Tonight I have a reservation at the Ritz- Carlton Pudong Cantonese restaurant , Jin Xuang , apparently among the highest-quality t in Shanghai.
In this spectacular location with high 'vaulted 'ceilings and a mezzanine level masterly designed by Steve Leung from Hong Kong, the very best cuisine is proudly showcased as a discerned choice for social and business dinners alike.
I have decided to meet with chef Lok and top executive chef, French Thierry Marais early this afternoon for few questions before I enjoy this overwhelming experience at 8.
JM: What is the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese cuisine and what provinces they come from?
Chef Lok: Cantonese cuisine is characterized by its freshness and lightness. For haute Cantonese cuisine it usually adopts superior dried seafood ingredients such as sea cucumber, fish maw, abalone and bird’s nest, etc. In fact, Chinese cuisine from other China provinces (e.g. Sichuan, Hunan) are more saucy. Another good illustration is double-boiled soups are more common for Cantonese cuisine whilst Northern China enjoy soup with heavier tastes.
JM: What is the difference from Cantonese cuisine in China and the ones Westerners eat in their cites restaurants
Chef Lok: Cantonese cuisine in China can suit the taste buds of the Chinese but the ones that Westerners can enjoy in their cities’ restaurants have been modified and are no longer authentic. It may due to the lack of proper sauces or ingredients.
JM: Does the name Jin Xuang mean anything?
Jin Xuan means Golden House and this name is adopted as Steven Leung, the interior designer of this Chinese restaurant originated from Hong Kong has used GOLD as major element in his design for the opulent setting, and gold (which also means fortune) is very auspicious for the Chinese in particular for those businessmen.
JM: What is the most sophisticated Chef Lok’s signature dish in the restaurant ?
The most signature dish of Chef Lok at Jin Xuan is Signature Steamed Assorted Vegetables, Brown Sauce (the beautiful fan-shaped dish of which you’ve savored the other night at Jin Xuan).
JM: What are it's main ingredients ?
Its main ingredients are Morel Mushrooms (imported from France), Brown Fungus (only available in China), Wild Bamboo Pith, Bailing Mushroom, Lotus Root and Baby Bak Choi. The brawn sauce complementing the ingredients is the eight-hour double boiled soup.
JM: Everyone hears about cuisine incorporates almost all edible meats, including organ meats, chicken feet, duck tongue, snakes, and snails sometimes even dogs and cats consumption on Tv shows and travel guides, how true is that?
At Jin Xuan fine-dining Cantonese Restaurant we don’t serve most of the meats which you’ve mentioned as we need to take care of the cultural differences between the west and the east. However, Chef Lok points out that Duck’s Tongue has been well-known as Imperial Ingredient in the ancient time of China.
JM: How is the cholesterol factor taken care of , and what are the "fats" used in the cooking process?
Chef Lok is health conscious and he uses as little salt and oil in his cooking process as possible. In menu of Jin Xuan you can rarely find oily or deep-fried cuisine as they are not so healthy. What is more, Chef Lok considers the best way to cook fish is to steam it to retain its original freshness and tastes.
JM:What is the net plus ultra factor of the Jin Xuang menu?
Jin Xuan menu is health focused and Chef Lok also focuses on not only the tastes, but presentation of the dishes. For business functions, his Cantonese cuisine can be presented in individual portion whilst request for family-style grouped portion can still be taken care of at Jin Xuan.
JM:How many people do you manage at the hotel's kitchen?
Chef Lok: A total of 35 persons.
JM: Would you define the Ritz- Carlton Chinese Nouvelle Cuisine? if yes why?
Chef Lok: No, I would rather name them modern Cantonese cuisine since they are not fusion dishes. For instance, I still us Chinese wok to stir fry the beef instead of using pan-fry method.
JM: The next big thing for Chef Lok's?
Chef Lok: To go further beyond the dining expectations of the rich and famous and to have my autobiography published before long.
The dinner was supreme, the dish decoration was spectacular, the service was impeccable. apart from showcasing a few images on this post, I strongly suggest you book you flight and come to check the place. After all it's highest cuisine at a high floor - almost impossible to get higher.
The Restaurant: Jin Xuan
The Designer: Steve Leung