Aisha Daily decided to dive into the world of Chinese cuisine and find the best examples in the city. To do this, journalist Olga Kosheleva, together with two experts, walked around 7 restaurants, ordering about one set of dishes – iconic for Chinese cuisine. Below are some amazing findings and conclusions.
Nicolas Vein – chef, French, worked and lived for five years in China (Shanghai and Guangzhou), published three books on the interpretation of Chinese cuisine in different countries, the last of which, Shanghai Flair. Currently, Nicolas leads the kitchen at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mauritius, travels and continues to study Chinese food around the world.
Stanislav Lisichenko is a businessman and owner of the Chinese News restaurants in Skolkovo and Spiridonov. He is connected with China by a personal history: he first came to China in 1986 with his father, who worked at the embassy, after graduated from MGIMO and went to finish learning Chinese in Taiwan, and then for 10 years collaborated with the Chinese, including import of electronic components from China to Russia. Loves and understands Chinese cuisine.
Hot and sour soup
It is prepared in different countries of Asia, but if we talk about China, then the soup is typical for Beijing and the Sichuan province. It is usually made with meat broth with woody mushrooms, bamboo shoots and tofu, sometimes with the addition of pork blood.
It is prepared in all Asian countries, while the Chinese version implies two types: fried noodles until crisp (in some cases, after boiled in sauce) or stewed. The type of noodles is not important: it can be wheat, buckwheat, corn, rice, soy, egg (usually made from wheat flour), from mung bean or beans. The main thing is the components that are added to the noodles when frying: in the standard version, these are ginger, garlic and chili.
They are literally broken: they are beaten and then chopped with a knife, mixed with salt, chili, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and ginger. Cooked all over the country, recipes and tastes vary depending on the ingredients and, most importantly, the variety and quality of soy sauce and rice vinegar.
Chinese boiled dumplings
They are half vegetables. In addition to meat (pork, beef or pork with shrimps and pork with beef), minced meat is added with green onions, daikon, shiitake and Chinese cabbage. In addition, sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar are kneaded into the minced meat. Wheat flour is used for the dough, usually without adding eggs. Ingredients may vary depending on the province.
There are two main types of duck cooked in China: Peking and Cantonese. Both options involve a head and neck. In the first case, the preparation of the Peking duck, the entrails are taken out through the incision under the wing, since this place does not touch the layer, which is subsequently inflated. The duck is not pickled from the inside, inflated and simply scalded with boiling water and vinegar, which forms a crust on the skin itself, and then hung for seven hours in a ventilated room (ventilation is very important.
since internal fat should not leak through the skin) and sent to the oven for half an hour. During this time, only the skin and breast have time to cook – they are served. From the rest of the parts, the guest is made the following dish – fried bones with meat in a wok and broth. Unlike Peking duck, Cantonese duck is stuffed with spices (and the internal organs are removed through an incision in another place), cooked in the oven for a little longer and served whole.
Huang He is lost somewhere in the middle of courtyards with five-story buildings and playgrounds on the Falcon – no sign that there could be a Chinese restaurant here. But, following the map in my phone, I suddenly see several Chinese, and then a whole group, which stretched out across the entire street and marching in formation. Of course, I follow them and come to a restaurant, which turns out to be a prominent tourist destination: there is a hotel in the same building, and groups of Chinese, as it became clear later, are taken here regularly. Now let’s see if it’s in vain.
Nicolas Vein: Do you know how to find a good Chinese restaurant? It should be a little shabby, with Chinese inside and low prices. If you see Europeans at the tables, forget this place – a bad sign, food in such places has lost its national features.
Look, there are sinks at the entrance – it is customary for the Chinese to wash their dishes, because they are not sure about their sterility: they are usually brought in not very clean. And by the way, when the waiters bring tea that you have not ordered, most often it is not intended for drinking, but for washing the dishes. And over there, New Year’s garlands are still hanging on the walls, this is a typical Chinese story: they rarely take away decorations until they are completely worn out, and just leave them until next New Year. So it looks like a typical Chinese restaurant.