BELLAVITA寶麗廣場三樓，白色牆面印有「厲家菜」毛筆字跡，《enya FASHION QUEEN》拾級而上前往用餐區，灰石牆面與地磚沿路鋪墊，自然光灑在六角涼亭，偶有墨綠盆景和花卉錯落，雕花屏風半掩骨董桌椅，時光悄然逆流回清朝，御花園裡皇族用膳景致彷彿躍入眼簾，盤裡飄香的皇室御膳，秘傳手法百年如一日。
Family Li Imperial Cuisine is located on the third floor in BELLAVITA. The name of the restaurant is written in calligraphy on the wall. The crew of enya FASHION QUEEN walked upstairs to the dining area. The limestone wall and floor tiles are extended along the pavement. The natural light shines on the hexagonal pavilion. A few dark green plants and flowers are strewn about on the way. Antique tables and chairs are half-hidden behind carved screens. In this place, time goes back to the Qing Dynasty. It is like the imperial members were once again dining in the Imperial Garden. The secret imperial cuisines smell wonderful and they have been cooked in the same way throughout hundreds of years.
The Hundred Years of Li Imperial Recipes
The imperial recipes of the Li Family Imperial Cuisine have been handed down throughout generations and are traced back to the Tongzhi period and Guangxu period in the Qing Dynasty. Li Tzu Chia, the Minister of the Interior back then, was in charge of the recipes for the emperor and empress dowager. Later on, the Qing Dynasty declined and fell. However, Li Tzu Chia wrote down over hundreds of recipes from his memory. The descendants of Aisin Gioro and the ministers of the Qing Dynasty stay committed to the delicate cuisine philosophy during the time of foreign invasion and Cultural Revolution. In 1984, Li Shan Lin, the grandson of Li Tzu Chia, lived in a siheyuan on No.11, Yang Fang, in an alley in Beijing. He has been studying the imperial recipe since childhood and finally was able to reproduce the three traditions of imperial cuisine, authentically through hard work and unified cooking methods. A meal for up to ten people had to be prepared for several days and cooked all day. The steaming delicate dishes cooked in the stove relived nostalgia for the imperial clan.
The Profound Culture in the Imperial Cuisine
The culinary DNA has been passed down in Family Li. Li Hsiao Lin, the member of the second generation of the family, introduced the cuisine to other countries, including Taiwan. The arrangement of the imperial cuisine was luxurious. Nowadays the cuisine is served as combo. From appetizer, heated dish to dessert, each dish has a deep-rooted cultural value. Empress Dowager Cixi relied on fish, tripe and swallow’s nest for beauty and health and loved the grilled roasted pork and lamb. “Braised Fish Maw with Steam-Fried Pork”, a classic heated dish, is made by braising the deep-fried pork belly and foreleg with fish tripe; therefore it has an elegant, fresh taste. This dish was made in consideration of the dental degeneration that Empress Dowager Cixi suffered in her old age. Manchurians use venison and lamb for dehumidification in winter. Therefore, “Stewed Venison in Spicy Dressing” was made using the front part of the deer, which is tender and juicy. The venison has been seasoned and the smell has been covered up. It is put into the pot at low temperature, fried and boiled. The venison is pan-fried with Sichuan peppercorn and scallions and has a strong, delicious smell. “Fried Egg Custard” has a golden hue. It is made by stirring flour, egg yolk, sugar and water thoroughly. It has been modified into the Henan Osmanthus Egg, which was Empress Dowager Cixi’s favorite dessert. No matter how time passes by, the Family Li always maintains the quality of imperial cuisine. Wu Sen Wei, the restaurant manager of Family Li Imperial Cuisine, explained that, “Family Li’s dream is to pass down the dining culture of the imperial court.”