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The world on a plate

By Xu Junqian | China Daily | Updated: 2016-09-20 08:06

The world on a plate

Betty Ng, owner of restau-rant Ginger in Shanghai.[Photo provided to China Daily]

The Singaporean restaurateur lived in Japan, where she took culinary training at the Cordon Bleu before settling down in Shanghai with her family in the 2000s.

Her lifelong passion for food, and spices in particular, was sparked by the home cooking of her childhood. Ng opened the chic-yet-cozy bistro in a refurbished villa with a spacious terrace, and she has built on the concept of sharing and recreating the food that impresses her while traveling, which she makes time to do four times a year.

A recently inspired and "very un-normal" dish, for example, is chicken tagine, an aromatic gift from her trip to Marrakech in Morocco last summer. The slow-braised saffron chicken paired with couscous is particularly tender and juicy and whets the appetite for North African cuisines and the countries that produce such foods.

The Asian dips, as starters, are the collected memories of Ng's experiences in the continent.

While the sticks of cucumbers and carrots and the rice crackers are generally fresh, the laksa pesto, among all three sauces, is a star that convinces diners that Southeast Asia is a spice paradise.

Using leaves of fresh herbs from Ng's "jungle" of plants at home, the paste is combined with garlic, roasted pine nuts and rice bran oil and then seasoned with sea salt and ground pepper. They mix beautifully, creating a minty and flavorful taste that invites you to dip everything-noodles, pork and chocolate cake into it.

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