Enjoying Creative Dining Highlights of Chef Menex 张嘉裕主厨 at Shang Palace 香宫 Shangri-La Huhhot 呼和浩特香格里拉大酒店11 September, 2013
One of the concerns we had for our trip to Inner Mongolia was food – this region is well known for its lamb and beef dishes – the Mongolian way these dishes are cooked might result in a taste that might be too heavy to us “重口味”. So we were pleasantly surprised with our dining experience at Shangri-la Huhhot 呼和浩特香格里拉大酒店 Shang Palace 香宫 where despite being well-known for its delicious Mongolian fare, there is also a wide selection of Cantonese cuisine and interestingly a whole range of “fusion” dishes that we have never tried before in any other Chinese restaurants around the world.
Similar to other Shang Palace at other Shangri-las around the world, Shangri-la Huhhot Shang Palace is also characterized by refined elegance and stylish décor and offers guests a high quality dining experience supported by a talented culinary team.
Shangri-la Huhhot Shang Palace is helmed by Executive Chef, Menex Cheung from Hong Kong. In his pursuit of excellence, Chef Cheung indulges in exploring and creating modern dishes. He will try out different dishes around the world and seek out interesting recipes online and using his imagination, he will then combine all these ideas into a new dish for Shang Palace. His readings are not limited to cookbooks but even comic books where he could draw inspiration to develop visual effects for his new dishes.
He has received many international awards, including Champion of the California Strawberry Recipe Contest in the Modern Chinese Cuisine Challenge and Hong Kong International Culinary Classic. If you can read Mandarin, this list below is the prizes which he had won in Hong Kong and USA throughout his career as a chef.
2005全港青年厨师中餐烹饪比赛 (煲仔菜组) – 优异奖
2005加州士多啤梨美食创意大赛 (现代中式热盘烹调组) – 亚军
2006全港青年厨师中餐烹饪比赛 (虾蟹组) – 金奖
2007加州士多啤梨美食创意大赛 (现代中式热盘烹调组) – 冠军
2007香港国际美食大赛 (中式热盘大虾组) – 金奖
2011香港国际美食大赛 (中式热盘牛肉组) – 银奖
2011香港国际美食大赛 (中式创意前菜组) – 金奖
One of Chef Menex’s signature dish is the Rice Crispies Sizzled in Tomato Seafood Soup (RMB 108) “海鲜霹雳泡饭” which is Crispy Thai rice cooked in lobster-based soup. Most of his signature dishes have a form a visual effect when served – for the Rice Crispies Sizzled in Tomato Seafood Soup – it is called Pi – Li – Pa – La rice informally because of the way it is served – the crispy rice (served separately from the soup) is poured into the hot soup where it will then sizzle and crackle due to the temperature difference, creating the sound “Pi-Li-Pa-La”. Not only did it look good, it also tasted great and even quite addictive!
This is another new dish by Chef Menex – I couldn’t find it in the menu but it is fried fish fillet served in a milky cream sauce on a hot casserole/claypot. The fish is surprisingly fresh considering that Inner Mongolia landlocked – our main concern with eating fish in China is the numerous small and big bones within the dish (typical of river fishes) but this fried fish fillet dish is not like that at all – no bones and fresh! The cream sauce complements the fish taste very well and the best part of it all is this dish was kept warm throughout our dinner due to the warm claypot.
I am a bit skeptical of trying lamb dishes in Inner Mongolia due to the reasons mentioned above but the Deep Fried Crispy Lamb Loin with Cumin (RMB 88) at Shang Palace – Grass-fed lamb from Inner Mongolia seasoned with special spices – is a good introduction to lamb dishes in Huhhot without being exposed to the 重口味 I expected. What makes this dish very unique is the crispy popiah skin that wrapped the lamb meat within – the feel is a bit like eating our typical zi char cereal prawn – crispy and tasty.
There are many other traditional Chinese dishes on offer at Shangri-la Shang Palace. However, I suggest that you skip the menu and just ask for chef’s recommendations based on your dietary preferences or restrictions. If it was up to you to select from the menu, you will likely go with the traditional fried rice, dim sum dishes but when left to Chef Menex, you will be in for a pleasant surprise!
Case in point – the Pi-La-Pa-La rice as described above as well as this yummy dish – Stewed Pork Sparerib with Wuxi Sweet Sauce (RMB 78).
One of our dessert dish is Fried ice-cream served in yoghurt – another new creation from Chef Menex; not in the current Shang Palace menu yet but you can request for it. I am not a big fan of yoghurt but I couldn’t even taste the sourness typically associated with yoghurt in this dish! That’s because the dish is so well designed that the sweetness of the vanilla ice-cream underneath the crispy layer will melt into the dish with the yoghurt thus neutralising the taste yet bringing about the sweetness of ice-cream! Very clever approach of designing the dish.
The Tea-flavored Jelly Chilled with Bird’s Nest (RMB 68) is a premium refreshing and lightly sweetened dessert. The tea is longjing tea (a variant of green tea that is famous in Hangzhou). At Shangri-la Huhhot Shang Palace, drinking longjing tea after a sumptuous meal is too mainstream – you get to eat the agar agar jelly version of longjing tea instead! And Shang Palace even shares the recipe for this dessert!
You will need the following ingredients:
- 25g Longjing tea
- 700g crystal sugar
- 3kg boiling water
- 75g gelatine powder
To prepare this dessert, follow the following instructions:
1.Soak Longjing tea leaves with hot water. Do not make the tea too concentrated. Add crystal sugar into the hot tea with an amount of your favorable sweetness.
2.Ensure the crystal sugar is well dissolved. Leave the sweetened tea to cool naturally. Then, add in gelatine powder. Mix it well. Put the mixed liquid into the fridge to solidify. Once firm, cut into cubes.
3.Add in the prepared bird’s nest and it is ready to serve.
Operating Hours for Shangri-la Huhhot Shang Palace
11.30am – 2.30pm
5.30pm – 10pm
电话： （86 471） 336 6888转6311
传真： （86 471） 332 8881