WITH their emphasis on fresh ingredients and light flavors, Chaozhou cuisine originates in the Chaoshan coastal region in southeastern Guangdong Province. It’s a major school of Guangdong cooking, influenced by Cantonese techniques and style and by the richly flavored fare of its northeastern neighbor, Fujian Province.
Being popular among people for its fresh seafood and vegetables and light, natural flavors, it is also healthy since it’s made with minimal oil. The newly-opened Jade House in Xintiandi area is offering all your wants from noon to late night.
Covering an area of 608 square meters, this 180-seat restaurant has three private rooms and 40 seats outdoor. With a large dinning hall and high ceiling, the inner decor features gold and red colors with hanging dragon and lion sculptures, fully fitting with Chinese taste.
Chaozhou cuisine is delicate and has a natural, light, sweet fragrance. It’s prepared without much oil, and dishes tend to be poached, steamed, simmered, braised and stir-fried. The must-tries are the goose liver, goose head and pig feet in restaurant’s homemade braised sauce made from more than 20 spices.
The braised goose liver is soft and braised to the right texture, it is the Chaozhou version of foie gras. Don’t forget to dip it in white vinegar and try the special taste.
Braised goose head is popular, baked in sweet, dark sauce and hang dried every 15 minutes to retain its flavor.
Since Chaozhou is a coastal region, seafood and vegetables are featured prominently. The cold flower crab weighed between 600 to 900 grams is put into steamer for 10 to 13 minutes to keep its original flavor, then iced in the fridge for two hours and topped with ginger, scallion and vinegar in oil. The crab is fresh, chewy and sweet.
“Fo Tiao Qiang,” literally “the Buddha jumps over the wall” in Chinese, is a classic Chaozhou shark’s fin soup with other seafood like abalone and sea cucumber. And they seem to have nailed the complex taste of seafood and herbs. Other soups like grouper soup with shashen (root of straight ladybell), pork soup with gingko and bean curds and duck soup with lotus leaves and gourd.
A trademark dish is Teochew porridge or Teochew “muay,” which is more like rice soup than thicker congee.
Among the porridges, the best are prawn-crab porridge, fish and dried orange peel porridge and beef porridge. The porridge is taken from the chef to the table in five seconds, creating a mushy stew, which is flavorful. Porridge is said to help detox the body and, in traditional Chinese medicine, it is said to calm the mind.
Besides, there are also some popular dishes like noodle in fish broth, grouper fish in clay pot and in broth, fried red peppers, beans and lotus roots.
The signature drink made from sugar cane, carrot, water chestnut and couchgrass root is ideal for this summer.