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Cantonese delicacies to delight

THE quality of Cantonese food in Shanghai has really taken a leap forward in recent times, led mainly by the Chinese restaurants in hotels.

Three hotels with well-established Cantonese restaurants are the Novotel Shanghai Atlantis, The Eton Hotel Shanghai and the Sheraton Shanghai Hotel & Residences Pudong.

The Novotel's Golden Shark Chinese Restaurant has recently reopened after extensive renovations.

The popular restaurant now covers more than 1,000 square meters, including 12 deluxe private dining rooms. It can seat more than 260 people.

It serves a range of food from across China, including several Cantonese-style delicacies.

Executive chef Tommy Chen brings 16 years of experience to the kitchen and along with top-quality favorites such as shark's fin, abalone, bird's nest and sea cucumber. He also brings a modern appreciation to a range of famous cuisines from Shanghai and Sichuan Province.

Specialty Cantonese dishes include deep-fried soft-shell crabs and scallops with fresh green beans.

At China Court, the Chinese restaurant in Sheraton Shanghai Hotel & Residences Pudong, executive chef Li Wai Kit prepares a variety of traditional Cantonese dishes as well as some northern Chinese favorites.

Li is originally from Hong Kong and has more than 37 years' experience across Asia and North America.

His traditional Cantonese dim sum lunch is a favorite, with over 70 choices, all at half price.

The dim sum lunch deal is available all week and is complemented by three good value set meals offering a great way to try his wide array of dishes.

Set meals are for a minimum of two people and start from 48 yuan (US$4.42) per person, with a 138-yuan and 168-yuan deal as well.

The sets offer a generous selection: The 48-yuan meal features soup of the day, roasted pigeon and steamed rice served with assorted mushrooms in abalone sauce.

The a la carte menu offers a big selection of dishes, and Li's specialties include braised sea cucumber with crab roe and pan-fried king prawns in sweet and sour sauce.

In his culinary travels, Li spent time cooking in Beijing's hotels and takes pride in his northern Chinese dishes. He is accomplished in preparing Peking roast duck and serves six dishes a day.

He is also an expert at hand-made noodles and his northern-style Chinese noodle soup with shredded duck and preserved vegetables is a must-try for fans of rustic, hearty dishes.

Li uses the freshest natural ingredients to produce healthy, classic Chinese dishes.

"Master chef Li Wai Kit creates authentic dishes of the highest quality and presentation that are both healthy, with no MSG, and full of originality," says Alex Siju, director of food and beverage at Sheraton Shanghai Hotel & Residences Pudong.

The Eton Hotel Shanghai's fifth-floor Yu Ting Cantonese Restaurant has gained a reputation for light and healthy cuisine that keeps faith with the traditional recipes of authentic Honk Kong-style food.

Chef Lee Kwok Sam says he uses only the freshest seasonal ingredients and recommends his roasted pigeon and mini steamed and stuffed whole winter melon.

Having spent more than 30 years cooking Cantonese food, Lee has created a menu that is a mix of classic dishes and his own innovations.

Drawing from culinary influences picked up from working in Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan, Lee has created dishes to showcase the best of local seasonal ingredients.

One of his creations is the Hundred Flowers of Delight, in which the dish is arranged like the petals of flowers around a shrimp centerpiece. The dish is a good example of the attention to detail and fine presentation which is a signature of Lee's cooking style.

He also creates special menus that can be tailored for banquets or special events, and Yu Ting has a number of deluxe private dining rooms.

Signature dishes include his braised shark's fin soup with caviar, prawn salad with sesame and delicately steamed bean curd with eggplant complemented by the bold flavors of Yunnan ham and garlic.

Yu Ting offers an extensive selection of hand-crafted Cantonese desserts, including a chilled coconut pudding with papaya and a Taiwan-style mango panna cotta.


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