My trip began with a stop over in Hong Kong where I was fortunate enough to partake in a mini dim sum spread. These little bites are different from the ones here that have been tailored to suit the Malaysian taste bud. There were baskets filled with tiny treasures;
oven baked pastries with lotus paste and century egg filling...
deep fried cod fish with mango rolled in an oat crust...
steamed Ma Lai Kuo...a sort of sweetish cake with pine nuts...
and Siew Mai topped with a quail’s egg. I especially enjoyed the deep fried cod as the mango gave it a delicious sweetness and the oats a great crunch. The rest were different from the dim sum found here, they were more mild and sweet.
The next stop was Beijing with a traditional Peking duck.
The crisp reddish golden skin was cut tableside and folded in little pancakes filled with scallions and a sweet dark paste. The rest of the duck was then carved and used in a dish to be served later on in the journey. This was done beautifully and the skin had just the right amount of crispness and flavour to it.
After the lovely duck we went North of Beijing and enjoyed a lightly steamed cod fish with soy sauce.
The fish was mild in flavour and rich in texture giving my taste buds a rest from the sticky sweet duck pancakes. This is was especially good eaten with the stir-fried kailan with lily bulbs and wolfberries.
The journey then takes us to Sichuan Province with a wok fried Blue River prawn in a hot bean sauce.
This sauce is not as spicy as I was expecting and reminds me more of a sweet and sour sauce with a hint of heat. I am told that during the winter months in Sichuan Province the food gets spicier, and in the summer the flavours tend to focus on less chilli yet still retaining the bold flavours. They also tend to use river fish and prawns as Sichuan is landlocked. The prawn’s freshness was apparent.
Once we are done in Sichuan we make our way over to Shanghai where we eagerly dove into a bowl of stewed noodles with the shredded duck.
Looks wise these noodles resemble a wavy homemade Maggie mee but taste wise they couldn’t be more different. These have a good bounce and the tender duck meat adds a great depth to the overall dish.
The meal came to an end in the South with a chilled mango puree served with pomelo, sago and ice cream.
This is very light, cold and refreshing and the perfect end to such a large meal. I leave stuffed and satisfied after my gastronomic trip through China. With food this good who needs to travel?
Tai Ze Heen
Prince Hotel and Residences