Dinghu-style Vegetarian Dish


A senior monk at the Qingyun Temple on Dinghu Mountain of Zhaoqing City, Guangdong Province was the originator during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) of the Dinghu-style vegetarian dish. Mushrooms are the dish’s main ingredients – dried mushrooms, straw mushrooms and whatever others are available. The dish also contains tremella, dried bamboo shoots and is cooked in spring water. When ready to serve the dish has a mouthwatering aroma, fresh, bright colors and is sweet and crisp to taste.

After sampling the dish, Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing Dynasty reportedly gave orders that it be included in an imperial banquet offering the best of Manchurian and Chinese delicacies.

Dinghu Mountain was at one time the site of a primeval forest, the closest such forest to any city on eatth. It was also a point of convergence for Buddhist pilgrims. With a history of more than 300 years, Qingyun is the best-known temple in the Lingnan area (the area south of the Five Ridges covering Guangdong and Guangxi). A song about the Dinghu-style vegetarian dish written by a senior monk at the temple is known throughout Southeast Asia, and has hence promoted its popularity.

The dish has since evolved from just a few to more than 160 variations. Chefs from temples in Hong Kong, Macao and other places all come to Qingyun Temple to learn how to cook the specialty.


The original Dinghu-style vegetarian dish consists of various types of mushrooms, bamboo fungus, tremella, lotus seeds, bean sprouts and carrots. After boiling the mushrooms and tremella, place all ingredients in a wok and simmer. Pile the mushrooms, bamboo fungus and lotus seeds at the center of the plate. Pour the sauce, consisting of hot oil, cooking wine, sugar, salt, and starch, over them and arrange the tremella and bean sprouts around the other ingredients, making a flower-shape out of the mushrooms.

The fresh ingredients, simple cooking method and appealing colors of this well-structured dish, plus its crisp, sweet taste, make it an outstanding vegetarian choice.