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Taste of the times

By Ye Jun | China Daily | Updated: 2014-03-29 07:35

Acacia pennata from Yunnan's Xishuangbanna, aka "smelly vegetable", is mixed into egg to make a delectable omelet.

An aubergine "box" of pork is accompanied by a very special dip, made with Yunnan's "tree tomato". The tomato naturally tastes very sour, but the chef adds sugar to make a delightfully sweet-and-sour sauce.

Compared to the healthy fare at Rainbow Yunnan Restaurant, Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel Beijing offers a new spring menu that looks rather decadent.

Malaysian chef Kam Siewtong names his starters combination "spring in full swing". It is a mixture of popular Cantonese choices - bean curd, spinach, fresh walnuts with Chinese toon leaves, salt-baked chicken, crispy suckling pig and sea whelk with homemade sauce.

There's such a variety, yet everything looks and tastes flawless.

The majority of the dishes are Cantonese. But the menu also has influences from Malaysian and Sichuanese cuisines.

The main dishes are classic foods with a clever twist. Crispy suckling pig has mashed prawns under crispy pork skin with fragrant sesame. He uses crispy candied walnuts instead of peanuts for kung pao-style prawns.

Sliced crispy chicken and crispy soon hock fish (marble goby) with sauce are both of very high quality. These are accompanied by a light and healthy bowl of double-boiled fish maw and mushroom soup with ginseng.

Even a simple stir-fried broccoli becomes something new and different, as Kam tops it with enoki mushrooms, white fungus and his own mashed corn sauce.

The chef has also prepared memorable foods that are very traditional, such as a delicious barbecue pork buns. Pork ribs with deep-fried garlic come to the table trailing a wonderfully tempting fragrance.

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