Nixon-Peking Banquet

Dublin Core


Nixon-Peking Banquet


Nixon, Chinese--Food, Peking, Banquet, Diplomacy, Menu


Newspaper article reviewing a restaurant's food, which is based on a menu that attempts to replicate the Nixon-Peking banquet.


Barry, Naomi


International Herald Tribune Historical Archive 1887-2013


International Herald Tribune (European Edition)










GALE|CGZFTE426293988 [Gale document number]


Paris, United States

Text Item Type Metadata


Dining dut In Paris Nixon-Pékin g Banquet By Naomi Barry
y pARIS (IHT).—An enterprising R* Chinese family, recently migrated from Cambodia, want- d their new restaurant to make m impact. To revive the family ortunes, they are offering “The Chinese Menu of President Nixon erved in Paris.” A list of dishes (IHT, Feb. 22) iras enough to go by, since “every hef has his own style, anyway.” As a comparative tasting com- nfttee, there were—among others -Richard Dudman of the St. nuis Post-Dispatch, who had æen present at the Peking ban- (uet, and Peter Kalischer of CBS lews, an old China hand. The two Hong Kong chefs of he Pagoda Restaurant had been iven the six hours required ad- anced notice. The table had a estive note. The napkins in the •lasses had been pleated into a 0-fold pleated fan. They were iretty but not quite up to the ’eking centerpiece which had >een a circular plot of greens lanted with kumquats. “We better have a little Man¬ iai,” suggested Dudman. “We /ere always saying toasts there, teems like the authentic stuff. 30 proof.” Tires Kalischer poured a little of the olorless firewater into a saucer nd set a match. It was so al- oholize4, it flamed without being reviously warmed. The odor was f burning tires. “To the diminishing exaspera- ;ons between the American and tench peoples,” said Kalischer. The Mao-Tai is not an ode to le chairman. On the bottle, the ibel proclaimed, “The liquor wes its name to its production ;nter, Mau Tai Chen, in the orthern part of Kwei Chow rovince, where for over two cen- lries it has been fermented and Istilled from the best wheat and lillet with the famous Mau Tai rontain water.” With a rousing Kompai, ’Oiighly, cheers!) we set off cn ie ritual 10 courses starting with soup of splendid refinement, ft as enriched, not with common imboo shoots but with the eso- irica of the marrow extracted can the bamboo shoot. The sec- id course was shark’s fin soup. Soup “Not used to having a lot of •up in a row,” commented Dud- an, who did admit that his îowledge of Chinese cuisine had lly begun in Peking. Rarities umered in stock are an honor- aspect of the Chinese feast, id may appear several times the same meal. In their exemplary “Chinese .stronomy,” Hsiang Ju Lin and suifeng Lin give the lowdown l the “smooth, melting, resilient” id expensive shark’s fin: “Bird’s nest, tree fungus, sea- lg, fish maw, shark’s fin and llyfish have only two things in mmon: unusual textures and sipid flavors. These are ab¬ ilities, not for general daily e, but prominent in banquets, order to become even palatable, ey are completely dependent on el flavor of other ingredients, t they are the gastronome’s ;ts, the cook’s burden, the host’s ide and the guest’s joy.” The Pagoda’s shark’s fin soup is eminently palatable and a
g y - e y e n y ” - s . d - S f n - e e e d s guest’s joy with Kalischer’s Japanese-born wife, Gloria. Course Number Three earned unanimous applause : hundred- year eggs (as perfect as they could be), smoked ham, and sweetly piquant Cantonese sau¬ sages. Dudman missed an un¬ usual preparation of onions lie couldn’t quite describe, so we had another round of Mao-Tai, “To the deviation.” The Mao- Tai was on the table, à gogo. The spring rolls had a fine fresh filling, but I found the wrappers too thick. Duck The fifth course was the marvel of Peking duck, in which the crisp skin is obtained by bal¬ looning air between skin and flesh during a preliminary 24- hour drying period. “Better than Peking,” rapturized Dudman. “There the grease was dribbling down my chin.” “Good, bad or indifferent, I like Peking duck,” toasted old China hand Kalischer. Instead of the wafer-thin pancakes in which the skin is often enrobed, the Pagoda provided what looked like small rectangular tea sand¬ wiches which we all found dis¬ appointing, but none of us was sufficiently erudite to know if this was the classic accompani¬ ment in the Forbidden City. The shrimp à la Chinoise were arranged in an exquisite pattern, and doused with a crimson sauce. They failed to please, the tex¬ ture being more rubbery than succulent, and we sent them back after a nibble. “He who chew too much Pe¬ king duck, eschew shrimp,” went the next round of Mao-Tai. The fried rice was superlative. The grains must have been given only a butterfly stir which preserved the lightness of the rice. Triumph Course Seven was a triumph. The newspaper clipping had spe¬ cified chicken with coconut without specifying details. Dud¬ man averred that the imaginative Pagoda chefs had surpassed Chou En-lai’s men who had simply presented chunks of chicken steamed with cubes of coconut meat. For the Paris version of the banquet, each person was presented with a hollowed coco¬ nut filled with a fragrant soup in which floated bits of chicken, chicken skin, giblets, black mush¬ rooms and water chestnuts subtly perfumed with coconut. The desserts were refreshing squares of almond cream (some¬ what like junket) with canned fruit salad and gelatinous pale green confections filled with sweet bean paste. Gloria Kalischer packed the extra sweetmeats in a paper napkin for her Japanese cook, to give her a taste of home. The final course was listed on the menu as a snorter of Mao- Tai. No problems. “To the friend¬ ship of the Chinese and Amer¬ ican peoples.” “Just like at the Nixon af¬ fair,” beamed Dudman. (Pagoda, 50 Rue de Provence, Paris 9. Telephone: 874-81-48. Price for the Nixon banquet for four persons (minimum), includ¬ ing jasmine tea, Mao-Tai, and service: 437 francs. Served in the evenings only. Six hours ad¬ vance notice obligatory.)

Original Format



Barry, Naomi, “Nixon-Peking Banquet,” Intro to Digital Humanities Fall 2018, accessed July 25, 2021,

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