CCTV’s latest documentary, A Bite in Shunde, has stirred up another heated round of searches for good food in the region.
Eight important regional dishes are Shandong, Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, Fujian, Sichuan, Hunan and Cantonese cuisines.
While many of these cuisines are interlinked with each other, as in the case of Sichuan and Hunan where they are both renowned for being hot and spicy, Cantonese cuisine flourishes on its own, reflecting the originality of flavors and yielding qualities of freshness, tenderness, silkiness, and crunchiness from its ingredients.
Situated in the fertile Pearl River Delta, Shunde was famous for agriculture, fisheries and silk farming.
With an abundance of natural resources, it has always been known for its impressive cuisine.
Near Jingui Garden in the Daliang subdistrict of Shunde is an extravagantly furnished classical garden in Jiangsu style.
Great Dynasty is open for private dining only.
The head chef, who I met in Macau many years ago, welcomed me, explaining to me that the owner of the place had lavished money on the garden for his own pleasure and enjoyment.
I could imagine the boss would have very high expectations for food from my friend but it would never be a challenge.
The 40-year-old chef has more than 20 years of experience and a good reputation in practising his culinary skills.
That night, I was so well-received.
To start the ball rolling, we had appetizers like pickled napa cabbage, marinated cucumbers, pickled jellyfish head, shrimp and sea bream sashimi, hand-shredded salt-baked chicken.
All went well with crisps and crunchies.
Fresh fish and exotic dishes were served, including pan-fried codfish with spring onion, fried mosquitofish, poached sliced deboned snake in hot chili oil, braised goose web with black mushrooms and stir-fried softshell turtle.
The softshell turtle was perfectly cooked, yielding a mix of textures of crispy skin but tender meat.
The ginger, lemon zest, bell peppers, spring onion and shallot were a riot of color.
As for the deboned snake, it was a fusion dish of Sichuan and Cantonese cuisines, creative and tasty.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec. 2
Translation by Darlie Yiu with additional reporting
[Chinese version 中文版]
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