Datang: Food from the Tang Dynasty

The Chinese are known to have one of the best cuisines.  During the Tang dynaty specifically, the many common foodstuffs and cooking ingredients in addition to those already listed were barley, garlic, salt, turnips, soybeans, pears, apricots, peaches, apples, pomegranates, jujubes, rhubarb, hazelnuts, pine nuts, chestnuts, walnuts, yams, taro, etc. The various meats that were consumed included pork, chicken, lamb (especially preferred in the north), sea otter, bear (which was hard to catch, but there were recipes for steamed, boiled, and marinated bear), and even Bactrian camels.

In the south along the coast meat from seafood was by default the most common, as the Chinese enjoyed eating cooked jellyfish with cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, cardamom, and ginger, as well as oysters with wine, fried squid with ginger and vinegar, horseshoe crabs and red swimming crabs, shrimp and pufferfish, which the Chinese called “river piglet”.

Some foods were also off-limits, as the Tang court encouraged people not to eat beef (since the bull was a valuable working animal), and from 831 to 833 Emperor Wenzong of Tang even banned the slaughter of cattle on the grounds of his religious convictions to Buddhism.

Thankfully, eventhough Datang showcases food from the Tang Dynasty, we are lucky that we get to try everything that they had to offer. The three things that stood out for me are the following.

The soy chicken was surprisingly tasty. It was cold but tasty. There were blood but not in an icky way. The chicken was cooked just right.


The soup contained sebot which is an herb that Chinese families have their kids drink. This aids in boosting immune system as well as aiding the growth spurt. This is also quite delicious which makes it even better.


The toasted bun dipped in condensed milk is the perfect end to a modern Chinese feast. This is both familiar and comforting and a definite crowd favorite.


If you are in the area, drop by at McKinley Venice Piazza Mall. Datang is located at the Ground Floor near the canal.

Kathy Kenny


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