Shao is celebrating the Year of the Monkey with a classic and beautifully crafted menu, serving authentic Chinese New Year delicacies symbolizing the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar and longevity, happiness and fortune in the year to come. A few of us were invited to Park Plaza for a preview of this menu tasting, in association with Burrp. For the Chinese, this time of the year is for the family to get together, sit around a table, share stories, and enjoy a large meal. Typically, and as per tradition, the meal would have Chinese dumplings, spring rolls, Longevity Noodles and fish among other things. So crafting a menu for this intricate celebration wasn’t easy, but the culinary team at Shao has put together this fine and elaborate offering.
We started with the Lung Fung Soup – a thick chicken and prawns mince soup, with mushrooms, lemon and vegetables. It was a delicious start to the experience, with steamed buns served on the side. The gyozas came next, in two variants vegetarian and sea food. These were pan seared dumplings stuffed with shitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, Chinese cabbage and tofu. The non vegetarian equivalent was luxuriously stuffed with scallops and tiger prawns. As is the case with gyozas, the dough around was really thin, served with a spicy sauce, this was really lovely. I love dim sums, so gorged on them instantly! The banana leaf wrapped chicken that came next was a fusion of sorts, the steamed and lemon grass spiced chicken cooked perfectly, the meat made ever so crisp.
The main course started after this, and that was a feast in itself! The braised shredded lamb with cha choy with steamed jasmine rice is just the best pair ever. The semi gravy lamb, with soft succulent shred pieces had the right texture and the perfect taste. The prawn mandarin that came next wasn’t quite as spectacular, but with tiger prawns on the plate, you rarely need to do more. The shredded shitake with crispy asparagus was another curious dish that I loved. This was served with braised soba noodles with Chinese cabbage and mushrooms. These buckwheat noodles are also called long noodles, and consumed traditionally during the new year to symbolize longevity, or long life.
The surprise of the meal was definitely the fish. Typically only a whole fish is served, and the head of the fish should be placed toward the elder guest, a sign of respect. The elder would cut the fish, eat it, and then share with the rest on the table. While this was more to do with the actual tradition of the Chinese New Year, we thoroughly enjoyed the fish! To end this wonderful and long meal, we were served fruit roll with date and almond ice cream topped with lychee and praline. As I always say, I am not a dessert person, and let’s face it, this meal was a tough act to follow. But the almond ice cream with a piece of lychee is quite a piece of heaven!
They have this wonderful promotion starting 5th February. A lot of curious details, and imbibed culture shown through this celebration at Shao. Would recommend a visit to experience Szechuan, Cantonese and Hunan style of cooking and get a small glimpse of the Chinese Way of Life.
Gong Xi Fa Cai – Chinese New Year- Year of the Monkey at Shao. For reservations contact: +91 80 6707 6909 or +91 8884400175