Colour, texture and taste – Cantonese cuisine reaches its full potential with Chef Tsang’s complex techniques.
What made you want to become a chef in the beginning?
My brother is a chef so by the time I was in high school, I already had the opportunity to work in a professional kitchen. I was so curious about everything, with my passion for great food, I quickly took to this profession. At that time, I had made up my mind to become a great chef.
Why do you think Cantonese cuisine is so unique, and why is it so appreciate worldwide?
I think the essence of Cantonese cuisine is its use of seasonal ingredients. The Chinese also believe in appreciating what the local land produces. Cantonese cuisine is created with sophisticated cooking methods: steam, stir-fry, poach, deep fry, stew, braise, bake… The combination of ingredients is endless. That’s why Cantonese cuisine is appreciated even by the world’s most picky food critics.
Can you recommend some of spring season’s best dishes for our readers?
Here are three dishes I’d suggest:
First, stir-fried sliced giant garoupa stuffed with shrimp paste, which won silver in 2009 “Best of the Best” culinary awards. The shrimp paste is made with fresh crab and shrimp meat, and it is then stuffed inside the fish. I deep-fry the garoupa, and then sautee it with soy sauce. The shrimp head and tail are also deep-fried and served with pepper salt.
The second dish is braised shredded winter melon and mashed carrot, accompanied with broccoli and topped with egg white. Winter melon sticks and beautifully carved carrots are braised in premium chicken stock. The bright coral colour of the carrot and the smoothness of the melon make this dish a simple yet sophisticated one.
The last dish I’d recommend is the stir-fried fresh shrimps with egg white. This dish combines the richest and simplest of flavours, and it has been popular ever since Ming Court’s opening. Shrimp heads deep-fried with pepper salt sit on blankets of egg whites – this is a real family dish because everyone likes it.
As a prominent chef in Hong Kong, what is your biggest challenge in today’s economy?
Well, no matter what the economy is like, my biggest task and challenge is to maintain the highest quality of our dishes, and to gain recognition from our customers. A great restaurant depends on a stable, expert culinary team, premium seasonal produce and ingredients. We also have to listen to our guests, and understand their changing tastes.
What are some of your favourites restaurants in Hong Kong or China?
My heart belongs to Ming Court. Ever since its opening in 2004, I’ve really grown with this restaurant. Every month we offer seasonal delights that wow our guests with the menu’s varied dishes from seafood, vegetables, poultry and meat, etc.