“Now we are able to sell our ingredients across the globe and make the authentic Mapo Tofu of Chengdu available even in Europe,” said Zhang Shengyue, head chef from one famous restaurant.
Mapo Tofu can be seen on the dinner table of every family and restaurant in Chengdu. Its most well-known brand is Chen's Mapo Tofu, which started as a street stall in 1862, and has developed into a time-honored chain restaurant.
How has Chen's Mapo Tofu gained the fame for 157 years as Sichuan is teemed with innumerable delicacies?
According to Zhang Shengyue, head chef of its flagship restaurant and inheritor of a provincial-level intangible cultural heritage, the secret to its success is the business philosophy of responsibility and good faith and inheritance of the skills of the traditional Sichuan cuisine.
The ingredients for Chen's Mapo Tofu are always strictly chosen and there are strict requirements for the amount of ingredients used in the dish. Peppercorn has to be from Hanyuan county in Sichuan, soybean from Northeast China, bean paste from the Pidu district of Chengdu and dried chili from the Longquanyi district of Chengdu.
"There are professional standards for all ingredients and cooking procedures of the dish," Zhang said.
He began to work with the flagship restaurant of Chen's Mapo Tofu in 1992. As the head chef, he devotes himself to improving the recipe of the classic dish and won the title of the inheritor of the culinary skills of Chen's Mapo Tofu.
"The most significant contribution I've made is the standardization of the dish, which guarantees the best taste whoever the chef is," Zhang said.
After multiple adjustments for over half a year, the standards have been formulated.
"Now we are able to sell our ingredients across the globe and make the authentic Mapo Tofu of Chengdu available even in Europe," he said.