爱情故事 (Love Story)
Valentine's Day - Chinese Culture
Chinese culture is at the core of Lu Ban Restaurant. Our authentic Chinese cuisine is inspired by the people, flavours and customs of the Tianjin region of north eastern China where people eat food according to the season, together with fresh and local produce from Liverpool and the north west of England.
And as food is the basis of Chinese culture, every dish has an associated story, tradition or legend. Lu Ban Restaurant isn’t your average ‘westernised’ variation of Chinese food. Our cuisine, dining style and service is based on our experiences and research in Tianjin, and developed in collaboration with Chinese master chefs at the Tianjin School of Cuisine.
Adenanthera pavonina seeds in Chinese is ‘red beans’ (红豆). It is also known as Xiang Si Dou (相思豆, literally translated as love beans).
It has been a symbol of love and fidelity for a very long time in China.
Once upon a time, there was a young couple who had grown up together in the southern land. They loved each other dearly and enjoyed their peaceful life in a small mountain village. One day, the husband was called to serve in the army to defend the country.
After he left, the wife stood under a big tree in the mountain praying for his return every day. Days, months, and years passed but there was no sign of her husband.
She cried so much that her tears turned to blood and as they dropped to the ground, they became hardened and eventually became red beans. In the following spring, where she stood, red bean trees grew.
The legend of this love story grew, and people started calling red beans “love beans”. Since then, these beautiful hard and shiny red beans have been used as beads for jewellery to convey a longing emotion between lovers and friends.
The Red Thread of Fate
Superstition and folklore is embedded in Chinese culture. There are famous stories that have been passed from generation to generation.
According to myth, the gods tie an invisible red cord around the finger of those that are destined to meet one another in the future as true loves. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break.
Folklore sees several versions around, all involving an old man named Yue Xia Lao, who meets with a boy (or man, depending on the story) and tells him who his invisble red thread ties to. The boy, displeased to see to whom he is tied, throws a rock at the girl and runs away. Years later, he meets his soulmate, only to find she is scarred by a boy throwing a rock at her many years before. And the grown boy begs forgiveness, which is given.
Love is a forever topic in human history. It is also an everlasting theme in Chinese literature and poetry. The poem “Love Seeds” written by Wang Wei during the Tang Dynasty remains one of the most cited Chinese poems about love.
The red bean grows in southern lands.
With spring its slender tendrils twine.
Gather for me some more, I pray.
Of fond remembrance ‘tis the sign’
Translated by W.J.B Fletcher