Malaysia Tatler - - LIFE -

Look­ing to hone the recipes they were play­ing with, Xu found a sifu, or men­tor—a man whose name Xu wouldn’t dis­close, who has been a vet­eran of high-end Can­tonese kitchens for decades. Un­der his guid­ance, the chef and his part­ner Yao, both in their thir­ties, be­gan shift­ing their at­ten­tion to Can­tonese cui­sine in its purest, oldest form. “Nei­ther of us was born in the age where Can­tonese cui­sine was at its most glo­ri­ous,” Xu says. “We never ex­pe­ri­enced it, so our knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing of Can­tonese clas­sics was the same as most other peo­ple, in that we didn’t know much about them. My sifu had worked in grand ho­tels in the 1960s and cooked dishes that I’d never seen or tasted be­fore. He sug­gested that I start again and learn the fun­da­men­tals of Can­tonese cui­sine.” So Xu did. He started dig­ging up old recipes and cook­books and be­gan to try his hand at re­pro­duc­ing them, from tiny coins of chicken minced by hand on top of pig skin to in­cor­po­rate a lit­tle of the fat­ti­ness, de­signed to float in a milky, slow-cooked tonic

TRA­DI­TIONAL TOUCHES 102 House is tucked away in­side an old res­i­dence in Foshan com­plete with tra­di­tional de­tails such as this lamp­shade and an­tique fur­ni­ture (cen­tre). Far right: A crab and eg­g­plant dish

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