The Namesake of Lion-Head

25 Mar

On a Chinese food blog authored by a well known chef and food historian in Taiwan, I finally found the origin of this bemusing and slightly odd name.  Here it is:

These meatballs were originally served to the emperor and the aristocrats, and considered quite a fancy treat.  It had a different name back then: Sunflower Treasure, as it was served to the rich and famous during the occasion of viewing sunflowers in bloom.  But soon the politically savvy at the time found a even better name for it, as the flag of the dynasty featured a lion, and the meatballs at the time were the size of wash basin— hence the “lion-head.”

Once this delicacy was introduced to the commoners, the size had quickly shrunken to fist size, since no one had that kind of abundant access to pork.



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