A new restaurant - centred around communist revolutionary leader Mao Zedong - will be a "game changer" for the Chinese food scene in Auckland.

The man behind Red Wall 1939, due to open next month at the Parnell Rose Garden, is Jian (Kevin) Liu, the grandson of Chairman Mao's executive chef of over 20 years.

Offering fine dining Chinese cuisine, the degustation menu - offering a myriad of flavours based on Mao's taste - will cost upwards of $170 per person.

"Chinese food has long been a favourite of New Zealanders, but for many it's just fried won tons and sweet sour pork from the Chinese takeaway, said Associate Professor Henry Chung, a Massey University China expert.

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"This 'six-star' Chinese restaurant will be a true game changer to how Kiwis think and see Chinese dining."

Chung said linking itself to Mao was also a "brilliant marketing strategy" because the founding father of the People's Republic of China was one of the mainland's most well-known and controversial figures.

"You will have people who love the guy and those who loathe him, but either way it will get people talking about the restaurant," said Chung.

Redwall's silver chrysanthemum soup, tofu cut into 108 tiny slivers - a number used only by the royal family in ancient times. Photo / supplied.
Redwall's silver chrysanthemum soup, tofu cut into 108 tiny slivers - a number used only by the royal family in ancient times. Photo / supplied.

Liu's grandfather Ruming Cheng is recognised as one of China's top chefs and one of just 16 to ever be awarded a culinary master title in China.

"I aim to shift away from the typical noodles, dumplings and fried rice that come to be associated with 'Chinese food'," Liu said.

"I want to present a degustation experience that's totally new to New Zealand. "

His restaurant in Dove Myer Robinson Park will specialise in dishes which were once only enjoyed by the Chinese elite in the Qing Dynasty and in Mao's kitchen, but with a modern twist.

It will also offer a royal high tea, which comes with pastries using recipes dating back thousands of years.

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Growing up, Liu said he learned many culinary secrets from his grandfather, and they co-founded Beijing's Red Wall 1939 restaurant, or Cheng Fu Yan, in 2005.

Liu has practised his art in Europe and China, but has chosen Auckland to be the first location outside of China to open his restaurant.

He fell in love with the Parnell Rose Gardens when he first came as a tourist in 2006, and vowed that this was where he will have his business.

"I feel it is our destiny, and this is where we can offer Kiwis a taste of what the Chinese get at the best state banquets," Liu said.

The menu will be what Liu's grandfather used to prepare for visiting royalty, heads of governments and foreign dignitaries in China.

Mao Zedong's favourite dish, hong shao rou, or red braised pork. Photo / supplied
Mao Zedong's favourite dish, hong shao rou, or red braised pork. Photo / supplied

One of it's signature dishes will also be hong shao rou, or red-braised pork, which is widely known as Mao's favourite.

Mao was even reported to have asked for the dish to celebrate the People's Liberation Army winning an uphill battle during China's civil war in 1947.

"Our food also represents important moments in China's history, and Mao's red-braised pork is an example of such a historic dish," Liu said.

"My grandfather learned that Mao didn't eat the dish because Mao said he once saw maggots in a fermenting jar of soya sauce as child, so my grandad found a way to cook the dish without the soya sauce."

Liu said the food and flavours at Red Wall will be unique because it was based on "exclusive recipes" handed down to him by his grandfather.

The restaurant also has a mini exhibition area, a VIP rooms decorated in the style of Mao's guestroom, study and tea room.