Del­i­ca­cies in Chaoyang Dis­trict

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Wang Shi, pol­ished by Png Yu Fung, pho­tos by Zhang Xin, pho­tos cour­tesy of Palace In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel Bei­jing

Restau­rants in the dis­trict have come up with many del­i­ca­cies of dif­fer­ent themes to sat­isfy ev­ery­one's taste buds.

Bei­jing, with a his­tory of 3,000 years, is a cap­i­tal for more than 800 years. Vis­i­tors are amazed by its pro­found his­tory and cul­ture. In Chaoyang Dis­trict, one will find that it is also a mod­ern me­trop­o­lis, whose pace of forg­ing ahead with de­ter­mi­na­tion is not af­fected by the long his­tory at all. The pace of ex­plo­ration and dis­cov­ery never stops in a taste-bud-sat­is­fy­ing gourmet jour­ney in Chaoyang Dis­trict.

Guanfu Dishes

If you are con­stantly rem­i­nisc­ing about the Palace Mu­seum, the Palace In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel Bei­jing is the best choice. Palace Ho­tel is a mu­seum ho­tel with highly re­fined dec­o­ra­tions on the theme of Chi­nese tra­di­tional cul­ture. The ho­tel has three im­pres­sive trea­sures. A Bod­hisattva head statue at en­trance; a silk dragon robe with de­signs of the mid-qing Dy­nasty be­hind the re­cep­tion desk and a crys­tal drag­o­nand-fire­ball lan­tern above that cre­ates a har­mo­nious, pow­er­ful and dig­ni­fied at­mos­phere; on the ten joint screens in the mid­dle of the lobby is Tang poet Yang Yuyuan's “Chunri Fengx­ian Sheng­shou Wu­jiang Ci,” a poem ded­i­cated to the em­peror in spring, hand­writ­ten by Zhang Ruitu, a well­known cal­lig­ra­pher of the Ming Dy­nasty (1368–1644), with the “Twenty-four Fil­ial Ex­em­plars” carved in the mid­dle sec­tions of the screens, re­flect­ing tra­di­tional cul­ture and high­light­ing Con­fu­cian­ism.

The fea­tured cui­sine at Im­pe­rial Kitchen Restau­rant on the first floor of Palace Ho­tel is the health-pre­serv­ing guan­fu­cai, dishes for high-rank­ing of­fi­cials in the past. Ex­ec­u­tive

chef Huang Guang­wei spe­cial­iz­ing in Tan­jia Cui­sine is an ex­pert in health preser­va­tion, se­lect­ing pre­cious in­gre­di­ents for cooking and match­ing and giv­ing much con­sid­er­a­tion to mod­ern peo­ple's liv­ing habits and di­ets. The rec­om­mended dish on the menu “Light­soup Fo Tiao Qiang” is an im­proved tra­di­tional tan­jia dish cooked in Guang­dong style. Huang Guang­wei al­ways uses soup broth in­stead of wa­ter to cook de­li­cious dishes, and gives par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to soup in­gre­di­ents. He uses only free-range chick­ens more than three years old weigh­ing less than 1.5 kilo­grams, and over 20 chick­ens are used each time. It is the tire­less pur­suit of del­i­ca­cies that makes Im­pe­rial Kitchen Restau­rant's dishes unique. The health pre­serv­ing royal dishes in the an­cient-style Palace Ho­tel blends with the charm of tra­di­tional Bei­jing.

Shrimp Balls in Mango Mus­tard Sauce

It is said that King Mu of Zhou (c. 1054–949 BC) left the cap­i­tal in a car­riage drawn by eight fine horses ca­pa­ble of go­ing 15,000 kilo­me­tres a day, to meet the Queen Mother of the West at Yaochi. King Mu of Zhou was mes­merised by the ex­otic sight of “the vast holy pond Yaochi like a mir­ror float­ing in the air” that he al­most for­got to re­turn. Yaochi Chi­nese Restau­rant in Bei­jing Grand Mil­len­nium Ho­tel is named af­ter this le­gend, per­haps to let din­ers in­dulge in the plea­sure of eat­ing del­i­ca­cies that they for­get about re­turn­ing, just like King Mu of Zhou.

Bei­jing Grand Mil­len­nium Ho­tel is at a lo­ca­tion best for watch­ing beau­ti­ful sun­set in Bei­jing. Qing Em­peror Qian­long (reign: 1736– 1795) be­stowed the name “Golden Ter­race in the Glow of the Set­ting Sun” upon this place, one of the Eight Great Sights of Bei­jing. The lobby roof fea­tures the golden “cais­son” de­sign, which could only be used in re­li­gious and royal build­ings in an­cient China. It looks more mod­ern af­ter re­form­ing, in­te­grat­ing tra­di­tion and fash­ion.

