On February 15th, 2017, I payed an extremely enjoyable visit to the Jing Fong Dim Sum restaurant with many of my peers. Overall, I tasted many different aspects of Chinese history as well as different variations of Dim Sum that I had already experienced. One thing stuck out to me as extremely relatable to the topics we studied in our history course, I noticed strong symbolism from Taoism, Confucianism, and Legalism. Dim sum is a daily tradition in a traditional Chinese household. The meal is like afternoon tea in England, a family goes to a house that serves specifically dim sum and indulges in a decadent feast of sweets and buns. The idea of Dim Sum is to taste a variety of flavors for in one dish, there are three to four pieces. It was incredibly crazy to me how much symbolism and connection to what I learned in class to the meal had. Social and moral ethics were also conveyed throughout the meal.
The decor and environment of the restaurant were all within the protocols and etiquette I learned about in class. There was a red, silk tablecloth covering every round and communal table. This shows that good fortune is being sent out to everyone sitting at the table. The red in the tablecloth represents good luck and good fortune and the idea of the round tables is showing the communal and equal environment the Chinese would like to succeed. On the walls of either side, there were two phrases of large gold lettering. On one side are the letters gong ke can csi which represents prosperity to a wedding couple as well as celebrating new happiness. This phrase is companied by a golden phoenix which represents femininity, birth, and rebirth. There is also a golden dragon which represents power, strength, and masculinity. On the opposing wall, there is the lettering shuāngxǐ which means double happiness. On the walls, there are built in picture frames on the wall capturing images of bamboo stalks. That represents Taoism for the pictures of bamboo and the bamboo-like texture on the picture frame represents are natural and raw and uncultivated just like Taoism. The environment is social and buzzing with discussion and talk for these meals are like a social event. Confucianism represents the ideas that people must get together and socialize with one another in order to unite.
Confucius beliefs are reflected through out the meal. The five great relationships; father and son, brother and younger brother, husband and wife, older friend and younger friend, and ruler and subject are shown when the eldest member of the party starts off by serving himself and then the remaining guests follow. It is also shown when the servers rushing around with large metal carts stacked with containers of food give you what they think you would like and you must accept it. It is rude and disrespectful if one declines the offer of food a hostess or server offers you for they will lose face. The five virtues; ren, yi, zhi, xin, and li which represent honesty, knowledge, faith, propriety, and manners. These five virtues constitute Confucianism but also influence the etiquette portrayed in my meal at the Jing Fong restaurant.
Lastly, the food had a large thing to do with my connection between the one of the three philosophical belief systems we studied, Daoism. My favorite dishes were the steamed pork buns and the egg bun. The egg bun was a perfectly round creme bun with an orange dot in the center which is filled with an orange creme. I believe this bun was created in order to resemble an egg which in Chinese society, represents fertility and rebirth. Fertility and rebirth are the pinnacle examples of Daoism. Daoism revolves around the idea of no cultivation and the mindset of a child. Buns that represent babies and newborns remind me of Daoism for they both celebrate similar things in life. Orange and green carrot dumplings that look like a regular carrot on the surface but are actually a vegetable on the inside are another example of Daoism being reflected through food. These dumplings represent the idea of nature and simplicity for a carrot is natural and raw without the added cultivation of people.