Cantonese classics to enjoy for Mid-Autumn Festival
Chef Wong Chung Wai of Royal China in DIFC will be welcoming Mid-Autumn Festival with a selection of Cantonese classics. Chef Wong is Chinese-Malaysian and has been brought up on Cantonese fare for as long as he can remember. While he’s used to spending the festival at home in Malasyia, where his mother doles out mountains of rice, steamed fish and dumplings, he’ll be spending this year in the kitchen ensuring everything runs smoothly for the restaurant’s inaugural Mid-Autumn Festival celebration. Here’s his pick of the dishes on offer.
Cantonese roast duck Cantonese roast duck differs from the better-known Peking variation because it is marinated overnight (a marinade Chef Wong is reluctant to divulge, though he admits he uses Chinese five spice, sugar and ginger). Some restaurants slow-cook duck for days, though Chef Wong says 45 minutes in a 170˚C oven is enough time to ensure the skin is crispy and the meat juicy. The duck is served with plum and hoisin sauces, sesame paste and pancakes.
Chinese yam A Fujian province speciality, this dish is the most simple of Chef Wong’s selections, as well as being one of the most simple on the menu. After being steamed for around 20 minutes, the yam is peeled and seasoned with salt and Chinese herbs to balance out its naturally sweet taste.
Steamed fish with soy ginger Chef Wong uses hammour as a substitute for sea bass for this dish. The fish is steamed (a 1.5kg fish should be steamed for around 20 minutes) and slathered in ginger, light soy and a dash of sugar.
Black sesame paste in peanut crumbs Soft sesame contrasts with crunchy peanut in this Chinese dessert, which consists of glutinous rice flour, a dash of sugar and ground peanut crumbs. Royal China, open daily 11.30am-3pm, 6.30pm-11.30pm. DIFC, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 354 5543).
Blink and you’ll miss it – Zheng He’s mid-autumn celebrations last just two days, from September 11-12. Chef Tan will be preparing dishes such as a trio of scallops with deep-fried kunafa roll, truffle and pumpkin paste; boneless smoked baby chicken with shallot pickle sauce; stewed Sichuan-style beef, wok braised and tea-smoke infused; and chilled ginger sponge cake with apple sorbet and lime jelly. There will even be a special mooncake for diners to take home with them. How nice. Dhs450-550. September 11-12. Mina A’ Salaam, Madinat Jumeirah, email@example.com (04 366 6730).
More venues for festive eats
China Club: This year’s mid-autumn festival more or less coincides with China Club’s eighth anniversary, and to celebrate, guest Chef Wei is flying in from Beijing to prepare the ‘Spicy China’ menu. Other than culinary creations, Chef Wei makes zany little models too – bizarre, yes, but a lot of fun. There will also be the chance to embark on a real journey to Beijing, with diners’ names entered into a prize draw. Dhs350-500. 7.30pm-11.30pm, September 15-October 14. Radisson Blu, Deira (04 205 7333).
Jade: Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival somewhere new – Jade opens in early September at Deira’s Asiana Hotel and promises traditional and contemporary Chinese dishes. At the time of going to press, the Mid-Autumn Festival promotion was still a work in progress, but there’ll be plenty to tuck into come the full moon. Look out for Time Out’s restaurant review in future issues. Dhs400-500. Open daily 6pm-11pm. Asiana Hotel, Salahuddin Road, Deira (04 238 7777).
Long Yin: Long Yin offers traditional mooncakes, made from lotus-seed paste with a boiled egg in the middle. An acquired taste, but we must admit we’re rather partial to it. Dhs60 each, Dhs160 for a box of six. 7.30pm-11.45pm, September 1-12. Le Méridien Dubai, Garhoud (04 217 0000).
Noble House: Located at the peak of the Raffles pyramid, this high-end Chinese venue offers the perfect setting for moon gazing. The restaurant will be serving a special family-style shared set menu, and there’s an option to enjoy grape pairings from the sommelier. Mooncakes will be given as after-dinner gifts for diners. Dhs388 per person. 7pm-11.30pm, September 12-17. Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha (04 324 8888).