Hakkasan Restaurant » Chinese cuisine http://hakkasan.com Hakkasan Restaurant serves Michelin Star awarded Cantonese Cuisine Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:35:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 The history of tea http://hakkasan.com/blog/the-history-of-tea/ http://hakkasan.com/blog/the-history-of-tea/#comments Mon, 11 Apr 2016 17:32:51 +0000 http://hakkasan.com/?p=8076 Tea plays an integral role in Chinese society, and has done for thousands of years. It is believed that China introduced the rest of the world to tea via the renowned Silk Road trade route that connected the huge country to Russia and the Middle East (and from there to Europe). In fact, its production […]

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Tea plays an integral role in Chinese society, and has done for thousands of years.

It is believed that China introduced the rest of the world to tea via the renowned Silk Road trade route that connected the huge country to Russia and the Middle East (and from there to Europe). In fact, its production has been prominent in driving economic development, such is its financial worth and global popularity.

Additionally, tea drinkers were traditionally seen as the academics and cultural elites of society (although tea consumption is now a practice enjoyed by all), and it is still regarded as hugely important medicinally, with many positive health benefits.

The discovery of tea some 5,000 years ago is often attributed to Emperor Shennong, whose name means the Divine Farmer, and who is considered the ancient Chinese Father of Agriculture.

According to Chinese legend, Emperor Shennong and his court decided to take a rest under a Camellia sinensis plant, a plant native to the Asian continent, to enjoy some boiled water. It is said that dried leaves from the Camellia drifted into the boiling water creating an aromatic infusion that intrigued the emperor so much so that he took a sip, therein marking the first ever discovery of the beverage that would become the most popular in the world, second only to water.

During the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) dynasties, tea was primarily used for its medicinal qualities. There was much exploration and study into the health benefits of tea. Indeed, the first references to these health effects were recorded by Emperor Shennong himself in The Divine Farmers Herb-Root Classic that tea infusions were useful for treating a variety of disease conditions. Its high price meant that most people were unable to afford it, and it was most often given as gifts to aristocracy or tributes to the emperor.

In the 700s, Lu Yu, an orphan who was raised by scholarly Zen monks, wrote the first definitive book about tea. He spent his life according to the Confucian tradition, pursuing poetry and literary classics. His book on tea gained the emperor’s patronage, and other Buddhist monks carried his tea service style to Japan where it evolved into the Japanese art form that is still performed today.

It was in the Song Dynasty that tea evolved from a medicinal plant to an everyday beverage. Whipped powdered tea prepared from tea cakes made from compressed tea powder became fashionable during this time, but disappeared completely from Chinese culture after the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), along with many other aspects of the previous dynasty. The act of drinking steeped tea from leaves became popular, and it is how people continue to drink it today.

Hakkasan Abu Dhabi, Hakkasan Dubai and Hakkasan Shanghai launch Afternoon Tea, a unique perspective on traditional afternoon tea with classic desserts and dim sum accompanied by Chinese tea and Champagne.

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Seasonality in Chinese cuisine http://hakkasan.com/blog/seasonality-in-chinese-cuisine/ http://hakkasan.com/blog/seasonality-in-chinese-cuisine/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 15:44:17 +0000 http://hakkasan.com/?p=4190 Chinese cuisine is as diverse as its many regions and inhabitants. Traditional northern Chinese food is glutinous and meat-heavy, with an emphasis on dumplings, either steamed or deep fried in hot oil, and sticky-sweet braised braised pork belly or shoulder. Szechuan cuisine is famous for the tingling, numbing heat of Szechuan pepper, while Guangdong is […]

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Chinese cuisine is as diverse as its many regions and inhabitants. Traditional northern Chinese food is glutinous and meat-heavy, with an emphasis on dumplings, either steamed or deep fried in hot oil, and sticky-sweet braised braised pork belly or shoulder. Szechuan cuisine is famous for the tingling, numbing heat of Szechuan pepper, while Guangdong is known for its dim sum and Beijing for its Peking duck. A multitude of skills and techniques are utilised, from searing hot wok frying at exact temperatures to slower, gentler methods of roasting and poaching.

