Chef won't spill the beans

| Siu Sai-wo 12 Jul 2019

I had Shunde cuisine at the famous restaurant The Legacy House recently. This week, I was again invited to try Shunde dishes at the Greater China Club at D2 Place.

The restaurant has invited famed chef Lin Chaodai as a guest to showcase his superb culinary skills in the coming weeks.

A member of the China Cuisine Association's master chef demonstration team, Lin has cooked for state leaders, including Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. He has been going on tours in recent years and has prepared banquets for royalty at palaces in Malaysia.

Shunde chefs are renowned for their knife skills, and Lin's "killer move" is cutting potatoes into thin stripes blindfolded.

That evening, I was among six guests at the table, and there were, coincidentally, six chefs preparing their signature dishes for us. I felt blessed for my luck with gourmand food.

The menu featured traditional dishes. The first course, minced fish thick soup, earned the thumbs up from everyone.

Then we had Daliang pork roll, deep-fried chun hua roll and Xingtan crispy fish cake, followed by fried buffalo milk, zhou sha fish roll, baked fish head, steamed spare ribs coated with glutinous rice, steamed pork belly Kwan On style and rice noodles in fish stock.

Shunde produces an abundance of freshwater fish. The fish cake was made with the meat of dace transported specially from Shunde, and it is delicious and chewy.

The zhou sha fish roll is made by wrapping ham inside a piece of sliced fish meat, made thin by pressing it with the chopper, which gives the fish an al dente texture.

We rounded off the feast with Shunde's famous white sugar sponge cake and steamed milk pudding.

Sponge cakes are a delightful dessert, but their sweet taste is often marred by a sour aftertaste. The cake made by the Lin team did not have this common flaw.

Asked how they achieved this effect, chef Lin responded with a series of chuckles. His meaning is quite clear - a secret recipe is not something you would reveal to just anyone!

Siu Sai-wo is publisher of Sing Tao Daily

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