Suiyuan Shidan

As indicated on Wikipedia, the Suiyuan Shidan 隨園食單 is composed of a preface, two chapters on gastronomy, followed by twelve chapters of recipes.

The contents of the chapters on gastronomy are listed in full since they serve as an important guide for thinking about cuisine, a theory for gastronomy and cuisine if you will. For everything else, the search field is your friend.

  1. Preface (序)
  2. Essential knowledge (須知單)
  3. Things to avoid (戒單)
  4. Seafoods (海鮮單)
  5. River Delicacies (江鮮單)
  6. Pork (Sacrificial Livestock) (特牲單)
  7. Assorted Livestock (雜牲單)
  8. Birds (Winged creatures) (羽族單)
  9. Fish (Scaly aquatic creatures) (水族有鱗單)
  10. Scaleless aquatic creature (水族無鱗單)
  11. Various vegetarian dishes (雜素菜單)
  12. Small dishes (小菜單)
  13. Appetizers (點心單)
  14. Rice and congee (飯粥單)
  15. Tea and wine (茶酒單)

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10 thoughts on “Suiyuan Shidan

  1. Thank you for doing this! I read everything you have already translated. I look forward to attempting the recipes at home. Keep up the good work!


    1. You’re welcome! Hopefully the horrid grammar and typos aren’t too much a distraction. I’m looking forwards to finishing the “Gastronomy” chapters to start on the actual recipes!


  2. They aren’t distracting and there aren’t so many. The main thing is that it is getting translated. I’m from the U.S. but live in the Rep. of Panama in the middle of the Chinese district. 10% of the population of Panama is from China. A lot of my Chinese friends own restaurants here and I hope to learn Mandarin soon. I’m the director of Non-Profit and a layman chef when time permits. Chinese cuisine has always intrigued me. The more authentic and less “American” the better. So that is what lead me to look into the Suiyuan Shidan.


    1. I pined for good Chinese food while I lived in Montreal, which Toronto and the big cities in North America provides. However, I do hold something in my heart for American Chinese food in that it’s an evolutionary offspring of Chinese cuisine, one of the first of the “fusion” American cuisines, if I may. My only wish is that some courageous soul will take the effort to distill the soul and essence of American Chinese food and make it shine. If Malaysian Chinese (Nonya) cuisine can evolve to be fantastic and Indian Chinese cuisine can turn our so great, I’m sure something can be done to make American Chinese food rival the two former.


  3. I agree. I like mixing cultural flavors together. In the U.S. we see Tex-Mex. This is a good and unique fusion of American and Mexican cuisine. But then it’s taken to another level of Americanization via Taco Bell, which though convenient is not remotely Mexican. We observe the same Americanization via fast food chains in the U.S. like Panda Express etc. which saturate the food with heavy corn syrup, frozen vegetables and in general bread their chicken. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy eating these foods from time to time for convenience sake, but they leave me feeling sick and bloated, which I never feel when eating authentic Chinese cuisine, unless I eat Northern Chinese food like fried dumplings. Here in Panama the Chinese originate from GuangZhou primarily and the food is Cantonese. Usually lighter. I find I can eat a lot more Chinese food than other cuisines and not feel like I’ve eaten too much afterwards. I’m not sure why. Perhaps the tea?


  4. you are amazing! I accidentally ran into this blog while thinking on a whim that if there’d be an English version (I’d like to try if there’s none, haha) but you did such great work!!!! Ever thought about publishing it? It deserves global attention 😛


    1. Thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying the posts! I think if there is a demand for publishing it I certainly won’t mind. Still, there still a large amount of editing work that need to be put into this before it’s publishable.

      I also have to find a better way to sort out each translated piece of text with my own musings and the background information regarding the translation subject. Actually, I think part of the more valuable information provided in the translations may actually be with the latter (two perhaps?) since with the change of language and the way people cook sometimes the most apparent interpretation may actually be incorrect (see Cuttlefish roe and Grenadier Anchovy).

      Holiday seasons in Canada are always busy but I’ll see how many post I can put up in the next two weeks. Keep reading and commenting!


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