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New restaurant allows visitors to eat like royalty in the Forbidden City

By Li Yingxue (China Daily)    15:52, March 04, 2019

The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperor, Qianlong, ate hotpot more than 200 times in one particular year, according to the imperial dining archives.

In spring, he would eat pickled Chinese cabbage hotpot for breakfast; at the beginning of summer, the imperial kitchen would prepare Chinese yam and duck soup for him; in the fall, his breakfast included edible bird's nest and duck hotpot; and when the Winter Solstice finally arrived, Qianlong would eat hotpot with chicken, lamb and mushroom three times a day.

Just outside the Palace Museum's north entrance, the Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwumen), is a row of red houses with more than 250 years' history running from east to west, which used to be dorms for the imperial guards.

Now, the east side of the red houses has become a popular site for young people to take photos when visiting the Palace Museum, which received almost 16.7 million visits in 2017, as it has been turned into the Corner Tower Restaurant, a place to enjoy hotpot like the emperors and the empresses of the old time.

The restaurant, which opened on Feb 5, the first day of Lunar New Year, has caught public imagination.

After all, who does not want to eat imperial-style hotpot near the Palace Museum.

The restaurant also serves traditional Beijing food such as Peking duck roll and old Beijing-style noodles with soybean paste in the day time. Hotpot is only served at dinner.

On Tuesday at 5:30 pm, Wang Yuhang, an employee at a commercial real estate company in Beijing, arrived at the restaurant to secure her reservation for a table for 12, as she and her colleagues were having a team-building event there.

Wang, who planned to enjoy the night scene of the Palace Museum after the meal, said: "To eat at this restaurant is interesting for us. The environment here is entertaining, and most of us like hotpot."

While Wang and her colleagues were enjoying their meal, outside the restaurant a walk-in diner spent two hours in a line waiting for a table.

The restaurant has been fully booked till March 10, and before that date, walk-in diners have to wait until the first round of diners finish eating, according to Shi Jie, the branding manager of the restaurant.

"We didn't expect the restaurant to be this popular, and we don't want diners to wait too long, so we will offer only a few reservations after March 10 so that the walk-in guests can spend less time waiting," says Shi.


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Bianji)

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