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July 7, 2011

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Celebrating delights from the seas

SUMMER arrives. Oceans in the Northern Hemisphere are warming and it's spawning season for fish, crab, lobster and other creatures. They become fatty and soft in spawning season, making this a perfect time for seafood.

Most seafood is high in protein and low in calorie; some cold-water fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for cardiovascular health. Fish are rich in vitamin D as well as antioxidant vitamins A, C and E.

Every Friday and Saturday the Longemont Shanghai offers a seafood buffet where food lovers can eat their fill.

The O2on2-All Day Dining Restaurant introduces new choices to its lavish international buffet, from live shrimp and oysters to sea crabs. The regular selection of hot and cold dishes, noodles and desserts is available.

Freshness, of course, is essential.

Every morning around 7:30am, Wolfgang K. Uebler, executive chef of The Longemont, goes to the receiving department, checking the quality of all seafood to ensure everything going to the kitchen is fresh.

All seafood is packed on ice and covered with damp towels, since it must be kept cold and moist. Around 16 types of seafood at The Longemont are imported from Norway, France, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam - all with different climates favoring different species.

"Seafood growing in areas with different temperatures and at different depths can be totally different," says Uebler. "For example, I choose salmon from Norway because the low temperature there gives the fish firm texture and natural sweetness."

All domestic ingredients, including shellfish and shrimp are delivered daily, while some food, such as salmon and tuna, is imported three times a week.

Different cooking methods develop different flavors in the same ingredients. The lobster at O2on2 is cooked two ways, braised in cream and poached with home-made broth.

Braising enhances the natural flavor of the lobster, which is sweet and mild, and develops a creamy nutty flavor. The poaching - using vegetables, cloves, white wine and a little butter - gives the lobster a firm texture and refreshing light favor.

"For high-quality seafood, the cooking method is flexible. Guests can select their seafood and ask our chef to cook it in the way they like," Uebler says.

Uebler has 35 years of experience in hotels and restaurants around the world and knows the food preferences of the East and West. He says Asian customers, especially from China and Japan, prefer tender texture and flavor.

Hence, steaming or making into sashimi is a favorite in Japan. Westerners prefer firm texture and many ask that their seafood be grilled.

"I am looking forward to dialog with diners so that I can improve the recipe based on their comments," the chef says.

The oyster from O2on2 is a must-try. Before serving, the chef opens the shell in front of the diners to demonstrate that the oyster is alive. Squeeze some lemon on the top, pick up the shell and suck in one bite. It's like kissing the sea.

The oyster flesh is cold and creamy and mixes with brine inside the shell - it slips into the mouth and down the throat and leaves a sweet aftertaste. We recommend pairing the oyster with the light and crispy Premiere Sauvignon Blanc AOC on the wine list.

One of Longemont's star dishes is pan-fried red snapper on spinach, deep-fried leeks and almond-butter sauce.

The fish skin tastes crispy while the meat is tender, creamy. The almond sauce, when served with the meat together, has rich flavor and smooth feel. Leeks after being fried become crispy and fragrant.

Seafood indulgence at The Longemont costs 228 yuan (US$34.54) per person, with a 15-percent surcharge.

O2on2 All Day Dining Restaurant

Address: 2/F, 1116 Yan'an Rd W.

Tel: 6115-9988 ext 8220


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