Story Wuliu Yu

Story Wuliu Yu

Du Fu was a famous Tang Dynasty poet. In his late 40s, he fled the chaos of war for Chengdu. On the city outskirts he came across a beautiful place and decided to live there. His vegetarian diet of fruit and vegetables soon earned him the nickname "Old Veggie-belly."

Legend has it that Du Fu once invited some friends to a poetry salon. When lunchtime arrived, he realized that he had no food to serve. Upon seeing another member of the household hauling a carp out of a nearby brook, he decided to cook it for his friends.

Surprised and skeptical, his friends exclaimed, "How could you, a poet, cook a fish?"

"You just wait and see," Du replied confidently. When he returned with the steaming fish, his friends remarked upon its pleasant aroma. They ate the dish with gusto, and then set about finding a suitable name for it.

Du said, "Well, the respected poet Tao Yuanming is known as Mr. Wuliu (five willow trees). Since the fish is covered with shredded ingredients that resemble willow leaves, why not call it "Wuliu Fish?" The name stuck, and this famous dish can now be found in any Sichuan-style restaurant in China.