Jun 15, 2021 • 44M

XO Soused - constructing a menu for a Chinese restaurant

Andrew Wong and Mukta Das
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A fortnightly chat about techniques and dishes from a professional Chinese kitchen, their history and their cultural setting
Episode details

Chinese restaurants in the UK (and in other places) often offer a hundred or more dishes on their menu. What is the reason for this? Why does Andrew’s restaurant, A. Wong, offer 70 items every day and what has he had to negotiate to get to this number?How is the professional Chinese kitchen and its arrangements of stations, and the construction of meals in the dining space, geared to offering this variety compared to a western restaurant of similar size?

How has Chinese banquet culture defined the length of composition of Chinese restaurant menu? What is the legacy and impact on restaurant menus of the ingenuity and open-mindedness of past dim sum chefs and their ability to create hundreds of different dim sum? And how do Chinese chefs negotiate this and find space to create signature dishes?

An image of a laminated menu of a Hong Kong Tea restaurant which also doubles as a placemat
A menu of the Hong Xing Tea Restaurant on Pok Fu Lam Road, Hong Kong. Anthropologist Selina Chan has written about the place of tea restaurants within Hong Kong identity. The menu of nearly 150 items reflects a post-colonial modernity that combines “flexibility, efficiency, choice, and diversity” (Chan. S. 2018. “Tea cafés and the Hong Kong Identity: Food culture and hybridity” in China Information, 33(3). 311-328

XO Soused is now a fortnightly audio newsletter.

Intro and outro music: 遊子 [wanderer] by mafmadmaf.com

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