Sunday, July 1, 2018

First Dimsum in Guangzhou

We swung by Foshan/Guangzhou for a quick overnight trip to meet up with our friend J who’s meeting the chef and owner of a private kitchen there (more on that later). But before the dinner, we had a great dimsum lunch at Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou, opened only in the last few years joining a long list of high-end hotels making its presence in this capital city in Guangdong Province, only 2 hours away via train from Hong Kong (commute time will be further cut in half once the direct high speed rail began service some time late this year or next).

In a city so deeply rooted in traditional cuisine with so many places in operation as early as the late Qing Dynasty, it’s highly unusual for a new restaurant named after one chef, let alone such young one as Chef Jin-hui Huang (better known as Chef Fei by how his name was pronounced in Cantonese) but many swore by this place is one of the most promising restaurants in town and the chef being a leading figure of the next generation of culinary talents, bringing in a new waves of dishes transformed from traditional cooking.

The MO Guangzhou is located at the Taikoo Hui business complex with office buildings and high-end shopping malls that can easily rival any in Hong Kong, and it’s only one station away from the Guangzhou East train station where we got off from the inter-city train from Shenzhen. I wouldn’t say I am exactly a fan of décor and setup of the hotel, with many pillars and corners and corridors that resembles secret passageway more than the grandeur style I found in MO elsewhere. But the dining area of Jiang is cozy and pleasant, with the open, well-lit space that’s classy yet comfortable.

Two of us managed only a few dishes, but they were all delicious. We began with the cold appetizer of beef shank, sliced paper thin and served with a chilled Szechuan pepper gravy for that mild spicy kick. Then the rest was all dim sum dishes with the exception of the poached choy sum vegetables in superior broth. My favorites were the har gau – steamed prawn dumplings with bamboo shoot – which reminded me of the ones we had at Ritz-Carlton Shenzhen a few weeks ago, with a similar texture of dumpling skin and a plump whole prawn filling with bits of bamboo shoots for the hint of sweetness and crunchiness. The unassuming-looking barbecued pork bun was great too – with the right texture of barbecued pork mixed with the sauce inside the fluffy bun, served while steamy hot.

For dessert we went for the steamed red date sponge cake, which has the texture similar to the traditional Cantonese sponge cake but a bit firmer with the “dough” infused with red date juice giving it the deep red color prior to cutting into diamond shape and steamed in the bamboo basket. It’s mildly sweet with great texture. That’s a perfect relaxing lunch that we need after the long commute from Hong Kong into this city that we haven’t been for a few years.

More photos in my Flickr album:

When? May 21 2018
Where? Jiang by Chef Fei, Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou, 389 Tianhe Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, China
江, 中國廣州天河區天河路 389 號廣州文華東方酒店
Menu Highlights? Hag Gau – Steamed Shrimp Dumplings with Bamboo Shoots

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