Buddha Jumps Over the Wall
Place of originChina
Region or stateFujian
Main ingredientsshark fin, quail eggs, bamboo shoots, scallops, sea cucumber, abalone, fish maw, chicken, Jinhua ham, pork tendon, ginseng, mushrooms, and taro
VariationsShark fin soup
Buddha Jumps Over the Wall
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese佛跳牆
Simplified Chinese佛跳墙
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabetPhật nhảy tường
Chữ Nôm佛趂牆
Thai name
Korean name
Japanese name

Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, also known as Buddha's Temptation or Fotiaoqiang (Chinese: 佛跳牆; pinyin: fótiàoqiáng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: hu̍t-thiàu-chhiûⁿ), is a variety of shark fin soup in Fujian cuisine.[1][2] This dish has been regarded as a Chinese delicacy known for its rich taste,[1][3] and special manner of cooking.[1] The dish's name is an allusion to the dish's ability to entice the vegetarian Buddhist monks from their temples to partake in the meat-based dish, and implies that even the strictly vegetarian Gautama Buddha would try to jump over a wall to sample it.[4] It is high in protein and calcium.[5] It is one of China's state banquet dishes.

Concerns over the sustainability and welfare of sharks limited its consumption and led to various modified versions without the usage of shark fin as ingredient.[6][7]


The soup or stew consists of many ingredients, especially animal products, and requires one to two full days to prepare.[2] A typical recipe requires many ingredients including quail eggs, bamboo shoots, scallops, sea cucumber, abalone, shark fin, fish maw, chicken, Jinhua ham, pork tendon, ginseng, mushrooms, and taro. Yellow wine (Chinese: 黄酒;pinyin: Huángjiǔ) is also an important element in the soup.[8] Some recipes require up to thirty main ingredients and twelve condiments.[2][9]

Use of shark fin, which is sometimes harvested by shark finning, and abalone, which is implicated in destructive fishing practices, are controversial for both environmental and ethical reasons.[10][11] Imitation shark fin and farmed abalone are available as alternatives.


There are many different stories about the origin of the dish. A common one is about a scholar traveling by foot throughout Fujian. While he traveled with his friends, the scholar preserved all his food for the journey in a clay jar used for holding wine. Whenever he had a meal, he warmed up the jar with the ingredients over an open fire. Once they arrived in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province, the scholar started cooking the dish. The smells spread over to a nearby Buddhist monastery where monks were meditating. Although monks are not allowed to eat meat, one of the monks, tempted, jumped over the wall. A poet among the travelers said that even Buddha would jump the wall to eat the delicious dish.[1][9]

Another origin is that the dish goes back to the Qing Dynasty. It is said to be a recipe that was created by a Fuzhou official who was trying to leave an impression on his superior Zhou Lian.[12] He put pork, chicken, duck, and seafood altogether and left it to simmer in an empty wine jar, which followed the recipe at the time that was known as "Full of Blessing and Longevity." The official at the home praised the dish for its aroma and flavor. He was so impressed that he went home and asked his personal chef Zheng Chunfa to learn the recipe. The chef adapted the recipe and made it better, and later opened a restaurant to serve it to his customers. One of the customers wrote a poem on the dish, saying even Buddha would jump over the wall to have a taste, hence the name Buddha Jumps Over the Wall.[12][13] Another possible origin is that the phrase "Buddha Jumps Over the Wall" appears in a book from the Song dynasty. Many stories existed regarding the origin of the dish name.[12]

Ancient Chinese alcohol jars. Most likely the style of jar that was used in cooking.

Consumption outside China

In South Korea, the dish is known as Buldojang (the Korean reading of the same Chinese characters). It was first introduced in 1987 by Hu Deok-juk (), an ethnic Chinese chef from Taiwan at the Chinese restaurant Palsun, located in the Shilla Hotel in Seoul.[4][14] The dish played an important role in changing the mainstream of Chinese cuisine consumed in South Korea. However, in 1989, the Jogye Order, the representative order of traditional Korean Buddhism, strongly opposed the selling of the dish because the name is considered a blasphemy to Buddhism. Although Buldojang temporarily disappeared, the dispute ignited the spreading of rumors among the public, and the dish consequently gained popularity.[15][16] When President Moon Jae-in visited China, it was served at the state dinner.

Kai Mayfair in London was dubbed "home of the world's most expensive soup" when it unveiled its £108 version of Buddha Jumps Over the Wall in 2005. The dish includes shark's fin, Japanese flower mushroom, sea cucumber, dried scallops, chicken, Hunan ham, pork, and ginseng.[11]

The dish has been a delicacy at many state banquets for decades, including the Cambodian King Sihanouk, President Reagan, and Queen Elizabeth II.[17]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Shidao Xu; Chunjiang Fu; Qingyu Wu (2003). Origins of Chinese cuisine. Asiapac Books Pte Ltd. pp. 7–16. ISBN 981-229-317-5.
  2. ^ a b c Hanchao Lu (2005). Street criers: a cultural history of Chinese beggars. Stanford University Press. pp. 73–74. ISBN 0-8047-5148-X.
  3. ^ Nina Zagat; Tim Zagat (15 June 2007). "Eating Beyond Sichuan". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b Jo Jeong-hun (조정훈) (9 November 2007). "(Why) 내일 세상 떠난다면 무엇을 먹겠는가? (Why) What would you eat if you die tomorrow?" (in Korean). The Chosun Ilbo.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ 호텔신라, 불도장과 제주 한라산 김치 신상품 출시 (in Korean). News Wire/ JoongAng Ilbo. 13 February 2006. Archived from the original on 31 August 2011.
  6. ^ Zhou, Xiyin (10 February 2012). "佛跳墙"该不该剔除鱼翅?". Sohu News (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 2 October 2021.
  7. ^ Fabinyi, Michael; Liu, Neng (2014). "Seafood Banquets in Beijing: Consumer Perspectives and Implications for Environmental Sustainability". Conservation and Society. 12 (2): 218. doi:10.4103/0972-4923.138423. ISSN 0972-4923.
  8. ^ How To Make The Classic Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, archived from the original on 13 December 2021, retrieved 3 June 2021
  9. ^ a b "Leap of taste". The Age. 26 September 2006.
  10. ^ "Saving the world's rarest shellfish". The Independent. 12 December 2005.[dead link]
  11. ^ a b Khan, Stephen (25 June 2006). "Fins for sale". Environment. The Independent. Archived from the original on 15 December 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  12. ^ a b c "Buddha Jumps Over the Wall : Willamette World News". Retrieved 19 October 2023.
  13. ^ "Eating in Fuzhou, Famous Local Food & Snacks, Local Delicacies". www.chinaexpeditiontours.com. Retrieved 19 October 2023.
  14. ^ "The Cuisine of Ching Dynasty Imperial Household Visit to Seoul". Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  15. ^ Han Eun-gu (한은구) (21 June 2001). (제철맛집) `桃里`의 불도장 .. 참선스님도 유혹한 맛 (in Korean). Hankyung.com.
  16. ^ Park Hui-jin (박희진). (명장·名匠) "요리는 내 인생" 신라호텔 요리명장 (in Korean). Money Today. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
  17. ^ "CHINA TODAY". www.chinatoday.com.cn. Retrieved 19 October 2023.