Buddha Jumps Over the Wall

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Buddha Jumps Over the Wall
Buddha soup boul.jpg
Course soup
Place of origin China
Region or state Fujian
Main ingredients shark fin, quail eggs, bamboo shoots, scallops, sea cucumber, abalone, fish maw, chicken, Jinhua ham, pork tendon, ginseng, mushrooms, and taro
Variations Shark fin soup
Cookbook: Buddha Jumps Over the Wall  Media: Buddha Jumps Over the Wall
Buddha Jumps Over the Wall
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 佛跳牆
Simplified Chinese 佛跳墙
Korean name
Hangul 불도장
Hanja 佛跳牆

Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, also known as Buddha's Temptation (Chinese: 佛跳墙; pinyin: fó tiào qiáng), is a variety of shark fin soup in Fujian cuisine.[1][2] It was created by Zheng Chunfa, celebrated chef and proprietor of the Ju Chun Yuan Restaurant in Fuzhou, Fujian Province. Zheng was private chef of a senior local official in his early years. Since its creation during the Qing dynasty (1644–1912),[1] the dish has been regarded as a Chinese delicacy known for its rich taste,[3] usage of various high-quality ingredients[4] and special manner of cooking.[1] The dish's name is an allusion to the dish's ability to entice the vegetarian monks from their temples to partake in the meat-based dish.[5] It is high in protein and calcium.[6]

Concerns over the sustainability and welfare of sharks have limited consumption and availability of the soup.


The soup or stew consists of many ingredients, especially animal products, and requires one to two full days to prepare.[2] A typical recipe requires many ingredients including quail eggs, bamboo shoots, scallops, sea cucumber, abalone, shark fin, fish maw, chicken, Jinhua ham, pork tendon, ginseng, mushrooms, and taro. Some recipes require up to thirty main ingredients and twelve condiments.[2][7] Use of shark fin, which is sometimes harvested by shark finning, and abalone, which is implicated in destructive fishing practices, are controversial for both environmental and ethical reasons.[4][8]


There are many stories on the origin of the dish. A common one is about a scholar traveling by foot during the Qing dynasty. While he traveled with his friends, the scholar preserved all his food for the journey in a clay jar used for holding wine. Whenever he had a meal, he warmed up the jar with the ingredients over an open fire. Once they arrived in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province, the scholar started cooking the dish. The smells spread over to a nearby Buddhist monastery where monks were meditating. Although monks are not allowed to eat meat, one of the monks, tempted, jumped over the wall. A poet among the travelers said that even Buddha would jump the wall to eat the delicious dish.[1][7]

Consumption outside China[edit]

In South Korea, the dish is known as Buldojang (불도장, the Korean reading of the same Chinese characters). It was first introduced in 1987 by Hu Deok-juk (), an ethnic Chinese chef from Taiwan at the Chinese restaurant Palsun (팔선), located in the Shilla Hotel in Seoul.[5][9] The dish played an important role in changing the mainstream of Chinese cuisine consumed in South Korea from Szechuan cuisine to Cantonese cuisine. However, in 1989, the Jogye Order, the representative order of traditional Korean Buddhism, strongly opposed the selling of the dish because the name is considered a blasphemy to Buddhism. Although Buldojang temporarily disappeared, the dispute ignited the spreading of rumors among the public, and the dish consequently gained popularity.[10][11]

Kai Mayfair in London was dubbed "home of the world's most expensive soup" when it unveiled its £108 version of Buddha Jumps Over the Wall in 2005. The dish includes shark's fin, Japanese flower mushroom, sea cucumber, dried scallops, chicken, Hunan ham, pork, and ginseng.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Shidao Xu; Chunjiang Fu; Qingyu Wu (2003). Origins of Chinese cuisine. Asiapac Books Pte Ltd. pp. 7–16. ISBN 981-229-317-5. 
  2. ^ a b c Hanchao Lu (2005). Street criers: a cultural history of Chinese beggars. Stanford University Press. pp. 73–74. ISBN 0-8047-5148-X. 
  3. ^ Nina Zagat; Tim Zagat (15 June 2007). "Eating Beyond Sichuan". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ a b "Saving the world's rarest shellfish". The Independent. 12 December 2005. 
  5. ^ a b Jo Jeong-hun (조정훈) (9 November 2007). "(Why) 내일 세상 떠난다면 무엇을 먹겠는가? (Why) What would you eat if you die tomorrow?" (in Korean). The Chosun Ilbo. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ 호텔신라, 불도장과 제주 한라산 김치 신상품 출시 (in Korean). News Wire/ JoongAng Ilbo. 13 February 2006. Archived from the original on 31 August 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Leap of taste". The Age. 26 September 2006. 
  8. ^ a b Khan, Stephen (25 June 2006). "Fins for sale". Environment. The Independent. Retrieved 13 May 2009. 
  9. ^ http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?bicode=020000&biid=2003112656618
  10. ^ Han Eun-gu (한은구) (21 June 2001). (제철맛집) `桃里`의 불도장 .. 참선스님도 유혹한 맛 (in Korean). Hankyung.com. 
  11. ^ Park Hui-jin (박희진). (명장·名匠) "요리는 내 인생" 신라호텔 요리명장 (in Korean). Money Today.