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szdaily -> Hotels
A tribute to seasonal bounty
    2017-May-19  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

CELEBRATING the arrival and harvest of the spring and summer seasons, now is just the time to embrace the grateful seasonal bounty. Eight Chinese chefs from Shangri-La hotels in Changzhou, Chengdu, Hefei, Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo and Xi’an are designing a special menu of dishes showcasing the versatility of the beloved seasons through June 30.

Deeply rooted in Chinese culture and part of the rich dining heritage, people prefer to eat what’s grown in season and harvested at its peak. This practice can be traced back to “The Analects,” a collection of sayings and ideas attributed to Chinese philosopher Confucius and his contemporaries which recommend eating fresh, seasonal and well-prepared food in adequate quantities.

The eight Shangri-La hotels headlining “A Culinary Tribute to Seasonal Bounty” will introduce an array of seasonally-inspired dishes prepared by the veteran chefs, with notable signatures including:

Stewed arrowhead paste with finless eel and pork ribs — Shangri La Hotel, Nanjing

An expert in Huaiyang cuisine, chef Hou rose to fame for his knife skills and cutting techniques when he presented Wensi Tofu in “A Bite of China,” a famous documentary featuring Chinese cuisine.

For this event, he picked one of the “eight seasonal water plants” produced locally and commonly featured in true Huaiyang cuisine, using mashed arrowhead as a base, which he stewed and used to cultivate all the unique flavors in the eel and pork ribs to achieve a balanced taste.

Steamed crab with Fengzhen fermented glutinous rice — Shangri-La Hotel, Suzhou

Episode 7 of “A Bite of China II” mentioned Fengzhen noodles, the locally produced noodles which releases a distinctive flavor and aroma when boiled. Chef Tim Zhao selected locally sourced baby crabs from Taihu Lake, put them in a steamer and when the crabs turned bright red, dipped them into boiled yellow wine with Fengzhen fermented glutinous rice. There is nothing dainty about digging out crab meat with chopsticks or a spoon while the juice drips down your chin.

Smoked chicken with wheat seedling and tea — Shangri-La Hotel, Xi’an

Smoking is a simple and age-old way to prepare any cut of meat, and smoking with tea adds an extra special twist that gives poultry a distinctive Chinese flavor. Chef Randy, a young chef who was born in the 1980s, specially prepares smoked chicken with wheat seedling and tea, an authentic dish with a contemporary twist.

The chicken is slowly roasted until the meat is juicy, tender and rich in taste. When the dry tea leaves mix with the seasoning rub and sit over high heat, they end up burning; the resulting smoke infuses the chicken with a charred flavor that has the essence of the tea leaf as a background note.

Wok-fried glutinous rice cake with crab — Shangri-La Hotel, Ningbo

A Ningbo native, chef Fred is passionate about creating fresh flavors with unique, but approachable, ingredients that people will love to eat and enjoy.

He adds wild spring or summer vegetables to fresh crabs and homemade rice cakes, the two main features of Ningbo cuisine. It gives the dish a wonderful aroma, when the soft and sticky rice cake absorbs the crab’s juice. It is a dish people cannot miss when visiting Ningbo.

River fish steamed with yellow wine and bamboo shoot soup — Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai

In southern China, when the weather gets warmer in early summer, people like to go out and appreciate the beauty of nature, savor the fresh fish, enjoy the blossoming of flowers and sip vintage wine. Award-winning chef Sam has selected one of the three famous fishes from the Yangtze River, and steams it with ham sauce and Shaoxing yellow wine.

The flavor spreads just like cream melting in the mouth. Moreover, the rich fat in the fish is considered as its most distinctive aspect, particularly in April and May, the best time to eat the fish.

Braised yellow eel with bamboo shoots and hairy beancurd — Shangri-La Hotel, Hefei

Chef Hunt has more than 30 years of culinary experience, including serving dishes to various politicians and celebrities. He has selected eel which naturally occurs in Hongcun Town, and braised it together with deep-fried tofu and spring bamboo shoots delivered fresh from a farm in Anhui Province, creating delicious textures mixed with authenticity and nutrition, multiple flavors and a smooth aftertaste.

Deep-fried prawn, toast, caviar and fried dumpling — Shangri-La Hotel, Chengdu

Sichuan cuisine is known for its deep and rich flavors, especially the Sichuan peppercorn, which is seldomly used in other regional cuisines.

Chef Tokfan is originally from Hong Kong, the city frequently described as a place where “East meets West,” reflecting the culture’s mix of traditional Chinese roots with the influences of Western countries. He has prepared deep-fried prawn, toast, caviar and deep-fried dumplings with Sichuan peppercorns, which combines contemporary flavor with a traditional twist.

Stewed soup with snapping turtle — Shangri-La Hotel, Changzhou

“A good chef can be a food ambassador,” said chef Jason, who believes that food is not only his focus, but also delivering the cultural history of the cuisine. His specially prepared stewed soup with snapping turtle reflects the essence of Huaiyang cuisine — freshness. He simmers homemade meat balls, fish balls, Jinhua ham and winter bamboo shoots together over low heat for five hours, giving the soup a unique richness and freshness.(SD News)

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