China Halal Food History

Halal food history can be traced back to the early stage of  Tang  Dynasty,  when the trading activitieswere frequent between China and overseas countries, especially western countries.Many Arab businessmen came to China through the Silk Road (landroad) and the Spice Road (water road); meanwhile, they brought theMuslim unique dining customs and taboos of food and drink.

Afterwards, some people moved to north China, Yunnan and other places. As the increase in the number of Chinese Muslims, the cuisines and food dishesespeciallyfor Muslims had quickly developed. At the same time, because of its unique flavor, the Halal dishes were widely welcomed by a lot of non-Muslims.

The earliest book that documented the Halalfood was written in Yuan Dynasty. At that time, the Islamic food still retained more characteristics of western Arab countries food. Since the Ming and QingDynasties, Halal dishes not only appeared more types, but also basically formed its own unique style.

Especially the appearance of the "All-Sheep Banquet"in the Qing Dynasty was highly praised by people. Yuan Mei, a poet in Qing Dynasty, had praisedthe "All-Sheep Banquet" as a battle thatneeds superior skills in one of his poems. The banquethas as many as 72 kinds of dishes, and all the dishes are cooked with mutton. What is more surprising is that the flavor of all the 72 dishes is different from each other. It serves to show that cooking techniques of Halal food have reached a very high level at that time.

Due to historical reasons, China's Halal food did not have detailed systematic written records. Its inheritance and preservationwas only through word-of-mouth by the Muslim chefs generational. This unfortunate situation got fundamental change not until the establishment of the new China.

Since 1952, relevant departments have successively excavated, tidied and published dozens of recipes of Halal dishes, such as China Halal Menu, Hui Menu, Halal All-Sheep Menu, Beijing Snacks, etc. All the recipeswere compiled by famous Muslim chefs from different places. Among the recipes, there are traditional famous dishes, as well as their improvements and innovations.These tidying and publishing of the recipes is a sign that the cooking skills of China's Halal food have developed into a new phase. They not only enrich the life of all ethnic groups, but also have very good effect on the development of cultural exchanges between various ethnics.