Luoyang Water Banquet (Luoyang Shuixi), also called soup banquet, is not simply a drinking test, but one of the most traditional Chinese cuisines. The history of this local custom can be traced back over a thousand years. Luoyang is a city surrounded by mountains, and the weather here is cold and dry. In ancient time, people hardly got any fruit to enjoy, thus they invented various soup to make up the need of water.
There are two reasons why the banquet has this name. The main reason is that, unlike most meal customs in China, the dishes served in this banquet are brought one after another, like flowing water, hence the name "Water Banquet". The second reason is that around one third of the dishes served are soup or semi-soup ones.
Although dishes in these banquets vary from one restaurant to another in both amount and consistency, you may be assured that carp is included nine times out of ten. The food is noted for its various soups with sour and spicy flavors. There are 24 courses in the banquet. The first course named "Luoyang swallow dish" is made of turnip shreds, chicken shreds, minced pork and other vegetables simmered in soup.