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Plastic fantastic

Eurest | Local presence |  19 November 2015


Displayed on a round table is the most dazzling ensemble of 40 Chinese dishes. Amongst these plates is a whole bear’s claw surrounded by little glistening fish tongues; civet cat with pears, and a steaming bowl of bird’s nest soup. Every plate is presented with the utmost care and detail; onlooker’s mouths may water, but there’s no use tucking in — it’s all plastic.

The extraordinary spread is a reconstruction of the Man-Han banquet of the Qing Dynasty court, displayed in the Hangzhou Cuisine Museum to replicate the most famous meal in Chinese history. The museum has hundreds of models of food that are built to scale, ranging from Buddhist vegetarian dishes, snacks eaten in the Middle Ages by canal-dwellers, to the delicate pastries made during the Song Dynasty 800 years ago.

You might expect a food museum to display food from an entire country, searching every corner of every city to source the most interesting bites to display. What’s so wonderful about this museum is that it’s a celebration of the gastronomy found in only one Chinese city. It’s really honed in on the local cuisine and celebrated what Hangzhou has to offer — if you ever wondered what the people ate all those years ago, it’s all there in front of you, ready to be devoured (visually, that is).

At Eurest, we believe that preserving a sense of what’s local is very important. We’re all about valuing local preferences, celebrating them — and building them into our menus. And we work to support farmers and growers across the country so you can get fresh food delivered through a distribution network that’s focused on driving down food miles.  

Just like the Hangzhou Cuisine Museum, your restaurant can celebrate what your community has to offer. But this time, your customers get to enjoy the food, rather than getting a serious case of food envy.

Dunlop, Fuchsia 2014. ‘China’s new passion for food museums’, BBC News Magazine [online],, (Accessed 06 February 2014).

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