Lion's Head (food)
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Lion's Head Food
Lion's Head
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Literal meaningLion's head

Lion's Head (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Sh?zitóu) or stewed meatball is a dish from the Huaiyang cuisine of eastern China, consisting of large pork meatballs stewed with vegetables. There are two varieties: white (or plain), and red (, cooked with soy sauce). The plain variety is usually stewed or steamed with napa cabbage. The red variety can be stewed with cabbage or cooked with bamboo shoots and tofu derivatives. The minced meat rich in fat is more likely to bring better texture, addition of chopped water chestnut also works.

The name "lion's head", derives from the shape of the meatball which is supposed to resemble the head of the Chinese guardian lion, specifically.

The dish originated in Yangzhou and Zhenjiang, to a lesser degree, Huai'an, while the plain variety is more common in Yangzhou and the red variety more common in Zhenjiang. The dish became a part of Shanghai cuisine with the influx of migrants in the 19th and early 20th century.

The dish can also be prepared with beef[1] or be made as a vegetarian dish.[2]


The shape of the meatball which is supposed to resemble the head of the Chinese guardian lion

The dish has been well known since the late Qing dynasty, as the recipe extracted from Xu Ke's Qing bai lei chao (?) attests:

?,,,?,,?,?,,,?,,?,,?,?,?,?,,[3] (Lion's head, is a pork meatball, its shape just as its name implies. The proportion of fat to lean pork is fifty-fifty, chop up them, then mix them with egg whites so that the mixture can coagulate easily. The shrimp meat or crab powder is an optional ingredient to mix. Put napa cabbage or bamboo shoots on the bottom of a clay pot, pour a little water and dissolve the salt in it. Make the meatballs as big as possible, put them in, then put leaves above the meatballs and put the lid on the pot. Place the pot in a wok filled with salt water, to avoid cracking in this way, cook over a gentle heat. stoke enough firewood at intervals, when the meat is medium, burn the wok fiercely until the meat is well done.)

Earlier, a salt merchant from Yangzhou called Tong Yuejian () who lived in the mid-Qing recorded a dish, dadian rouyuan (?), in his concise cookbook Tiaoding ji ():


The significant resemblance between the both dished indicates that the latter may be the prototype of the former, which is acceptable. It is said to date back to Sui dynasty in myth and folklore, but there is no evidence to support such a theory so far.


  • Liang Shih-chiu's essay Lion's Head. Liang thought the dish is from Yangzhou cuisine, while its northern counterpart is Sixi wanzi, Braised Pork Balls in Gravy.[5]
  • Wang Zengqi's essay Roushizhe bubi (). Wang classified the dish as Huai'an cuisine. He wrote that Lion's head is "fluffy but not loose", and "that is the difference from Sixi wanzi". Besides, Wang mentioned that Zhou Enlai could cook this dish since he hailed from Huai'an.[6]


Stewed meatballs with crab powder

This type is deemed to be the traditional one, its ingredients and procedure changed a little from the dish mentioned above.[7]

Red-cooked (soy-braised) lion's head meatballs
  • Ribs of Pork (proportion of fat and lean pork: 7:3)
  • Crab Roe
  • Crab Meat
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Shrimp
  • Shaoxing Wine
  • Salt
  • Infusion of garlic and scallions
  • Starch
  • Pork Stock
  • Lard

See also


  1. ^ BBC Food recipe
  2. ^ "Su Shih Tzu T'ou With Chun Yu Vegetarian Lion's Head Recipe". Retrieved .
  3. ^ Xu, Ke (2010). Qing bai lei chao, Vol. 13. Zhonghua Book Company. p. 6434. ISBN 9787101068153.
  4. ^ Tong, Yuejian (2006). Tiaoding ji. China Textile & Apparel Press. p. 43. ISBN 9787506436472.
  5. ^ Liang, Shih-chiu (1998). ? [Asher talks about eating]. Beijing: Culture & Art Publish House. pp. 15-16. ISBN 9787503917844.
  6. ^ Complete Works of Wang Zengqi, Vol. 5. Beijing Normal University Publishing Group. 1998. pp. 432-436. ISBN 9787303045839.
  7. ^ Chinese Recipes: Vol. Jiangsu (?:). Beijing: China Financial & Economical Publishing House. 1979. pp. 22-23.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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