A modern and sophisticated Dim Sum restaurant that offers a variety of flavors from all over China. The outside of the box thinker, Chef Andrew Wong is introducing London the culture and the many tastes from every Province of the country through this cuisine. The flavors are all hidden behind one Dim Sum.
-Dim Sum means literally "snack". Many years ago, Chinese blue color workers would finish working all day and early for breakfast, they would go to a teahouse and initially have just tea for detoxing and cleaning the soul as well. It was much later, when the teahouses started serving food, in small portions and that is how Dim Sum was born.
-Dim Sum is originally from Canton or Guangzhou, the capital of the Guangdong province in Southern China. Canton used to be the last maritime port of the Silk Road and is now one of the main port for International trade.
-In Southern China, the main food, proteins and vegetables are served with rice, as supposed to Northern China has a tradition to serve food in buns or thin noodles wrapping. For example, in the province of Shandong, rice isn't the staple.
-When you hear Sichuan cuisine, it means the food is lot spicier and you cannot call Sichuan cuisine unless you use the spices, chilies and others. Those spices were much easier to get, due to the connection with the West through the Silk Road.
-Northern west China, the province called Xinjiang, its population is mainly Moslem, so the cuisine is completely different from the rest.
Sources: "Great British Chefs" with editor Tom Shingler, A. Wong, Food Critic Andy Hayler, Wikipedia and played with numerous maps online.
Chef Andrew Wong, born and raised in England, grew up around Cantonese cuisine in his parents restaurants in London. He is also a social anthropologist, but a life event brought him to where he is today, a great Michelin starred Chef. After his six months of "tour de cuisine in China" and his six long years of study and research, he re-invented the food that his parents restaurants served "typical Chinese food, delicious but unsophisticated" to an "innovative, educative and sophisticated cuisine". Yet, his research is not done, he is constantly getting new ideas and inspirations with the help of anthropologist in London. The Chef is trying to re-create recipes that have been lost during the Communist revolution.
A. Wong restaurant earned his first Michelin star in year 2016.
Although it is recommended to get all five tastes, when you go to a Dim Sum restaurant (salty, spicy, bitter, acidic, sweet), I basically went to Food Critic Andy Hayler website www.andyhayler.com and chose from his tastings, as he writes about the food in full detail and I can have a better understanding, before I go to a high-end restaurant. In Chinese, this would be called "Shanghai Xiaolongbao", "bao" or "bun" steamed in a little bamboo basket called "Xiaolong". These dumplings are food staple in the province of Shanghai. The skin of the bun was soft, very thin and I remember tasting Chinese chives with the ginger infused vinegar. I have to admit, that this dim sum was the most difficult one to eat. So how did I eat? I placed the bun with my chopsticks into the Chinese spoon, then slowly cut the bun and let the liquid come out with care. Slowly I ate the meat and the chives and had the soup from the spoon. When the bun was basically 1/4, I put them all in my mouth.
On top of the pot sticker are two delicate Chrysanthemum white pedals. On the bottom a perfectly crispy cracker base, that I had to ask the Chef, the secret of this cracker. His reply was "patience", when I thought the secret was "magic". (Humor)
Yet another Chef who impresses me with the art of cooking quail egg, from outside perfectly white, intact and the egg yolk juicy rolled in a crispy crust on top of sautéed seaweed. The sauce, I believe it was ginger and green onions.
The bean curd had a very interesting flavor, but I did not understand where the Won Ton was and I did not ask either. The restaurant is so busy and I was indulging myself in the many flavors.
The scallop was wrapped in a rice noodle dough. This is very popular in Southern China and in Hong Kong. The scallop was large, but it was cut into three slices and in between slices, a slice of green bean was added.
By now, I had plenty of food, but I had to order one rib, because I wanted to try the sauce. As you can imagine, the meat was soft as it should and the sauce was exquisite. No other word for description.
A sort of sauce anglaise, incredibly strong yellow color with an intense taste of custard.
I have enjoyed all my Dim Sums in two hours with Jasmine tea. Had the best view to the kitchen and I was able to see the ambiance of the dynamic restaurant team of Chef Andrew and his wife Nathalie.
The next time I visit the restaurant, I would like to taste flavors from the Xinjiang province.
Thank you for the wonderful experience and I have definitely gained a lot of knowledge on Chinese cuisine and geography.
Susana @ Food with Susi