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Disney's new character

By Mike Peters ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-08-09 08:12:33

Disney's new character

Hatsune founder Alan Wong couldn't be happier to have won a place at Shanghai Disneyland.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Chef Alan Wong has jumped into Shanghai Disneyland with the same enthusiasm he brings every day to the kitchen, Mike Peters discovers.

Months after securing the deal and weeks after opening his Hatsune restaurant at Shanghai Disneyland, chef-owner Alan Wong still lights up with a huge smile at the thought of it.

"I'm a big Disney freak," laughs the California native who grew up in Sacramento. "Listen, I can sing all the songs."

Wong always finds the fun in anything he does-the man calls his top-flight kitchen equipment "my toys"-but if he was really planning to burst into song, the moment passes.

A waiter arrives with a platter of oysters, and Wong reaches for it eagerly. The food is an experiment, part of an imminent new menu at his upscale Haiku restaurant at Beijing's Chaoyang Park. Things get momentarily quiet as we slurp French Fin De Claire, each one bathed in a light beef broth and topped with black caviar and a roasted garlic chip.

"That's amazing," I say.

"That works," he says, nodding and grinning.

Having just created a menu for his Disneyland eatery, he's now ready to shake things up on the menus of his established restaurants-eight in Beijing and now six in Shanghai.

Why?

"I'm bored," he says. "I want to do some fun stuff. Funny stuff. And I have some new toys."

His favorite "toy" at the moment is a high-tech, high-temperature steak griller, a device that's been popping up lately in top Beijing kitchens. He's bought one for most of his restaurants, and he'll use it for a new beef roll and "firecracker chicken", a spicy bird that slow-braised for 10 hours before a quick finish on the hot-hot grill. He's making plans for new sushi rolls, too: "I just came up with two of them today."

After developing so many restaurants, does he fear he'll run out of ideas one day?

He looks startled by the idea.

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