Friday, March 22, 2013

Qufu - Kong Family Cuisine, at Shang Palace, Shangri-La Jakarta

Food can never be to good and cooking can never be done too carefully.” Confucius said.

In this beginning year of 2013, Shangri-La hotels & resorts will open a hotel in Qufu, China. In order to celebrate this event, Shangri-La is bringing the  Qufu culinary expedition across Asia with a team of Lu cuisine chefs and service professionals from Shangri-La Hotel, Qufu.

They are bringing Kong family cuisine to six selected Shangri-La hotels which one of them is at Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel Jakarta from 19 to 25 March 2013.

Here below is the brief explanation of Qufu and I also added the stories of Kong’s Family Cuisine that I read from the booklet:

Qufu is a city located south-west of China’s Shandong Province, is the birthplace of Confucious, the famous Chinese educator and philosopher. It is a city rich in ancient culture, historical monuments and fine cuisine. Besides that, Qufu is also well known for Kong Family Cuisine which is based on the Shandong regional Lu cuisine but has an imperial influence and a touch of Huaiyang cuisine from the south of China. Abundant official banquets, ceremonies and royal commemorations brought the Kong family opportunities for the development of its own style of formal cuisine. With the contribution of top-class chefs over the centuries and experimentation with a great variety of Chinese food, the cuisine of the Kong family today stand out as a unique food style. Kong Family Cuisine features interesting and creative presentations and ingredients skillfully combine to express fully the color, aroma, flavor and texture – the four most important elements in the art of Chinese cooking.

The place-mate.

As Confucius advocated the promotion of the Six Arts (Rites, Music, Archery, Chariot Racing, Calligraphy and Mathematics) and all their encompassing skills, this direction also motivated the leaders of the city of Qufu to establish the Confucius Research Society, including the engagement of the best chefs to study the origins of Kong Family Cuisine and the traditional preparation methods used. The aim was to recreate authentic Kong Family Cultural banquets that feature special dishes to be named after the Six Arts.

The Kong Mansion’s “Six Art” Cold Appetizers

Scallops and Lettuce Salad - Rp. 128.000

Jelly Fish Salad - Rp. 128.000
My favorite cold dish.

Spiced Beef Shanks - Rp. 168.000

Baby Celery with Sesame and Olive oil - Rp. 98.000

Spiced Duck Tongues - Rp. 168.000

It tasted pretty unique. The texture is a mix of chewiness and a bit meatiness plus there is also a crunchiness from the soft bone that still attached to the tongue.

Sea Whelk Jelly Salad - Rp. 288.000

It tasted briny with a texture that reminded me to century egg but a bit more firm.

Kong Mansion's Three Ingredients Soup - Rp. 188.000/person
The Three Ingredients soup is a special and unique dish in the Confucious “Kong” family banquet. Confucius food is best known for its well-seasoned soup, and the Confucius Mansion’s Three Ingredients soup is considered the best of the best, as it uses three main ingredients (chicken, duck and pig trotters) and the cooking and simmering processes used to make the soup have to be repeated three times. The Three Ingredients soup represents mastery of the soup-making skills in Confucius cuisine, and those chefs who were not from the Confucius Culinary School would never know the special techniques required.

Such a heavenly tasting soup, very rich and flavorful.

The Kirin Imperial Book - Rp. 198.000/portion
This dish uses originally freshwater bass as the ingredients, and the fish skin is fried into the shape of the skin of the Kirin, a mythical Chinese creature, described in some legends as a rare unicorn with scales and it appeared with the imminent arrival or the passing of a wise sage or an illustrious ruler. Therefore the name for this dish is The Kirin Imperial Book. Chinese legends tell that just before the birth of Confucius, a Kirin made its appearance in the neighborhood of the Kong family.

This fried fish is nice flaky and tasty.

Lu Wall’s Hidden Collection - Rp. 168.000
This dish is designed to have prawns place (or hidden) in a wrapping of thin hand pulled vermicelli, deep-fried to a crispy finish. The prawn was large and succulent, tasted delicious.

In 221 BC, the era of the Emperor Qin Shi Quang, the first emperor of a unified China. It was ordered that books should be burn and scholars buried alive to ensure stability among the common people. Confucius' ninth generation descendent, Kong Fu, was known to have hidden precious book in the wals of the Confucius Family Mansion before disappearing into hiding. In 154BC, when the Emperor Lu Gong expanded the palace, they discovered the sacred book in the walls: The Book of Shang, The Book of Rites, The Analects of Confucius and Xiao - Book of Filial Piety. These ancient Chinese classics were safely preserved.

Wisdom Frees Perplexity  - Rp. 208.000
Braised pork ribs stuffed with spring onion stalk

The legend of this dish, it was created during Emperor Qin Shi Huang's era (259-210BC) of the burning of books and the live burial of scholars. Minister Zhang Ge, for the preservation of the Kong Family line, is said to have exchanged his own son for the life of a Kong family male descendent, and in the process created this dish to pass on secret information. The other side of the secret message said, "If you have a heart of love, then you will have a lifetime of wisdom, bravery and strength of will." This incident was praised and remembered by all of the Kong family for many generations.

Farm-Style Pancakes Served with Four Kinds of Condiments - Rp. 98.000/portion
Home-made thin corn pancake served with spring onion, yellow bean paste, salted fish and egg.

Confucius often taught his students, "If you frequently review knowledge learned from before, you can continuously expand on the same Knowledge, have a better understanding and gain even more." This learning method can also teach us more. In the harvest season, the Confucius Family Mansion uses all kinds of crops from the farm's harvest as fresh ingredients or to make into seasonings and condiments to be eaten with pancakes home-made with coarse cereals. Aside from the gesture of giving thanks for a good harvest, the dish also has the meaning of wishing your own students a good "harvest" of good reward and success from their studies.

The wrapping:

"Xing Tan" Apricot Pavilion Chinese date cake - Rp. 58.000

Interestingly, it tasted so similar like the traditional cake called Putu Bambu.

"Gingko" Petry Rites - Rp. 88.000
This is a dessert style dish from the Kong Family Banquet, made from steamed snow pears, ginkgo nuts and dates. Slightly sweet, very palatable and nutritious. It will reduce phlegm and cleanse toxins and germ from the body.

When Confucius taught his son, Kong Li, about poetry and virtue, he said, "If you do not study poetry, you have no words to speak; if you do not learn courtesy and virtue, you cannot make yourself stand out as a man of dignity." A 53rd generation descendant of Confucius, "Yan Sheng Master" Kong Zhi built the "Poetry Hall" as a memorial hall for Confucius. In front of the hall, he planted two gingo trees, from which the name of ginkgo in this dish originated.

I really appreciate this opportunity to experience Kong's cuisine. It was a totally delightful lunch.

All prices subjected to 21% (Tax and Service Charge)
Current currency: 1 USD = Rp. 9.750

Shang Palace Restaurant
Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta
Kota BNI
Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 1
Central Jakarta
Tel: 2922 9999

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