Dynamic duo's awesome combo
(Beijing Weekend)
Updated: 2006-09-05 14:12

Shrimp and tea leaves may seem an unlikely combination, but when father-son chefs Lam Kam Shing and Wilson Lam mix these ingredients, the result is a tasty Hunan-style dish featured at Hua Mei Garden.

The dish is made with fresh shrimp and Kwan-yin tea, an oolong tea produced in Fujian Province, along with Hunan chilli. The deep-fried shrimp and crispy Kwan-yin leaves, surprisingly not too oily, are seasoned with spring onion, sesame and fried diced garlic.

Hua Mei Garden is a Cantonese restaurant at Courtyard near Marriot Beijing, but promotes different cuisines, including Shanghai, Japanese and Malaysian dishes. It is promoting Hunan-style foods until October 6, but Cantonese foods are always available.

The father and son duo bring 60 years' of combined cooking experience to the kitchen and make sure the signature Cantonese dishes, such as shark fin, abalone and bird's nest, are cooked in the traditional style.

For example, abalones take five days to prepare, including two day's stewing with ingredients such as chicken, pork and ham. The bird's nests come from Indonesia, and are stewed, braised, and made into sweet soup with coconut juice.

"The most important thing in cooking is of course the taste, but presentation is not to be neglected, either," said Wilson Lam, who came to Beijing from Hong Kong five years ago with his father. "We always follow authentic Cantonese cooking, but we also create new dishes to cater to customers' changing needs."

When foreign expats visit the restaurant, they can try beef tender loin and shrimp balls, which are made with special sauce, vegetables and seasoning.

"Foreign expats often like foods that are a little crisp and spicy," said Wilson Lam. "But they also like simple and fresh dishes. Therefore we buy from the market everyday to ensure freshness."

Some other Cantonese dishes he recommends are fried egg whites with diced seafood and deep-fried prawn, fried T-bone steak slices with leek, and fried abalone slices with mashed shrimp and fish roe.

Average spending is 80 yuan (US$10) per person for lunch, and 150 yuan (US$18.75) per person for dinner.

Hua Mei Garden

Loation: 2nd floor, Courtyard by Marriot Beijing, 3-18 Chongwenmenwai Dajie, Chongwen District
Tel: 010-67081188 ext 2200