Monday, July 21, 2014

Food News: Experience Authentic Huaiyang Cuisine at Shang Palace

An elegant combination of Yangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, and Zhenijiang cooking techniques, Huaiyang cuisine represents a distinct flavor and style from China's rich culinary heritage. And for one week, you can experience the unique flavors of Huaiyang cuisine at the Makati Shangri-La's Shang Palace... 

Known for its meticulous style and exquisite flavors, Guest Chef Anthony Dong from Futian Shangri-La, Shenzen, shares his interpretation of classic Huaiyang cuisine at Makati Shangri-La's premier Cantonese restaurant, the Shang Palace, from July 20 to July 30, 2014.

Futian Shangri-La's Chef Anthony Dong (L) and Makati Shangri-La's Executive Assistant Manager-F&B Marco Tiraferri provide guests with an overview on Huaiyang cuisine, and the special menu for our Huaiyang experience. The Shang Palace regularly features different regional styles with visiting guest chefs, each one a unique dining experience.

Huaiyang cuisine is widely considered as one of the four major pillars of Chinese cuisine, along with Cantonese, Shandong, and Sichuan cuisine. In contrast with the other regional culinary styles, Huaiyang cuisine is often lighter, more meticulous, with subtle flavors using the freshest ingredients. This is apparent as the first course of appetizers were served, featuring Marinated Cuttlefish and Japanese Bean Curd, Marinated Minced Spinach with Green Mustard, Marinated Chicken and Sliced Abalone with Wasabi, Deep-Fried Fish with Five Spices, and Stewed Snail with Garlic and Chili Sauce.

Each appetizer is delicately prepared and plated, with a subtle elegance unique to Huaiyang cuisine. Guest Chef Anthony Dong's creative style is also evident, with over twenty years of culinary experience, adding a contemporary yet artful touch to traditional Huaiyang cuisine. The sampler of appetizers highlighted a wide range of flavors, from the pure, fresh and clean flavors of marinated cuttlefish, chcken and abalone, to the delicate yet bold combination of spinach with green mustard, and stewed snail with chili. Not excessively salty or spicy, just perfectly balanced flavors.

The second course is then served, Braised Bean Curd Ball in Superior Broth, with thin, noodle-like strips of bean curd in a rich and thick soup. A closer look at the dish and one can't help but be impressed with the delicate knife skills in preparing each bowl, gently slicing thin strips of soft bean curd. The meticulous preparation and attention to detail is another unique feature of Huaiyang cuisine, artfully presented by Chef Anthony Dong. I enjoyed the delicate and comforting flavors of both the bean curd and the thick broth, a welcome change to the more pronounced, boldly flavored dishes of the other regional cuisines. With Huaiyang cuisine, it's really all about balanced flavors as opposed to bold, upfront flavors.

Next, Chef Anthony Dong's elegant Deep-Fried Shrimp with Oatmeal, served on a thick slice of cucumber topped with a leaf. And true to the Huaiyang style of cooking, fresh and premium ingredients provide all the flavors. The fresh and plump shrimp has a subtle sweetness with a briny hint of the ocean and a fresh snap in every bite, with the crisp oatmeal coating adding texture. The minimal yet elegant plating allows you to focus on the flavors of the dish. A personal favorite.

Then, the main course arrived, Braised Beef Cheek with Red Wine Pear, as Chef Anthony Dong continues to play with unique flavor combinations and elegantly plated dishes.

The sweet pear, marinated in red wine, is transformed with a deep red hue. As you slice the fruit, the tender and flavorful minced beef cheek filling is revealed for a unique sweet and savory fusion of flavors. Definitely the most unique dish I've had so far, and this one's seriously good. 

Next, Chef Anthony Dong's Braised Bamboo Asparagus in Superior Broth, another combination of fresh and clean flavors. Pure, uncomplicated, simple flavors with just a hint of sweetness from the sliced goji berry in an elegantly plated dish. The soft and tender bamboo shoots contrasts with the subtle crispness of the asparagus, while the broth rounds out the flavors. The freshness and clean notes of the ingredients are  preserved with just minimal layers of flavors.

Fried Rice with Preserved Meat and Shrimp rounds out the special tasting menu of Chef Anthony Dong, with soft and fluffy rice punctuated by the sharp notes of the crispy shrimp and the sweet preserved meat for another unique dish.

The unique dishes by Chef Anthony Dong presents a whole new flavor experience, with fresh, subtle, and delicate flavors in each elegantly plated dish, and a whole new perspective on the richness and diversity of Chinese cuisine. Definitely different.

You can also enjoy some of the signature dishes at Shang Palace, like the Spare Ribs with peppers and sweet savory sauce...

...and the E-Fu Noodles with Assorted Seafood and Vegetables, with the familiar bold flavors, to complete your Chinese feast at Shang Palace.

To cap our Huaiyang experience, Chef Anthony Dong served his simple yet elegant Assorted Fruits. Simple and pure fresh flavors, with each dish reflecting Chef Anthony Dong's philosophy of "cooking from the heart."

Discover a whole new perspective of Chinese cuisine with Chef Anthony Dong's masterful interpretation of traditional Huaiyang flavors, with its distinct regional nuances, only at the Makati Shangri-La's Shang Palace. Unique, new, and different, and definitely another memorable dining experience at the Shang Palace.

The Shang Palace is located at the 2nd Floor of Makati Shangri-La, Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City. For restaurant reservations or more information, please call 814-2580 or email

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