As known to many, Nanhai has a sound reputation as an important birthplace of Lingnan food culture. You might be familiar with the "Three Major Famous Dishes" in Nanhai, namely, drunkard chicken, boneless minced fish and raw fish (醉翁鸡、刮鱼清、捞起鱼生) (hereinafter referred to as "the Three Dishes"). Good news came that national standards will be outlined to allow those unique delicacies from Nanhai.
Cantonese food culture: new industrial standards, new ways of national promotion
On July 26th, hosted by Nanhai Catering Industry Association, an industrial seminar was held at Xiqiao Wangge Fishing Village (旺阁渔村), which brought together some of the top Cantonese chefs to offer wisdom on outlining standards for "the Three Dishes" in Nanhai. With sophisticated cooking skills, these chefs have presented attendants with one of the most original tastes from Nanhai.
Though the dishes were designated, taste made from each cook distincts from one another in a magical way.
For one single dish, chefs would have various preferences iningredients and cooking techniques that lead to refreshingly different tastes. Despite that, one thing will always remain the same - their dedication to Cantonese cuisine. After the dishes were made, they gathered and shared with each other their cooking experience and insights into championing local culinary tradition.
For the dish, drunkard chicken, as many as 5 masters made and delivered their own. Creativities and ideas sparked on the spot. "The chicken now tastes really tender, but if we want it to be more like fermented bean curd, it should be boiled a little bit longer." "Fish makes a perfect match with tangerine peel, but not everyone could accept the combination." "Ive added some pepper and chili, so the chicken tastes fresher."
When it comes to boneless minced fish, all chefs chose dace, but opinions varied in fish species and scraping tool. According to chef from Jiacheng Restaurant (嘉诚酒楼), tile should be the key tool to scrape the fish, as the meat would be more tender. Chef from Nian Nian Shunjing Restaurant (年年顺景) shared that he had a special recipe for the dish -lard dregs, which work well to smoothen the fish ball.
Centered around raw fish, in-depth communications were conducted on fish selection, bloodletting, and meat removal. It was also recommended that each restaurant and guest customizes their own selection and mixing of ingredients.
"A good standard comes from a balance between individuality and commonality, which is recognized by both food experts and the general public."
Cantonese food: an urge to inherit and innovate
Another focus of the seminar was how Cantonese food should be innovated. According to Wu Rongkai, President of Nanhai Catering Industry Association, the mission to innovate the cuisine is pressing and only with that there will be more vitality. These days, younger generations mostly have little clue about Cantonese cuisine. They are hardly attracted by traditional tastes and traditional ways of serving dishes. In addition to formulating standards for traditional Cantonese dishes, the Association will also put high on agenda making standards for those new-style ones.
Nanhai Catering Industry Association stands as the first group in Guangdong to be licensed as National Standard Group Information Platform, which enables itself to formulate international standards in the near future. As planned, the Association will continue its mission to standardize and promote the brand of "Nanhai Cantonese Cuisine".
Author | Jersey
Revisor | Eleanor, Jessica
Photo | Deng Jiaxin, Lin Jingtong, Foshan News Network