EATING OUT & RECIPES BY NOI
New Cantonese restaurant brings exciting new menu
Superstar chef at Shang Garden
I love Chinese food, not that strange western
concoction served in British and American restaurants that
is sweet and rather sticky but the real thing; proper
Chinese food. I love Cantonese, Shanghainese, even Szechuan.
The regional differences are immense and delicious.
It was with great anticipation I visited Shang Garden
restaurant at the Shangri La Hotel try to the recipes of
Chef Jacky Chan. Yes, their superstar chef is named Jacky
Chan. He is a Guangzhou native who earned his superstar
status by becoming the youngest Executive Chef in Hong Kong
at the age of 18. I confess, at the age of 18 I felt
accomplished that I could cook a decent omelet! Chef Jacky
has cooked for former Chinese leader Deng Xiao Ping and has
cooked at some of the top hotels and restaurants in Hong
Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Shanghai.
Chef Jacky likes to emphasize diversity and innovation and
likes to cook Cantonese cuisine in a new way that combines
many factors and advantages in combined styles.
So, on to the food. We were served some amazing dishes,
including a wonderfully creamy tofu dish wrapped in seaweed.
I am not a huge fan of tofu but this was fabulous. The
outside was slightly crunchy from the seaweed and the inside
had a creamy but not too soft texture.
One of the chef’s specialties is a dish called Tongpoyok;
slow roasted pork jowl. I don’t normally eat much fat; I
grew up in an old fashioned home with a mother who cooked
with lard as did many women her age. Bread and drippings
were a family favourite but I never developed the taste. So,
at first I thought to myself, “That is a lot of fat there!”
But it did not taste fatty at all. It was served with a
wonderful steamed bun that complemented the pork. I ate a
fair amount of the Tongpoyok but after the wonderful tofu
dish, tender roast duck, dim sum and fried rice, I was quite
full. The problem with eating Chinese style in a small group
is the massive amounts of food you end up eating just so you
can try everything!
The food was divine. The service a little slow but still
excellent. There were several very large groups so a slight
delay was understandable. The atmosphere was modern yet
cosy. There is outside seating as well but with the recent
cool temperatures you might want to wear your woollies to
sit outside in the evening!
Shang Garden is one of those unusual venues; it would be a
great night out for a group of Chinese food- loving friends
or an intimate and romantic dinner for two. It is open daily
for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 6
to 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended if going as a group.
053-253-888 ext. 6437 or [email protected] It
is located on the ground floor of the Shangri La Hotel in
the rear overlooking the garden. There is even a special
Chef’s table room so you can watch the creativity of Chef
Jacky in action.
RECIPES BY NOI: Kai Ook or Nam Phrik Ong with eggs!
Ever since I started working in a Foundation that helps
disadvantaged people I am reminded at how lucky I am to have
almost everything I need for my life. There are people out
there who fight very hard for their lives; I have been
inspired by the Shan or Tai people. We share a lot of
similarities;, we love freedom, the languages are very
similar, and so is the food. Their history is very
interesting and they are real fighters. Some of them are
orphans, abandoned and poor but they use all that they have
and make the best out of it. Some seem to be good dancers,
singers, runners, artists and good leaders.
One day 6 boys came to learn how to use
computers at the foundation. They cooked for us to say thank
you. The best dish was Kai Ook. Surprisingly it tastes like
Nam Phrik Ong but they added deep fried hard boiled eggs
into the sauce instead of using minced pork like Nam Phrik
Kai ook is made by boiling eggs and then
deep frying them until they turn golden brown. Then cut them
Make a paste with your mortar and pestle
by pounding dry chilies, garlic, shallot and salt into a
very fine paste. Then stir fry the paste and add chopped
onion, tomatoes and deep fried eggs. Add sugar and salt to
taste. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and spring onion.
Happy New Year to all and wish everyone
has a brighter year.