Go to any Hunanese restaurant, or any Chinese restaurant in a foreign country, and you are likely to find ‘Chairman Mao’s Braised Pork’, or something with a similar name. It is well known that he loved to eat a dish of braised pork belly and soy sauce. Pork belly is, of course, one of the fattiest parts of the pig. Like most Hunanese, he believed that it boosted his brainpower, if not his physical capabilities. He insisted that he eat it as often as he could, even during his years in Beijing and against the strenuous advice of his physicians. Earlier, during the long civil war that led up to the revolution, he made sure he ate this dish before he went into combat. He did the same when he was about to enter political combat. He believed that he never lost a battle after a meal of braised pork.

Mao's dish