Thursday, September 7, 2023

New Chef On Board

I dropped by Duddell’s for dinner one evening just as their new Executive Chef Chan Yau-leung settled in. With a new chef brought new ideas to the table, and it showed in the tasting menu presented to us, an 8-course affair completed with wine pairing.

Got off to a good start with chilled South African abalone, which came in decent size, tender and infused with subtle rice wine flavor. The fluffy egg with crab was a twist to the classic Cantonese stir-fried fins, except no shark’s fin was used in this politically correct version, and instead, with added shredded shrimp for the bouncy texture along with Chinese ham and bean sprouts. The signature Char-siu dish was “split” into two separate preparations – one the classic version with honey glaze, and the other served Sichuan style with spicy sauce. I am a traditionalist as far as charsiu is concerned but the Sichuan spicy sauce was delicious. 

The winter melon broth with crab meat reminded me of a similar version I had just a month ago, but this one came in more intense flavor from the chicken and ham superior broth that was being used. Sauteed prawn was another classic Cantonese dish but this time, Chef Chan added the thickened chicken gravy, something more commonly seen in Imperial Tan Cuisine (譚家菜). 

We all love Duddell’s Crispy Fried Chicken, but this time we were served a second chicken dish, this one stuffed with glutinous rice and roasted. “Glutinous Rice Chicken” is a common dimsum item for which diced chicken meat was stuffed inside glutinous rice, wrapped in lotus leaf and steamed – think of this as an inside out version of that. I love the rich chicken jus was infused into the rice stuffed in its cavity. The dessert also took a hint from Sichuan cuisine using Bingfen 冰粉, the cold flat “noodles” served in a stemmed glass with dragonfruit, fits and bird’s nest. 

Two solid choices for wine this evening, starting with an interesting bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Austria with a good hint of mineral flavor, working well with the seafood dishes and the soup. Then it’s followed by a Napa Valley merlot, with its red fruit characters matching well with those dishes with more expressive flavors like the Char Siu or the Glutinous Rice chicken. 

When? July 3 2023
Where? Duddell’s, Level 3, 1 Duddell’s Street, Central
Menu Highlights? Crispy Glutinous Rice Chicken
2020 Weingut Neumeister Straden Sauvignon Blanc, Austria
2018 Hall Napa Valley Merlot

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