Peking duck will give your table that wow factor
The Christmas feast should feature a centerpiece dish that wows in terms of presentation and taste. While turkey and ham are the most traditional and popular, it might be fun to try something new for the big dinner, and if you want to incorporate some local, Chinese specialties since we are in Shanghai, here are some alternatives to consider.
Peking duck is an iconic dish that’s fitting for special occasions and festival celebrations.
Top restaurants that serve Peking duck as a signature dish include Dadong, the one Michelin-starred Peking duck restaurant (two branches in Shanghai earned the star), Madam Zhu’s Kitchen and Xihe. They also do delivery via apps such as Ele.me.
Peking duck is presented as a set that includes thin steamed pancakes, simple sides and condiments. The best part is the crispy duck skin, which many people like to enjoy with a little bit of sugar as it can melt in the mouth.
The meaty parts of the duck are sliced and wrapped in the pancake with cucumber, leek and sweet fermented flour sauce, and the bones are boiled to make soup or congee, or deep-fried and seasoned with peppercorn salt to make a finger-lickingly delicious dish.
or eight-treasure duck, is a Shanghainese classic that fills the whole duck with a glorious stuffing of glutinous rice, Chinese ham, shrimp, dried scallop, bamboo shoot, chestnut, shitake mushroom, chicken gizzard, peas and more, which is then steamed until the meat easily breaks away from the bones.
The sumptuous juice of the duck sinks into the glutinous rice stuffing, while the combination of meats and vegetables also gives the duck a unique flavor.
Sweet and sour mandarin fish is a classic, fancy Chinese dish that’s often served at banquets as the main centerpiece. The fish with its blossoming shape resulting from the checked cut of the flesh is famous for its sweet and sour flavor as well as the special texture of a crispy outside and tender inside.
There are also Chinese snacks and treats that can work really well in Christmas celebrations, such as the different ways to enjoy ginger other than in good old gingerbread or gingersnaps.
a ginger milk curd that directly translates as ginger hits milk, is a very popular Chinese dessert that originated in Shunde, Guangdong Province.
With some practice, it’s easy to make ginger milk curd at home since only three ingredients are needed — fresh ginger, milk and sugar. Traditionally the recipe uses buffalo milk, but now cow’s milk is more common.
The first step is to finely grate small pieces of ginger and squeeze out all the juice through a sieve and pour that into a bowl. Bring some milk to a boil and add sugar to taste, then take it off the heat so it can cool a little. The ideal temperature of the milk should be 70 degrees Celsius.
Now, stir the ginger juice and pour the milk into the middle. A couple of minutes later, milk curds will appear and it’s now ready to serve. A successful bowl of should be able to hold a spoon on top.
Because the curdling effect is fun to watch, the dish is great to make with children.
Ginger candy made of ginger juice and brown sugar is a very popular treat in southern China, not only because of its sweet and spicy flavor, but also ginger’s warm property, which is very suited to places with a humid climate.
The ginger candy doesn’t have a fancy look but the taste is unique. Key ingredients include ginger, brown sugar and glutinous rice, and the texture is achieved by pulling the candy constantly.
Candied ginger, on the other hand, is a treat that transforms ginger slices into a tasty snack. You can make your own at home by boiling ginger with lots of sugar. The younger ginger has milder taste while the older ones are spicier. A jar of homemade candied ginger is a good gift idea, too.
Brewing ginger with jujube, dried goji berries and brown sugar makes a sweet, wintery drink that’s fit for any day. You can also use the combination of pear and ginger to make a sweet soupy dessert.
Peking duck is a centerpiece dish for formal dinners. — IC