New Chinese historical TV drama presents mouthwatering delicacies with centuries-old royal feast
Published: Feb 23, 2022 11:50 PM
Promotional materials of <em>Royal Feast</em> Photo: Courtesy of Mango TV

Promotional materials of Royal Feast Photo: Courtesy of Mango TV

Since its debut on Tuesday on Chinese streaming platform Mango TV, the historical drama Royal Feast has captured the audience by presenting mouthwatering exquisite delicacies served for ancient Chinese emperors. 

From ancient times, cuisine has always been of paramount importance for people in China, which is why chefs throughout the ages have always been experimenting with ways to make meals even more delicious.

If you are on diet but still want to eat meat, what options are available to you? The show demonstrates that a vegetarian feast can also contain "fish" and "shrimp" made using ingredients such as tofu.

"There are more than 1,000 dishes in the menu of the show. Among them, around 100 dishes are desserts, nearly 300 are fried dishes and there are over 100 recipes for staple foods, covering nearly all the dishes mentioned in historical records of the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)," a cuisine consultant for the show told the Global Times.

Set during the Ming Dynasty, the story follows a young woman who devotes herself to cuisine and works her way up to become the head chef at the imperial palace.

Starring Chinese actors Xu Kai and Wu Jinyan, the 40-episode series also sees a romance develop between the Ming Dynasty emperor, Zhu Zhanji (Xu), and the young woman played by Wu.

The cast has attracted numerous viewers as Xu and Wu played lovers in the extremely popular drama, Story of Yanxi Palace. The show was aired in over 90 countries and regions after becoming a huge sensation in China. In 2018, it was the most frequently searched TV drama on Google.

Xu and Wu's characters broke up in the previous drama, casting a shadow on the hearts of the audience. However, in this occasion, the two are expected to stay together.

"I watched the drama after its debut while I was having dinner. The delicacies in the show made me eat more than usual. I think the scenes of cooking are so exquisite and really give me an appetite," Fang, a 27-year-old viewer from Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, told the Global Times, adding that she started to watch the show by accident but was drawn in by the food scenes.

The producers hired a team of professional chefs to research and design the dishes for the show. The dishes presented on the screen were carefully made on site according to high standards, Mango TV noted.

One of the most complicated dishes in the series featured a food sculpture of a painting by Wang Wei, a well-known poet from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It took six artists, working more than 10 hours a day for over seven days to finish the work.

"Our drama is based on food. We restored the cuisine in Chinese history to introduce more aspects of Chinese food culture to the audience," Wang Wei, director of the drama, said.