still an integral part of the Japanese royal family. Among them, the ritual in the palace centered on religious sacrificial activities is the most important part of the Japanese royal family tradition. In this sense, the role of Japanese cuisine in the palace can not be ignored.

(function() {(window. Slotbydup = window. Slotbydup| []). Push ({ID: 6374560, container: ssp_, size: 300250, display: inlay fix, async: true});));); (source of this article: surging news Author: Tian Daochuan, editor in charge: Wang Shuang bnj10766)