Chinese Executive Chef Albert Au, Jiang-Nan Chun, Four Seasons Hotel Singapore
Poon choi and steamboat for Chinese New Year in Hong Kong
“I grew up in Hong Kong with a Teochew father and a Cantonese mother. Although both dialect groups have different traditions, they are similar in their particularity towards food and are both very family-oriented. During the cold, wintry Lunar New Year season, my family would gather around a steaming pot of home-cooked goodness in the form of steamboat and poon choi. During reunion dinners, which are very important family events, the Teochews will have da bin lou (“steamboat” in Cantonese) while the Cantonese would have poon choi. The latter is especially a must-have dish as it originates from Hong Kong.”
CNY food inspiration: Pen Cai from Jiang-Nan Chun restaurant
The Pen Cai (from $888 for 6 pax) from one Michelin-starredJiang-Nan Chun is a three-layer dish reflecting the detailed preparation and layered cooking techniques used by Chef Au’s family during their CNY celebrations. All these bring out the best flavours and textures of the ingredients.
The top layer consists of ingredients such as 10-head abalone, fish maw, sea cucumber, dried oyster and roast duck. The second has fried fish maw, preserved meats, black mushrooms and pig trotters. And right at the bottom is a base of sophora root (a herb), white radish, fish cake and yam root.
Chef Au shares, “With all the nostalgia and warmth that the Lunar New Year brings, I want to capture the warmth of family around a hearty dish of abundance, Hence, I created the pen cai to reflect a taste of home. This version is an authentic Cantonese version that is focused on quality ingredients and perfection of culinary technique.”
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