Beyond siomai: a guided tour to Chinese cuisine-A A +A
Friday, May 30, 2014
FOR one who is acquainted with Chinese cuisine only through siopao and kuapao, pancit canton and fried rice, lomi and nido soup, sweet sour pork and siomai, the menu of Tao Yuan can be intimidating, even with the help of pictures. It’s best to have a guide who knows the cuisine to help choose what dishes to order, a guide like food guru Dr. Nestor Alonso.
First off, he picks drunken suahe, which is live shrimps bathed in Chinese rose wine and flambed, resulting in shrimps with the subtle taste of rose essence.
For soup there’s scallop with minced vegetables, which is utterly delicious. Steamed lapu-lapu is familiar enough, but the sauce made with chopped chili is not, which makes for a new taste treat.
Ox tongue is served differently, too, with braised stuffed whole dried scallop. And for rice, there’s crab rice with a whole crab sitting on top of the mountain of grain.
To make sure diners will also eat the crab, there are thin plastic gloves that they can use. However, but there’s nothing like eating with one’s bare hands! There are “seafood crackers” to help diners crack open the crabs but, hey, why not ask the waiter?
Not contented with all that food, there’s crispy pork belly, which is the Chinese equivalent of boneless lechon. Beef tenderloin with the special Tao Yuan sauce was really special. And something absolutely new and delightful to one’s mundane taste buds was braise fish maw with sea cucumber.
To top all that, there was mango roll. Of course, Chinese tea was served throughout the fantastic meal. And thanks to the guided tour in cuisine-land.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 31, 2014.