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Posts tagged Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts

Shangri-La’s third property in Shanghai will open in June

Jing An Kerry Centre  | © Shangri-La Hotels & ResortsThe Shangri-La group recently announced to officially open the Jing An Shangri-La on June 29th. Jing An is the name of a district in Puxi (West of Hanpu River), Shanghai. Together with offices and shops the 508 guest rooms will be part of the new Jing An Kerry Centre, which is located near the Shanghai Exhibition Centre. More precisely, the hotel will occupy the top 29 floors of the main tower.

 

The Jing An Shangri-La will come up with some original features: The staff costumes will be designed by Han Feng (韩枫), who regularly creates costumes for international opera productions. Large-scale artworks of Zeng Fanzhi (曾梵志) and Zhou Chunya (周春芽) will furthermore increase the value of the interior design.

 

Besides that, 80 silk laterns will float inside the Summer Palace Restaurant, a Shangri-La brand serving Southeastern Chinese cuisine. Another restaurant called 1515 West will offer a “ranch to table” concept to the guests, with Australian prime beef grilled in an open kitchen. Guests of the Grand Premier Room category will have a 360-degree panoramic view of Shanghai from the Horizon Club Lounge on the 55th floor.

 

The Jing An Shangri-La is the group’s third property in Shanghai, in addition to the Pudong Shangri-La and the Kerry Hotel, Pudong.

 

Pre-opening information on Shangri-La’s website

 

 

Would Confucius dine at the Shangri-La hotel?

At least since the intoxicating book on Fuchsia Dunlop’s culinary travels “Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper” the Western world knows that Confucius was a picky wise man when it came to food:

 

His rice is not excessively refined, and his sliced meat is not cut excessively fine. Rice that has become putrid and sour, fish that has spoiled, and meat that has gone bad, he does not eat. Undercooked foods he does not eat, and foods served at improper times he does not eat. Meat that is improperly carved, he does not eat, and if he does not obtain the proper sauce, he will not eat. (p. 208)

 

Confucius lived in Qufu (曲阜市) at a time when the city was part of the so-called Lu state (魯國, around 1042–249 BC). Imbedded in today’s Shandong province it has been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. People come to see the Temple of Confucius (Kǒng Miào, 孔庙), the Kong Family Mansion (Kǒng Fǔ, 孔府), and to stroll around the woods of the Kong family (Kǒng Lín, 孔林), which is in fact a cemetery where also Confucius is buried.

 

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Very near the Temple of Confucius there is a new Shangri-La hotel scheduled to open soon. Its cuisine will partly revive the tradition of the Kong family (Confucius’ original name Kǒng Qiu, 孔丘). Before the kitchen personnel would start to cut loose there, they already got their knives out in several other Shangri-La hotels in South East Asia. In January they kicked off their road show in Qingdao, which was followed by Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taipei. From March 9th they will stop by in Bangkok (until March 15th) and in Jakarta (March 19th to 25th). These kind of tiny pop-up-festivals will in each case take place at the hotel’s Shang Palaces, the Cantonese restaurant brand of the Hong Kong based hotel chain.

 

I know that from a journalistic point of view it seems a bit awkward to cite a press release longer than, let’s say, three lines. However, I found this release from the Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in Taipei highly interesting to read, so here it comes in bulk:

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.
In total there are 25 à la carte dishes and three set menus on offer. The culinary team consists of Executive Chef Ng Kok-Leong, Banquet Sous Chef Washington Lin, the two senior chefs Perry Kong and Sam Liu, and Sous Chef Frank Chen. In addition, two “storytellers” from Qufu are traveling with the chefs, to help unfold more exciting tales related to the dishes.

 

Sources / Links:
“Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper” (Ebury Press, 2008) / Fuchsia Dunlop
Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel / Press release

 

Whole China below a single roof

The Great Motherland of ChinaIsland Shangri-La, Hong Kong

 

I love hotels with exclusive sightseeing-effects. In the case of Hong Kong’s Island Shangri-La Hotel this affection is satisfied by the world’s largest silk painting. The whole thing is called “Great Motherland of China”, and it covers 714 square meters (2343 sq ft), stretching over 16 levels until very scarcely below the translucid roof of the building, which is part of the Pacific Place complex in the Admirality district on Hong Kong Island.

 

It is said that whole China is illustrated on this total work of art, which contains 250 piece parts. I discovered mountainous landscapes, the Great Wall, waterfalls, little villages with traditional houses and, further down, ships. Forty artists from Beijing had been working on this masterpiece for more than half a year. It was unveiled in 1991, in the course of the hotel’s opening.

 

It’s hard to believe this hotel has been existing already for more than twenty years, as it looks rather new in pretty much every corner. However, the spirit behind the interior design is much older. As noted in the hotel’s media information the design concept meant to „revive the style, ambience and tradition of Grand Hotels”. It’s not only words, but real: The dignified lounge of the Horizon Club makes you feel like in a venerable establishment somewhere in Europe – if you manage to fade out the wonderful view out of the windows on the 56th level: solid wood paneling and noble chandeliers evoke associations with England and France.

 

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Right aside this venue smokers hide in Hong Kong’s probably loveliest smoking room, called Roof Garden, where dozens of orchids fight against the fume. During my visit the service quality and the food & beverage selection at the Horizon Club can be classified as absolutely perfect.

 

Apart from a beautiful China pot filled with fragrant Jasmine tea and besides preserved plums as good-night-goodies, the tested room was 100 percent Western style: Heavy, cushioned seating furniture was arranged next to a solid, dark-brown desk and a huge leather-covered office chair. A neat chandelier was decorating the ceiling. Next to the bed lay a corporate edition of James Hilton’s novel “The Lost Horizon”, the source of the Shangri-La myth. As in many other Hong Kong high-end hotels, the magnificent marble laid-out bath room was equipped with L’Occitane products.

 

My room was situated in one of the top levels. The abundantly nice harbor view was literally heightened by the fact that the hotel tower was constructed on a hill. The only cutback was a restrained smell, which might had come out of the carpets.

 

Among several culinary establishments in the building, the restaurant Petrus on the top floor is deemed to be the best. I had the pleasure to sniff about over some of its French cuisine dishes. The service was excellent, and so were the creations by Chef Frederic Chabbert.

 

However, maybe due to my sightseeing-approach my attention this time was caught most by the Café TOO. Buffet restaurants like this are very popular among Hong Kong’s inhabitants, especially at week-ends, when these places are packed with families. You can watch grandpa and grandson eating ice-cream cones with the greatest pleasure you could ever imagine, while father is dissecting his beef fillet. Mother’s seat is vacant as she is lining up in front of the desserts. What a spectacle!

 

I went there with my good old friend and approved travel partner Stefan Tauchhammer. At one of approximately ten open kitchen stations we discovered a cook cutting off white noodles from a flabby compound. Mixed with several other ingredients it tasted great. Not spicy like Sichuan dishes, nor focused on the ingredient’s own taste, like the Cantonese cuisine, its complex flavors made the dish something completely different. This was “Huaiyang”, he said, a cuisine style in East China. In mainland China highly estimated, it is totally unknown in Europe. That was the moment when we decided to fly to East China. The reviews of that trip will be published, one by one, within the next few weeks.

 

We checked out at afternoon tea time, while a Western string quartet was spreading relaxing vibes in the spacious main lobby. It was afternoon tea time. We would have wanted to stay longer.

 

Hotel website