A restaurant carrying the legacy of China's first communist leader Chairman Mao is set to open in Parnell.
Cheng Fu Yan, which translates to "Cheng's official banquet", is the fine dining restaurant co-founded by Ruming Cheng and his grandson Kevin (Jian) Liu in 2005. Today, their Beijing and ChongQing restaurants, known as Red Wall 1939, serve as two of the most popular fine dining restaurants in China.
Cheng is one of only 16 chefs to be recognised as a culinary master in China. He began his culinary training in 1939 before being enlisted as the executive chef for Chairman Mao Zedong, a position he held for 20 years. He continued to lead culinary affairs for state leaders after Mao, including politicians Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zeming.
Liu is bringing the famed eatery to Auckland's Parnell Rose Gardens (Dove Myer Robinson Park) this September. Showcasing imperial Chinese cuisine, Liu and his culinary team will present historic state banquet recipes "with a modern twist," handed down from his grandfather.
Speaking with NZ Herald, Liu said "Our food also represents important moments in China's history, and Mao's red-braised pork is an example of such a historic dish," — the hong shao rou has been recorded as one of Mao's favourites. There will also be Red Wall's silver chrysanthemum bean curd soup, a dish comprising exactly 108 delicate slivers of tofu.
Further dishes served at the Beijing restaurant include sea prawn wrapped with cheese and breadcrumbs and a historic dish of braised Wuchang bream which inspired a poem from Mao.
The restaurant will also have a mini exhibition area, VIP rooms decorated in the style of Mao's guestroom, a study and tea room.
The Auckland outpost of Red Wall 1939 is set to open at 85 Gladstone Road, Parnell this September. For more information, visit redwall1939.co.nz.