Yaochi Chi­nese Restau­rant man­aged by Hong Kong chef Chung is lo­cated at the cen­tre of the ho­tel's ground floor, mainly of­fer­ing au­then­tic Guang­dong dishes. Chefs are busy pre­par­ing gen­uine Guang­dong dishes for din­ers in the kitchen sur­rounded by trans­par­ent glass pan­els, and sev­eral dishes rec­om­mended by chef Zhong have been care­fully ar­ranged with el­e­gant plate dec­o­ra­tions on the ta­ble in a pri­vate room. Seafood is in­dis­pens­able in Guang­dong dishes. “Shrimp balls in mango mus­tard sauce,” an im­por­tant dish on the menu lives up to its rep­u­ta­tion. With crisp sur­faces and thick fill­ings and a layer of se­cret-recipe mus­tard and yolk sauce, it stim­u­lates din­ers' ap­petite with the fresh taste of shrimps. The smooth and ten­der “quick-fried diced beef ten­der­loin in black pep­per sauce” is an­other tra­di­tional Guang­dong dish that is known to be the ul­ti­mate test of chefs' mas­tery of heat con­trol. The spe­cially se­lected S-grade diced beef ten­der­loin soaked in black pep­per sauce has a very deep colour, but the colour­ful gar­nishes make the dish look re­fresh­ing and ap­peal­ing.

Chef Chung, a leg­endary cook from Hong Kong with more than 40 years of cooking ex­pe­ri­ence, is known as a lead­ing fig­ure for China's Guang­dong dishes. He be­came an ap­pren­tice in the 1970s, went to North Amer­ica in the 1980s, and has worked in many Chi­nese ho­tels' restau­rants by age 40. What he thinks about most is how to pre­pare clas­sic Guang­dong dishes that re­flect both the

pro­found tra­di­tions of Chi­nese food cul­ture and in­ter­na­tional culinary trends. There­fore, he com­bines Chi­nese and western cooking and prepa­ra­tion styles to cre­ates dishes that cater to the taste of Chi­nese and for­eign din­ers. It is worth men­tion­ing that Yaochi Chi­nese Restau­rant gives par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to in­gre­di­ents and match­ing. Chef Chung im­proved on the tra­di­tional shrimp dumplings by adding crab roe, win­ter bam­boo shoots and as­para­gus apart from choos­ing qual­ity shrimps, en­hanc­ing taste and mak­ing it more nu­tri­tious with­out chang­ing the flavour.

Se­cret-recipe XO Sauce

Kempin­ski Ho­tel lo­cated in the Yan­sha busi­ness dis­trict is a well-known five-star ho­tel, but per­haps you don't know that this old­est Euro­pean lux­ury ho­tel turns 120 years old this year.

Dragon Palace Chi­nese Restau­rant on the ground floor of Kempin­ski Ho­tel of­fers brand new dishes to din­ers. The in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tions of Dragon Palace Chi­nese Restau­rant in­ge­niously com­bine clas­si­cal and mod­ern styles, and the quiet and re­fined en­vi­ron­ment is matched by unique Guang­dong del­i­ca­cies. Ex­ec­u­tive chef Hong Sai Choi is a sauce master. The first dish rec­om­mended by chef Hong– “cold spring bam­boo shoots and ice plants in black truf­fle sauce”– looks sim­ple but is ac­tu­ally ex­quis­ite. Se­lected qual­ity black truf­fles are mixed with ten­der Sichuan bam­boo shoots and wheat­grass. The soul of this dish is chef Hong's se­cret-recipe black truf­fle sauce, which leaves a lin­ger­ing taste and cap­tures din­ers' hearts.

Dur­ing his child­hood, Chef Hong was in­flu­enced by his two el­der brothers who were in the food in­dus­try. He has worked in many well-known ho­tels and high-class restau­rants both at home and abroad, and has been cooking mainly Guang­dong dishes. In his ca­reer of over 40 years, chef Hong al­ways paid at­ten­tion to the nu­tri­tional com­bi­na­tion of del­i­ca­cies and em­pha­sised Guang­dong dishes' orig­i­nal flavours. He boldly in­te­grates the souls of Chi­nese and western food cul­ture, and com­bines tra­di­tional styles with Western cooking meth­ods.

The se­cret-recipe XO sauce re­searched and used ex­clu­sively by chef Hong has won count­less fans. As to what the se­cret recipe is, chef Hong gave no an­swer. To en­joy del­i­ca­cies pre­pared by chef Hong, one must visit Dragon Palace Chi­nese Restau­rant.

Peanut Sprouts and Arc­tic Surf Clams

Ritz-carl­ton Ho­tel in the Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict is dec­o­rated in an Amer­i­can clas­si­cal style. Yu Restau­rant on the first floor serves au­then­tic Guang­dong dishes. Out­side the restau­rant's door, a mul­ti­tude of jade ob­jects in­laid in the wall catch the at­ten­tion of din­ers and make them want to take a closer look. The nu­mer­ous medals on dis­play as­sure din­ers that this is the right place to en­joy a meal.

