Chef Cai Rui Jun of China World Hotel, Beijing’s pastry team provides live demonstrations of Chinese dough figure art-making at the hotel’s Scene a Cafe. Eight Fairies Cross The Sea, Four Heaven Kings and Chinese God of Fortune and a line of famous fairytale and other mythical characters – made from coloured dough – beloved by people in China and the world over populate the entrance of the restaurant, waiting to be taken home
By mixing colours into the dough and creating sculptures, a dough figure artist can create miniature pieces of art which may be collected and admired. The craft of dough figure art-making belongs to a long tradition of Chinese folk art that can be traced back to the Han Dynasty. While initially made for banquets and large gatherings, nowadays, Chinese dough figures have become popular as individual collectibles.
Exhibiting craftsmanship inherited from his uncle, Chef Cai can usually create a dough figure character in two days. According to him, the dough sculpture can maintain its shape and colour for as long as two to three years; carefully preserved, it may be kept for more than 20 or 30 years. The Chinese mythical figures of Chinese Gods of Fortune, Wealth and Longevity are among the most popular ones ordered by his guests.
“Dough figure art-making is a great Chinese cultural heritage. To prevent this ancient tradition from being lost, we are obliged to introduce it to more and more people throughout the world,” said Chef Cai, who has practiced dough figure craftsmanship for more than 10 years.
Chef Cai’s live demonstration of Chinese dough art-making is available from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays at Scene a Café, China World Hotel, Beijing. Chef Cai’s miniature dough art sculptures are also available on sale at Scene a Cafe and The Sweet Spot, ranging in price from RMB98 to RMB580, depending on the character and the size. For Scene a Café reservations or orders of Chef Cai’s dough art figures, please call Scene a Café at (86 10) 6505 2266 ext. 35.
China World Hotel, Beijing, with its highly acclaimed restaurants, soars over the China World Trade Centre complex, including the China World Exhibition Centre and shopping mall, in the heart of the city’s diplomatic and business district. Hailed as one of the first three hotels in mainland China to be awarded with a Platinum Five Star rating by the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), China World Hotel, Beijing has been named one of the world’s best hotels by both Conde Nast Traveller and Travel + Leisure.
China World Hotel, Beijing was also voted “Best Hotel in Beijing” by Euromoney, Frommer’s Guide and Finance Asia; “Best Business Hotel in Beijing” by Business Traveller China and Asia Pacific, TTG Asia, The Asset and Asian Legal Business; ranked one of the “Top Ten Business Hotels in China – Golden Pillow Award” by 21st Century Business Herald; and named one of “The Top 50 Hotels in China” by Forbes and Travel + Leisure China; making it the leading address for discerning travellers visiting China’s capital city.