Summer Palace at Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou will host a Sichuan Food Festival through 26 June 2016. The hotel has invited Chef Yang Min and Chef Li Feng, two visiting chefs from Shang Palace at Shangri-La Hotel, Chengdu, to present a dozen traditional classics and modern twists of Sichuan cuisine to Cantonese spicy food gourmets.
Like Cantonese cuisine, Sichuan cuisine is known to every household in China. The two cuisines are both recognised as among the top eight Chinese cuisines and among the top four Chinese flavours (the other two are Huai Yang and Lu). As a well-established cooking technique, Sichuan cuisine can be categorised in three schools, namely, Rong, Lu and Yu.
The Rong school developed in Cheng Du. It inherits classic menus and is therefore very particular about the selection of ingredients, such as the cuts of meat and the matching of various spices. Its cooking process is refined and flavour is moderate with a lasting aroma, compared with the other two schools.
The Lu school grew around the Le Shan, Zi Gong, Lu Zhou and Yi Bin areas. It is famous for using fresh pepper and ginger to enhance food flavour. One of its distinctive cooking methods is boiling in water (shui zhu).
Yu school started in Chong Qing and is known for its straightforward cooking methods and boldness in picking ingredients.
Cantonese and Sichuan cuisine have some noticeable similarities, such as the refinement in Rong school, the use of ginger in Lu school and the boldness of dishes in Yu school. Despite these resemblances, Sichuan cuisine represents a distinctive interpretation of spiciness, which offers an inspiring perspective to Cantonese cooking approaches. This is also the very reason why the hotel has invited the two chefs from Sichuan to take guests back to the origins of this renowned cuisine.
Chef Yang Min and Chef Li Feng developed their career in Rong school, meaning both of them are trained in the refined cooking techniques. However, they do not simply follow tradition; they do not hesitate to present with the versatility prominent of the Lu school and the boldness of Yu school.
During the food festival, the two chefs give guests some famous Sichuan dishes, for example, Kung Pao Chicken, Beef and Ox Tripe in Chilly Sauce, Mouth-Watering Chicken and Dry-Fried Spicy Prawn from Rong school; Water-Boiled Beef, Zi Gong Spicy Frogs from Lu school; and Duck Blood in Chilly Sauce and Spicy Beef Tendons from Yu school.
Mouth-Watering Chicken is a classic cold dish in Sichuan cuisine. Its name derives from the numbing effect that makes it a mouth-watering dish. The method for cooking the chicken is rather similar to that of the Cantonese technique. First, chicken is poached in a simmering soup with bay leaf, cumin, Sichuan peppercorn, ginger, garlic and spring onion.
Next, the sauce is made by slowly cooking Sichuan peppercorn in a blend of vegetable oil and chilly oil. Once the aroma comes out, soya sauce and fried sesame are added to complete the sauce. Finally, the sauce is poured on top of the chicken, which is already diced in chunks and cooled down.
This dish is filled with fragrance of Sichuan peppercorns and definitely the best entrée to wake up the palate.
Dry-Fried Spicy Prawn
Dry-frying is a modern Sichuan cooking technique. It is marked by two features: 1) the whole cooking process does not use starch; and 2) it uses a variety of herbs to boost the aroma. The method consists of patiently cooking the herb powder, including cyminum, coriander, cumin, and so on, in vegetable oil, then completing this base sauce with chilly broad bean paste, ginger, garlic and spring onion. The last process is adding in fresh prawn, stirring it to let the paste spread on the prawn evenly and then simmering it without adding any water until the prawn is cooked. The dish is punching hot with an abundant aroma that lingers in the mouth.
The water-boiled technique originated from Zi Gong, a city of well salt. It is a salt-based dish with a robust taste. The cooking process involves first slicing the beef into thin pieces, and then soaking the pieces in a simmering beef soup. When the beef is 70 per cent cooked, spicy oil is added in. The oil instantly seals the juice within the beef, retaining its tenderness and freshness.
Duck Blood in Chilly Sauce
Duck Blood in Chilly Sauce embodies the boldness of Yu school. Apart from duck blood, the dish also includes beef tripe. Similar to that in hotpot style, the ingredients have to be simmered in the soup on the dining table to retain their freshness. The soup contains pork bones, ginger, rice wine, fresh pepper, fresh peppercorn and Sichuan peppercorn. The soup and the ingredients give this dish its strong flavour.
The Sichuan Food Festival is only available at Summer Palace till 26 June 2016, letting guests dive into authentic Sichuan food without having to travel to Cheng Du. For more details and for reservations, guests may call (86 20) 8917 6498.
Summer Palace is known for its elegant ambiance and prime food quality. It has 18 private dining rooms, each with a unique design perfect for business entertainment and private gatherings.
Breakfast 8–11 a.m. (Saturday and Sunday only)
Lunch 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Dinner 5:30–10:30 p.m.