To celebrate the upcoming opening of Shangri-La Hotel, Qufu, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, the managing hotel group of Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei, is showcasing Kong Family cuisine at six selected hotels between January and March 2013. From February 27 to March 5, 2013, a culinary team of seven members will arrive at Shang Palace, found on the sixth floor, bringing the unique cuisine of the Kong Family to town. Three set menus and 25 à la carte items, featuring numerous storytelling dishes, will be available. For reservations, please call (886 2) 2376 3229.
Qufu, located in Shandong Province in mainland China, is the birthplace of the famous Chinese educator and philosopher, Confucius, who is also known as Kongzi (literally “Kong Master” in Mandarin). The city is rich in ancient culture, historical monuments, as well as fine cuisine. Abundant official banquets, ceremonies and royal commemorations brought the Kong family, descendants of Confucius, opportunities for the development of its own style of formal cuisine, which is based on the Shandong regional Lu cuisine with an imperial influence and a touch of Huaiyang cuisine from southern China. The dishes of Kong Family cuisine are prepared with unsparing attention to ingredients, appearance, taste and shape. In one of Confucius’ famous quotes, he said, “Food can never be too good and cooking can never be done too carefully.”
Shang Palace will feature one set menu for tables of six people, priced at NT$12,800 per set, and two set menus for 10 people, with one priced at NT$26,800 and the other at NT$38,800 per set. The à la carte menu includes an assortment of cold and hot dishes, soups and desserts, starting from NT$180 each.
A classic menu item is the “Six Arts” Cold Appetizers Platter (spiced beef shanks, jelly fish salad, spiced duck tongue, sea whelk jelly salad, scallop skirt and lettuce salad, and baby celery with sesame and olive oil). Each appetizer represents a category in the “Six Arts,” which Confucius advocated at the time; the arts are Rites, Music, Archery, Chariot Racing, Calligraphy and Mathematics.
Kong Mansion’s Eight Seafood Treasures in Superior Broth, Lu Wall’s Hidden Collection (prawn roll wrapped in crispy vermicelli), the Three Ingredients Soup (soup cooked with chicken, duck and pig trotters), and Kong Family’s Special Four Treasures (braised chicken, braised fish, braised pork and meal roll of minced chicken breast and prawns wrapped with seaweed) are also signature dishes found in Kong Family cuisine.
Many dishes commemorate Confucius and impart stories related to him. One example is called Wisdom Frees Perplexity (braised pork ribs stuffed with spring onion stalk). Legend has it that the dish was created during Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s era of the burning of the books and live burial of scholars. It was said that in order to preserve the Kong family line, a minister named Zhang Ge exchanged his own son for the life of a Kong family male descendent. In the process, this dish was created to pass on secret information. Mirroring the concept of the story, pork rib bones are removed and replaced with the stalk of a scallion. The meat is deep-fried and finished with a rich sauce.
The Kirin Imperial Book dish (deep-fried snapper with crispy skin) tells another tale. Rumor has it that just before the birth of Confucius, one Kirin – a mythical Chinese creature believed to bring good omen and that looks like a unicorn with scales – made its appearance in the neighborhood of the Kong family with a jade stone in its mouth. On the jade was written, “From a defeated kingdom rose a new emperor – a spiritual leader.” The fish, marinated in Chinese wine, is deep-fried with scales until golden brown, which resembles the skin of a Kirin.
Leading the team from Shangri-La Hotel, Qufu is Executive Chef Ng Kok-Leong, a member of the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts family since 2010, and Banquet Sous Chef Washington Lin. Two of the senior chefs – Chef Perry Kong and Chef Sam Liu – are from Qufu; the other culinary member is Sous Chef Frank Chen of Shang Palace at Shangri-La Hotel, Qufu. In addition, two “storytellers” who are also from Qufu will be traveling with the chefs, to help unfold tales related to the dishes. The seven members of the team will be in Taipei throughout the promotional period.
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts will open Shangri-La Hotel, Qufu in early 2013. Located in Qufu’s city center, the 325-room hotel will be the first international property operating in the hometown of famous Chinese philosopher Confucius, who was born in 551 BC. The hotel is within walking distance to the Temple of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion – both listed as UNESCO world heritage sites – and a 20-minute drive to the Qufu high-speed train station.
The quoted prices are subject to 10 per cent service charge. Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei is located at 201 Tun Hwa South Road, Section 2, Taipei.
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