Buddha Jumps Over the Wall

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Buddha Jumps Over the Wall
Buddha soup boul.jpg
Place of originChina
Region or stateFujian
Main ingredientsshark fin, quail eggs, bamboo shoots, scallops, sea cucumber, abalone, fish maw, chicken, Jinhua ham, pork tendon, ginseng, mushrooms, and taro
VariationsShark fin soup
Buddha Jumps Over the Wall
Traditional Chinese佛跳牆
Simplified Chinese佛跳墙

Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, also known as Buddha's Temptation,FotiaoQiang(Chinese: 佛跳牆; pinyin: fó tiào qiáng), is a variety of shark fin soup in Fujian cuisine.[1][2] 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] and special manner of cooking.[1] The dish's name is an allusion to the dish's ability to entice the vegetarian Buddhist monks from their temples to partake in the meat-based dish, and implies that even the strictly vegetarian Gautama Buddha would try to jump over a wall to sample it.[4] It is high in protein and calcium.[5] It is one of China's state banquet dishes.  

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. As well as Yellow wine (Chinese: 黄酒;pinyin: Huángjiǔ), which is an extremely important element in the soup.[6] 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.[8][9] Imitation shark fin and farmed abalone are available as alternatives.


There are many different stories about 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 (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, located in the Shilla Hotel in Seoul.[4][10] The dish played an important role in changing the mainstream of Chinese cuisine consumed in South Korea from Sichuan 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.[11][12] When President Moon Jae-in visited China, it was served at the state dinner.

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.[9]

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 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]
  5. ^ 호텔신라, 불도장과 제주 한라산 김치 신상품 출시 (in Korean). News Wire/ JoongAng Ilbo. 13 February 2006. Archived from the original on 31 August 2011.
  6. ^ How To Make The Classic Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, retrieved 3 June 2021
  7. ^ a b "Leap of taste". The Age. 26 September 2006.
  8. ^ "Saving the world's rarest shellfish". The Independent. 12 December 2005.
  9. ^ a b Khan, Stephen (25 June 2006). "Fins for sale". Environment. The Independent. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  10. ^ "The Cuisine of Ching Dynasty Imperial Household Visit to Seoul". Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  11. ^ Han Eun-gu (한은구) (21 June 2001). (제철맛집) `桃里`의 불도장 .. 참선스님도 유혹한 맛 (in Korean). Hankyung.com.
  12. ^ Park Hui-jin (박희진). "Archived copy" (명장·名匠) "요리는 내 인생" 신라호텔 요리명장 (in Korean). Money Today. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)