While en­joy­ing del­i­ca­cies in this restau­rant, din­ers can feel warmth and peace with sun­light shin­ing through the glass onto din­ing ta­bles. Yu Restau­rant places em­pha­sis on the place of ori­gin, stor­age con­di­tions

and fresh­ness of in­gre­di­ents to pro­vide the best qual­ity of food. Here, ex­ec­u­tive chef Pan Dong­cai has very high re­quire­ments on del­i­ca­cies and is strict about ev­ery de­tail in the cooking process. Chef Pan uses fresh sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents while con­sid­er­ing about nu­tri­tional val­ues. No won­der Yu Restau­rant has been favoured over the years.

The sea­sonal dish “peanut sprouts and arc­tic surf clams” looks like a Ja­panese dish. Peanut sprouts here are called “long-life fruit sprouts,” and arc­tic surf clams are high grade seafood. The two in­gre­di­ents are a nu­tri­tional match and com­bines into a re­fresh­ing flavour.

Pan-fried Cod­fish

If tra­di­tional Guang­dong dishes re­tain the orig­i­nal flavours of the in­gre­di­ents, new Guang­dong dishes in­te­grate south­ern and north­ern flavours, Chi­nese and Western styles and are aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing. The uten­sils and plates are also ar­ranged in a unique de­sign.

In Cai­haix­uan Restau­rant, the new ex­ec­u­tive chef Liu Cun­shuang is dili­gent and thought­ful. He im­pro­vised on tra­di­tional Guang­dong dishes, and started his ca­reer in Bei­jing Mar­riott Ho­tel North­east with new Guang­dong dishes. He gives strange names to his dishes, such as “cater­pil­lar fun­gus flow­ers, honey combs and peach gum stewed with gravy,” “pan-fried cod­fish” and “scented rice steamed with red kid­ney beans and seafood in a tomato”, arous­ing the cu­rios­ity of din­ers.

The dish "de­li­cious seedlings steamed with red kid­ney beans, seafood and toma­toes" is in­ter­est­ing. Af­ter cut­ting the tomato, one will find that the fill­ing is fried rice with red beans and seafood. Red kid­ney beans, abalone slices, dried scal­lop and scented rice from Thai­land are fried and hid­den in­side the tomato. Chef Liu has cre­atively turned fried rice with seafood into a novel del­i­cacy, which re­flects his pre­serv­ing of tra­di­tional del­i­ca­cies while car­ry­ing for­ward the essence of Guang­dong dishes.

North-east­ern In­spired Dishes

Ce­les­tial Court Chi­nese Restau­rant's over­all style re­tains the St. Regis brand's unique and con­sis­tent low-pro­file steadi­ness. The restau­rant uses mainly dark colours, dec­o­rated with em­boss screens and porce­lains are stud­ded around the restau­rant, to cre­ate a com­fort­able and quiet din­ing at­mos­phere.

Ce­les­tial Court Chi­nese Restau­rant is hold­ing a north- east­ern del­i­ca­cies fes­ti­val. Stew­ing, use of sauce and roast­ing comes to mind at the men­tion of north­east­ern dishes. Is Ce­les­tial Court not serv­ing Guang­dong dishes any­more? This is ac­tu­ally a bold and cre­ative idea of chef Liu Daom­ing. To of­fer unique del­i­ca­cies to all guests at St. Regis, chef Liu of­fers in­no­va­tive sig­na­ture dishes ev­ery two months, like in this north­east­ern del­i­ca­cies fes­ti­val. De­spite the north- east­ern char­ac­ter­is­tics, they still fol­low tra­di­tional Guang­dong dishes in­clud­ing a strict se­lec­tion of in­gre­di­ents, care­ful prepa­ra­tion, fresh and de­li­cious flavours and health preser­va­tion. The dish for the vil­lage head's re­cep­tion is a typ­i­cal north­east­ern stew with meatballs, bean curd and streaky pork on neatly ar­ranged plates. The dish re­tains Guang­dong dishes' char­ac­ter­is­tic of light flavour.

Chef Liu of­fers unique north­east­ern dishes at St. Regis. It is an amal­ga­ma­tion of the essence of these two types of cuisines' essence and a fu­sion of lo­cal cul­tures.

Come on a gourmet jour­ney in Chaoyang to look for del­i­ca­cies in five-star ho­tels of dif­fer­ent styles. Let your taste buds look for its favourite flavour and in­dulge in savour­ing de­lec­ta­ble dishes.

Im­pe­rial Kitchen Restau­rant

Cold spring bam­boo shoots and ice plants in black truf­fle sauce

Shrimp balls in mango mus­tard sauce

Boiled luffa and pa­phia clam

Pan-fried cod­fish

Fresh lob­ster and bean­curd

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