Tasty Treat of a Star

Tiger prawn dumpling (middle), beef tenderloin puff with black pepper sauce (upper right) and deep-fried dumpling with bacon, mushroom and black truffle stuffing (left)

Indulgence hardly kills anyone, especially ones who literally live for stellar foods. Good news is, from today until August 12th, you can enjoy the exquisite Michelin-starred Cantonese meal prepared by Executive Chef Lee Man Sing – the man behind the recent one Michelin star at the legendary Man Wah restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. Chef Lee is now in Bangkok, cooking up his signature, award-winning, palate-pleasing dishes to guests at the China House, Mandarin Oriental.

Stir-fried lobster, egg white and scallop mousse

Set in a restored two storey colonial building, the China House always transports guests back into the opulent era of 1930s’ Shanghai Art Decor. The China House’s dark wood and muted lighting backdrop contrasts with brushes of bright, glowing hues dribbled in the time’s stylish graphic paintings, spaced-out giant translucent paper lanterns and table-top vases filled with rayon red Gerbera daisies. Usually, this place is already famous for their scrumptious dim sum and Cantonese selections, but Chef Lee’s presence means we get to eat something even more extraordinaire – something you might want to take advantage of only when he is there.

U.S. pork neck, Kuei Hua flavoured pear, Chin Kiang vinegar

Chef’s Lee’s specials are available in both set lunch and a la carte dinner. The two choices of 7-course set lunch (Bt1,688-1,788++ person) feature all his famous, award-winning and much-raved-for dishes exclusively available in Hong Kong including our first course of Chef’s Lee’s famous dim sum creations –  steamed rice tiger prawn dumpling, beef tenderloin puff with black pepper sauce and deep-fried glutinous rice dumpling with bacon, mushroom and black truffle.

The tiger prawn was super fresh, succulent and naturally sweet while the paper-light beef puff, made from hand kneaded puff pastry layered into the meticulous 96 layers, was so crispy and delicate it needed gentle handling or it crumbled right at the finger touch. I particularly liked the adorable piglet glutinous rice dumpling which was filled with the hog’s specialty of distinctly woody black truffle-infused bacon and mushroom filling.

Steamed garoupa fillet, crispy ginger, crabmeat and egg white

The second course was the stir-fried lobster (again, excellently fresh), perfectly poached egg white (smooth and mildly fragrant) and delicately formed scallop mousse (tender and sweet) represents the chef’s highly-trained cooking methodologies and stellar presentation. The third course of the beautifully arranged fish painting was the crunchy U.S. pork neck (deep-fried and glistening with sweet and herbal aromatic sauce) gave a sensationally tasty combination with the pear soaked in the special Kuei Hua blossoms (an type of aromatic Chinese blossoms usually planted near fish pond, with wilting ones dropping down into the pond, becoming the natural delicacies for the lucky fish) and the very special Chin Kiang black rice vinegar. Hailing from the province of Guangdong in southern China, Chef Lee explains that Chinese people use vinegar in almost everything they eat, and yet the Chin Kiang brand is the best of all.

Australian Wagyu M7 tenderloin, black pepper sauce

I particularly liked the simple-looking steamed garoupa fillet dish. It was such a comforting food with excellent natural tastes of the selected ingredients. The thick fish fillet was firm, and juicy and sweet and the chef puts nothing to hide the fish’s wonderful natural taste. He just complimented it with a clear sauce of egg white, crab meats and accentuated everything with the salty and aromatic shredded conpoy (dried scallop – another Cantonese specialty). This dish was simply sublime – loved it, loved it :))

Then, we came to the final savoury dish of Australian wagyu M7 (marbling grade 7, quite high) in black pepper sauce. The beef, cut into small cubes, was so tender and fragrant with its natural essence and the black pepper sauce while the paired stir-fried mixed mushroom provided the needed fresh tasty crunches. I guess this is how a modern Chinese chef works, combining the best global ingredients into his hometown specialties. We have a boundless world now, and it is right here on the dish!

Egg tart and chilled mango cream with sago and pomelo

Then, there’s a sweet finale of super flaky and rich and so delicious egg tart served warmed right out of the oven. Like most sweets in Hong Kong, the tart was not as sweet (as many Thai sweets), it was aromatic and richly flaky with the killer puff pastry. Last but not least was a Hong Kong’s famous sweet delicacy – the chilled mango cream with sago and pomelo – that was so refreshing and fulfilling that made me, for an instant, had no hard time imagining myself being right there at Man Wah, only without the magnificent view of Victoria Harbour to match. 🙂

The China House, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is open for lunch and dinner, T: 02-659-9000. Chef Lee will be here until August 12th. More pictures, including the slightly blurry picture of Kuei Hua blossoms and behind-the-scene collagen-pumping dish, can be found here, too.

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