Chinese cuisine also reflects the changing seasons. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are specific ingredients and flavours that should be eaten each season to counteract the changing weather. This relates in some way to the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin yang, suggesting that the complementary forces in the world need to be balanced to maintain harmony. This theory extends to seasonal ingredients and methods of cooking: natural harmony is achieved by eating or drinking foods that are similar in nature to the environment.

Derived from the yin and yang philosophy, many foods are described as hot or cold (or somewhere in between). This is used to describe the ‘energies’ of the food and drink rather than their specific temperatures, and it is a concept used widely in China.

Spring

Spring is the season of new birth and growth. It is important during this time to eat cool and sweet foods as opposed to the warming foods of winter, such as spinach, celery, onions, lettuce, mustard leaf, wheat, dates, peanuts, coriander, bamboo shoots and mushrooms.

Summer 

In summer, plants grow fast and people act more energetically. The Chinese suggest eating ‘yin’ or cooling foods during these months. However, if the temperatures climb, it is recommended that cold foods are consumed, such as bitter gourd, watermelon, peach, strawberries, tomatoes, mung beans, cucumber, pumpkin, ginger, lotus root, lotus seeds, wax gourds and Job’s tears.

Autumn

In the autumn, trees start to shed their leaves and fruits mature. During these months, the Chinese cook with neutral and sour foods, such as sesame, honey, pineapple, pear, loquat fruit, sugar cane, banana and white fungus.

Winter

Living things start to slow down to save energy during winter. Some animals hibernate, while humans conserve energy and concentrate on building strength. Warming or ‘yang’ foods that are high in starch and calories should be eaten during this time, such as red meat and dark coloured foods to restore chi. Mutton, goose, duck, Chinese yam, glutinous rice, dates, eggs, longan fletch, black fungus, leeks and nuts are all warm foods that are eaten to stave off the cold in winter.

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The unique Chinese Islamic cuisine http://hakkasan.com/blog/the-unique-chinese-islamic-cuisine/ http://hakkasan.com/blog/the-unique-chinese-islamic-cuisine/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 11:03:38 +0000 http://hakkasan.com/?p=8262 Food, and the preparation of it, is something that enables people to come together and speak a universal language. Eating is an essential part of human existence, and it is a comforting, simple and enjoyable thing to do. Food acts as a way of saying thanks, of celebrating, and of paying respects. Moreover, it represents […]

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Food, and the preparation of it, is something that enables people to come together and speak a universal language.

Eating is an essential part of human existence, and it is a comforting, simple and enjoyable thing to do. Food acts as a way of saying thanks, of celebrating, and of paying respects. Moreover, it represents different cultures and helps strengthen cultural ties.

China owes much of its exciting and diverse cuisine to its varied inhabitants. While Cantonese is arguably the most widely recognised regional cuisine, there are many other styles that make up the Chinese repertoire.

Chinese Islamic cuisine, also known as “huizu cai”, is the unique cuisine of the Hui people. The religion of Islam was introduced in China around the Tang Dynasty (651AD) by Arab traders, and as the religion thrived throughout the country, so did the cuisine.

The cuisine is heavily influenced by the food of Beijing, with nearly all cooking methods identical, and it differs only due to religious restrictions, such as the omission of pork.

Traditionally, there is a distinction between northern and southern Chinese Islamic cuisine: the former is meat-heavy, relying on beef and mutton, while the latter is lighter, relying on duck, geese and seafood. This is due to geography and subsequent availability of ingredients: while ducks, geese and seafood are relatively rare in the arid climate of northern China, beef is easily purchased and transported from nearby countries.

Huizu cai blends the flavours of the Middle East with authentic Chinese dishes: hand pulled noodles called lamian (“la” means to pull or stretch, while “mian” means noodles) are served in meaty stocks of beef or mutton with a tomato-based sauce, a slick of chilli oil and a flourish of coriander leaves; chuan, or meat kebabs, are flavoured with cumin and dried chilli flakes and roasted over charcoal.

Food is often at the heart of celebrations. For Muslims around the globe, Ramadan is a time of reflection and fasting. During Ramadan, two main meals are served: the suhoor, served before dawn and often consisting of heavy and hearty foods to last throughout the day; and the iftar, which is served after sunset.

The act of fasting is intended to be humbling and increase moral discipline as well as serve as a reminder of those less fortunate. At the end of the month, Muslims celebrate the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast, called Eid al-Fitr.

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