After grueling weeks of midterms and projects, we all deserve to think, “I’m going to eat like royalty today.” Unfortunately, searching “royal food” on Yelp doesn’t yield too many results. Look no further — this post has you and your extravagant dinner covered. Here are 11 typical dishes that were served in the ancient royal palaces of China and Korea.
1. Edible bird’s nest (China: Qing dynasty)
Because it’s always reassuring if the dish name has “edible” in it. The nests were made with solidified saliva by swiftlets. It’s only a bit weird to think royalty enjoyed the taste of birds’ saliva…
2. Peking duck (China: Yuan dynasty)
A classic still commonly served in restaurants today, Peking duck with its tender meat and crispy duck skin originated from the emperor’s dinner table.
3. Dezhou braised chicken (China: Qing dynasty)
This traditional dish is a Chinese twist on fried chicken. Seems like even royalty couldn’t give up their scrumptious fried chicken.
4. Fried prawns (China: Sui and Tang dynasties)
Fried prawns are as simple and delicious as they sound. You can never go wrong with fried food.
5. Shark fin soup (China: Qing dynasty)
Can a dish be any more controversial? Although shark finning is heavily criticized nowadays, shark fin soup, along with edible bird’s nest, has always been a luxury item enjoyed by wealthy and powerful figures since ancient China.
6. Dish of nine delicacies (Korea: Chosun dynasty)
This dish is the epitome of food art. Not only are the nine colorful and distinct dishes pleasant to look at, but they also create the best taste combinations when eaten together. This dish takes a lot of time and effort, so it was definitely a popular choice for royalty.
7. Braised short rib (Korea: Chosun dynasty)
Braised short rib is still considered a luxury dish to this day due to the price; royalty, however, could afford having meat dishes all day everyday.
8. Palace sautéed rice cake (Korea: Chosun dynasty)
This dish is a twist on tteokbokki, a spicy rice cake dish. This palace version of tteokbokki replaces the hot pepper paste with beef marinated in soy sauce and garlic.
9. Savory pancakes (Korea: Origins unknown)
Anything can be made into jeon, or Korea’s version of savory pancakes. Add anything you want to a flour and water batter and fry it.
10. Shinsunro (Korea: Chosun dynasty)
Shinsunro is the epitome of Korean royal cuisine. It is a form of hotpot, cooking all kinds of vegetables and meat in a rich broth.
11. Side dishes. Lots and lots of them. (Korea: Origins unknown)
The emperor’s table was always packed with side dishes. Royalty would’ve needed very long arms to reach every dish on the table.
Since we all should occasionally feel like royalty, why not eat like them too? If these dishes were eaten by people considered most important in their countries, you can be assured that they’re delicious. We only ask that you don’t go searching for swiftlets or sharks!