Friday, May 28, 2010
Cantonese Cuisine Festival at Tin Hau
Dim Sum is one of those styles of cooking wherein you cannot cut corners and scrimp on ingredients. Yes, you can find some pleasure in fastfood Chinese restaurants and supermarket stalls, but nothing beats dim sum that has an artisanal feel to it, recipes and techniques handed down through generations of apprentices and kin. In the masterful hands of a dim sum chef, seafood, vegetables and minced meat become bite-sized pockets of flavorful treats- wrappers are home and handmade, succulent and firm once steamed to perfection; the filling is made with generous portions of fresh, hand-chopped ingredients. The result is generally nothing short of flawless.
My new friends at Mandarin Oriental invited me to lunch to have a taste of their Cantonese Cuisine Festival at Tin Hau. Three award-winning chefs from one of Hong Kong’s top restaurant chains- Super Star Seafood Restaurant- will lord over Tin Hau’s kitchen throughout this week to give Manila a taste of their Cantonese specialties.
Memorable dishes during our lunch were:
Stir-fried Diced Beef with Wasabi sauce- the beef was butter-soft and the sauce had just the right amount of wasabi heat.
Fresh Radish and Fungus Salad- Aside from the aesthetic appeal, this dish is both refreshing and earthy. The sweet and tart flavor of the radish nicely balances the mushroomy-umami of the fungus.
Steamed Prawn stuffed with Scallop- Clean flavors of shrimp are accented perfectly by the salty dried scallop.
Steamed Fish Dumpling with Stir-fried Scallop- I did not care much for the stir-fried scallop (which did not do much for the dish except make it pretty), but the dumpling was perfectly-executed.
Stonefish cooked two-ways- The first preparation is steamed in a lotus leaf, the other is stir-fried with egg white. I enjoyed the texture of this particular fish, its firm and flavorful flesh holding up well to both cooking techniques.
Marshmallow in Rabbit Shape and Jello- the flavors are nothing fabulous and outlandish, but it was just too darn cute. Just looking at it put a smile on my face.
The star of the lunch was most definitely the Dim Sum Platter- deep-fried dumpling in crab shape, penguin dumpling (no, it’s not made with actual penguins), and pan-fried dumpling. The crab-shaped dumpling had a unique flavor coming from its pastry-like crust. The sweetness lent a nice contrast to the savory filling and salty soy sauce. The pan-fried dumpling reminded me of gyoza, which I liked. The most eye-catching of the bunch has got to be the penguin dumpling, which is actually generously-stuffed with shrimp and fish. The wrapper, in my opinion, is what separates their dim sum from the average teahouse variety. It is thick and yet translucent, holding all its contents in until all that flavorful goodness is ready to burst into your mouth.
For those who are confident enough to learn how to make these delectable treats at home, the guest chefs will have a cooking class and lunch on May 29, starting 9AM. For reservations or more information on the cooking class, you can call Mandarin Oriental Manila at (632) 7508888. Enjoy!