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Takeaway food service in Southern Song Dynasty

www.ehangzhou.gov.cn| Updated: November 27, 2022 L M S

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A royal family banquet in the Southern Song Dynasty. [Photo/Zhejiang Daily]

The food delivery service that is popular across China today can be dated back to the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), explained Xu Jijun, director of the History Institute of the Zhejiang Academy of Social Sciences.

In the imperial capital of Lin'an, today's Hangzhou, the Southern Song version of "city express" and "one-day delivery" was invented.

There were many large restaurants, such as Fengle Building, which has 300 up-stair boxes and more than 3,000 square meters of dining area on the ground floor. Couriers could provide 24-hour meals and drink delivery services.

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An incubator used for food delivery in the Southern Song Dynasty. [Photo/Zhejiang Daily]

In the River During the Qingming Festival by painter Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145) there is a delivery boy who holds chopsticks in his right hand and two food boxes in his left hand.

Archaeologists discovered that people in the Southern Song Dynasty used a thick-bottomed plate with a double-layered hollow inside. One or two round holes are pierced on the top of the plate to inject hot water and ensure that food is still warm when it arrives. There were even delivery boats on the West Lake.

In November 1115, Zhang Jun, one of the four major marshals in his time, hosted a banquet for Emperor Gaozong in the mansion of Qinghefang. The marshal ordered a banquet consisting of 196 dishes cooked by 28 top chefs in Lin'an.

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A replica of a luxurious family banquet in the Southern Song Dynasty.. [Photo/Zhejiang Daily]

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