Being able to recite the thoughts of Mao Zedong has long ceased to be a priority for mainland youth, but everyone knows the late chairman loved to eat braised pork. Officials in his home province, Hunan , now want to standardise the way Chairman Mao's pork and other regional classics are cooked. The province's food quality supervision and testing institute released cooking guidelines on Wednesday for four famous dishes - Chairman Mao's pork, stirred pepper with pork, steamed pork with pickled cabbage and steamed fish head with peppers, the Xiaoxiang Morning Herald, which is based in Hunan, reported yesterday. Hunan cuisine, known as Xiang cuisine, is one of China's eight regional cuisines. The guidelines cover detailed cooking procedures, unique ingredients and even the origin of raw materials. Only restaurants that follow the guidelines will be able to claim they serve authentic Hunan cuisine. The codification of Chairman Mao's pork is the latest effort by provincial authorities to link their national image and political achievements with Mao's memory and legacy. It is so synonymous with the late chairman that it even starred in the mainland's biggest movie blockbuster last year. The Founding of a Republic, a propaganda epic released for the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic, featured Mao tucking into the trademark braised pork to celebrate battlefield victories. Mao loved the dish and insisted that his Hunanese chefs cook it for him regularly in Beijing. The people of Mao's home village, Shaoshan , recommend the braised pork as a health food and claim it was a secret weapon that helped Mao defeat Chiang Kai-shek, with an old saying that 'Mao ate it to build his brains'. The dish has been on the first page of Hunan-style restaurant menus across the globe, but under the new cooking guidelines it won't be the real thing unless it contains pork belly from Hunan's Ningxiang county. Late last year, the Ningxiang pig was granted a geographical indication trademark by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, becoming the only livestock product on the mainland to enjoy the protection of such a trademark. The local government says the Ningxiang pig, which has been bred for nearly 1,000 years, is one of Hunan's agricultural treasures. Famous for its delicate, soft and tasty meat, it has been an endangered species since the 1980s. Internet users' reactions to the guidelines varied. 'Why can only a Hunan pig be called the true Chairman Mao's pork? I bet Mao himself had no chance to eat Ningxiang pork either,' one posting on a tianya.com bulletin board said. But another internet user from Hunan said he was happy to see the guidelines promote the province's national profile. There's no doubting that Mao's is the most famous face on the mainland and the Hunan authorities have not been shy in trying to cash in on it. Last month a 32-metre-tall statue of Mao as a young man in 1925, which cost 300 million yuan (HK$341 million) to build, was unveiled in the provincial capital, Changsha . Earlier this month, the Hunan Provincial Tourism Bureau proposed designating Mao's birthday, December 26, as a new national holiday, China Travel Day. The bureau said December 26 sounded like 'inviting you to travel' in Putonghua. Officials said designating a specific day to recall collective memories of and feelings for the late chairman would help attract tourists to Hunan. Despite the ravages of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and the subsequent embrace of free-market reforms, Mao remains an iconic figure among many mainlanders more than 30 years after his death in 1976. His picture still dangles from many rear-view mirrors to ensure a safe journey for drivers, and the elderly still burn incense, as a mark of respect, in front of gold- or bronze-plated Mao busts. Shaoshan earned 653 million yuan from tourism in 2008, much of it from the sale of Mao souvenirs.