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China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

RQixi orig­i­nates from a Chi­nese fairy tale. It is a love story be­tween a god­dess and a cowherd. They are said to only be able to meet each other on the 7th day of the 7th lu­nar month, which this year falls on Aug 2.

“The oc­ca­sion gives Chi­nese peo­ple an ex­cuse to spend some happy time with their lovers,” Lei says.

The spe­cial menu at Flamme fea­tures two main dishes — one is the res­tau­rant’s spe­cialty steak, the other is a golden crab.

Last year, the res­tau­rant pre­pared more than 100 set meals at its two branches, all of which sold out. This year, it has pre­pared 350 choco­late sticks coated with peanut crumbs as a spe­cial gift for din­ers who order a set meal.

“We ex­pect year,” says Lei.

French restau­rants in the cap­i­tal are al­ways pop­u­lar with those who want to im­press on a date. Some of themhave al­so­pre­pared­for the oc­ca­sion. Jaan at the Raf­fles Bei­jing Ho­tel, one of the city’s best French restau­rants, is of­fer­ing a French seafood feast for din­ers.

Ex­ec­u­tive chef Ri­aan Burger has de­signed a set menu of­fer­ing French oys­ter, slow-braised abalone with gin­seng, tuna and a dessert of rasp­berry with ly­chee and white choco­late.

“I have based the menu on aphro­disiac in­gre­di­ents or el­e­ments that

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Flamme, San­l­i­tun branch

Jaan

Ma­trix nat­u­rally stim­u­late en­dor­phins,” says the chef from South Africa.

Gin­seng, a tra­di­tional Chi­nese herbal in­gre­di­ent, is be­lieved to vi­tal­ize peo­ple. The dessert has ly­chee, a typ­i­cal Chi­nese fruit. The chef uses the ly­chee to bal­ance the fla­vors of the rasp­berry and rose. It is used in two ways — fresh and to fla­vor cream.

Burger says Jaan res­tau­rant has pre­vi­ously pre­pared a spe­cial menu forQixi and it will con­tinue to do so.

“It has proved very suc­cess­ful from past ex­pe­ri­ence,” he says. “The menu is de­signed to cater to lo­cal clien­tele and their known pref­er­ences. But from ex­pe­ri­ence we have learned many ex­pa­tri­ates also at­tend this event.”

Ma­trix at Crowne Plaza Bei­jing Lido of­fers an in­ter­na­tional buf­fet on Qixi, with some spe­cial high­lights.

The res­tau­rant will have ex­tra items on its buf­fet se­lec­tion on the eveningofQixi, suchasCana­di­an­lob­ster, Alaskan king crab, French oys­ter and whole-poached sal­mon, ac­cord­ing to Daniel Brooker, the ho­tel’s ex­ec­u­tive chef fromNewZealand.

Ma­trix has many live cook­ing sta­tions, where chefs can in­ter­act with cus­tomers — bar­be­cue, tep­pa­nyaki, risotto, sashimi and a whole fruit cut­ting sta­tion. All the vegeta­bles used are or­ganic. The res­tau­rant makes its own cold cuts.

More­over, the res­tau­rant will serve some of its lat­est desserts, ac­cord­ing to the chef. Brooker rec­om­mends a con­fec­tion of co­conut, mango and ly­chee, light and del­i­cate, each layer has a dif­fer­ent, unique taste. Apis­ta­chio straw­berry cre­ation is gluten-free, healthy and de­li­cious.

For a five-star ho­tel, the buf­fet is rea­son­ably priced at 527 yuan ($85) for two peo­ple. All cou­ples tak­ing ad­van­tage of the buf­fet on Aug 2 will re­ceive a com­pli­men­tary bot­tle of sparkling wine or red wine. For an ad­di­tional 527 yuan, the cou­ple can get a night’s stay in the ho­tel’s “su­pe­rior room” and en­joy break­fast for two the next morn­ing. Nor­mally, the break­fast alone costs 180 yuan plus 15 per­cent sur­charge per head. Con­tact the writer at yejun@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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