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We are no strangers to China Tang, a well- known Chinese restaurant created by the late Sir David Tang, founder of Shanghai Tang, the

chic Chinese fashion brand. We were lured back by its offering of a special Imperial Cuisine, which reinterprets classic Imperial dishes once enjoyed by Chinese emperors.

The creator of this intriguing menu is Executive Chef Ng Wai Lun, a still youthful but experienced chef who apprenticed in a Michelin-starred restaurant for more than 10 years before moving on, including a stay in Shangxi province in China where he learned to prepare Northern style Chinese cuisine from which most of the imperial cuisine dishes originate.

The restaurant always wows a newcomer upon entrance. Its 1920s Shanghai-style décor of opulent plush carpets, floral-embroidered couches and cushions, fabric chairs, and an elegant pagoda entrance is topped off by a panoramic view of Victoria Harbour.

Imperial Cuisine is distinctive in that every dish created has a story behind it. It was said that hoping to gain favour with the emperor, the Imperial Chefs would imbue each concocted dish with florid stories. We admit that is not a bad way to dine with pleasure.

Our first dish, a starter, was Crispy Rice Paper Roll, Scallop, Water Chestnuts, Black Fungus, Lobster Bouillo ($168 per person), a light, refreshing and delicately prepared paper roll. Next was Huang Kui and Xue Mei – Sautéed Shrimp, Spicy Sweet and Sour Sauce with Deep- fried Lamb Dumpling ($418). The dish tells of the story of Huang Kui, a boy, and Xue Mei, a girl, who


were pre-arranged to be married, only for Xue Mei’s parents to change their minds when young Huang Kui was impoverished on the death of his parents. When Huang Kui went to take the royal examination in the capital, Xue Mei, deeply in love with Huang Kui, disguised herself as a man to accompany him to the examination, and revealed her identity only when he won the top recognition. They got married and the chef crafted a new dish at their wedding banquet to celebrate their romance and perseverance.

Another dish with historical meaning is The Return of the Jade Phoenix – Wok-fried Duck Fillet, Pea Crust, Red Cherry ($308), originally created by the imperial chefs to celebrate the return to the capital of Empress Dowager Cixi, who fled to Xian during the Battle of Beijing in 1900 – duck being one of her favourite foods. Chef’s Ng new creation combines juicy stir-fried duck breast and legs with a mashed bean paste, topped with cherries.

Others imperial dishes with meaningful names and presentation include Crispy Fried Spicy Squid, Spring Onion, Spinach Sauce ($298), in which the squid is carved to shape like a playful fish. Another is Pan-fried Minced Berkshire Pork in Eggplant ($238) in which the name of the dish conjures up the image of a Chinese lantern.

Our desserts to wrap up the dinner were Glutinous Rice Roll, Red Bean Paste ($58) and Beijing Sweet Peas Pudding ($48), which filled us up nicely.

The special Imperial Cuisine runs through mid- July. Regardless of whether you opt for imperial dishes or other excellent food, China Tang is well worth a visit.■



Shop 4101, Level 4, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, Kowloon 

2157 3148


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