Old Beijing cuisine

title: "Traditional Beijing Cuisine"
date: 2021-08-26T19:10:00+08:00
slug: "Special-foods-in-Beijing"
tags: [Essay, Life]
draft: false#


Today at noon, I went to Wangjing to have a meal at a restaurant called Roast Meat Liu. Under the signboard, there were a few large characters that read "Traditional Beijing Specialties".

Even without these characters, I could roughly tell that this was a Beijing-style restaurant because its signboard had already plastered "Traditional Beijing Specialties" all over it. This naming convention of combining the product name with the owner's surname is the most commonly used approach for Beijing-style restaurants. I haven't seen this type of naming convention elsewhere, maybe there are some, but it's not as widespread.

For a brand, a good name is extremely important and can even affect its marketing effectiveness. Names that are difficult to pronounce often have limited reach, while catchy brand names make promotion much easier. For family-owned businesses, adding the surname greatly enhances the association between the personal brand and the product. For example, "Li Ning," "Chongqing Spicy Chicken Pot," and "Wang Lao Ji."

Many familiar brands usually place the name first, followed by the product name. Examples include "Zhang Liang Spicy Hot Pot" and "Wang Shouyi Thirteen Spices." However, many traditional Beijing-style restaurants go against the norm and place the product name first, followed by the name. For example, the restaurant I went to today, "Roast Meat Liu," as well as "Bao Du Feng," "Hun Dun Hou," "Dou Zhi He," and "Cha Tang Li"... These long-established brands are often associated with skilled artisans who excelled in a particular field in the past and gained recognition from others. Gradually, people started referring to them as "product + surname." This naming convention is probably related to the Beijing dialect. The Beijing dialect has a strong emphasis on the pronunciation of words, and it is common to add the character "er" at the end of words. Placing the surname after the product name doesn't seem out of place and even adds a sense of familiarity. If the surname is placed before the product name, it would sound awkward. This naming convention not only acknowledges the taste of the food product but also incorporates the surname as a distinguishing factor, which is a great affirmation. These personal brands that are recognized by the public gradually develop into local brands. When people talk about a certain food product, they immediately think of a particular brand and naturally mention the surname of the founder, but very few people know who is behind it.

Of course, not all traditional Beijing-style restaurants use this naming convention, otherwise, there would be countless repetitive restaurants with only a few dishes and common surnames, which would lose the meaning of branding.

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