Let it be known that Chinese food is not meant to be eaten out of cardboard boxes with splintery wooden chopsticks. And New York’s gourmet Chinese restaurants—like Fung Tu and Michelin-starred Hakkasan—are revolutionizing the way the cuisine is served, especially for this year’s Chinese Golden Week.
Through October 12, Midtown’s Hakkasan is serving their first ever special set menu for Golden Week, China’s biggest national holiday. Because Chinese workers receive time off every October, it is a popular period to travel significantly around the world and experience luxury offerings. “The high-end nature and modern authenticity of Hakkasan’s menu speaks to those luxury offerings Chinese nationals are looking to experience during their travels to New York,” said Ami Grilly, director of Operations for New York’s Hakkasan (which also has locations in Las Vegas, London and San Francisco).
While we recommend starting Hakkasan’s Golden Week menu with one of their cocktails in their chic lounge, the menu officially starts with a selection of steamed dumplings and thin, crackling slices of Peking duck adorned with Tsar Nicoulai Reserve caviar.
“All of the dishes except for Peking duck with caviar are traditional Cantonese dishes. The menu is based on the Golden Week menu in London from Chef Tong since the idea is from London originally, so we followed their lead,” explained Chef Ho Chee Boon.
The main course is truly a feast! Braised whole seabass in clay pot comes in scrumptious filets, tender and just slightly crisp on the outside. Crispy prawn with dried chilli and cashew nut is reminiscent of the takeout favorite “cashew shrimp” but with plump prawns and a spicy sauce that puts any New York takeout joint to shame. Spicy Szechuan rib-eye beef with enoki mushroom; roasted crispy chicken with wild mushrooms in oyster sauce, and fried rice with diced abalone make up the rest of the meal, and you may actually end up leaving with a takeout container…
“The courses are all traditional to accommodate to the appetite of Chinese travelers, whether they are from China or overseas. This menu targets tourists from China, but we also believe that these dishes, though traditional, would fits westerner’s appetites as well,” explained Chef Tong Chee Hwee, Executive Head Chef of London’s Hakkasan. Having never traveled to Asia, this reporter can verify that the menu very much suites Western tastes.
Along with their cocktail menu, Hakkasan has an impressive wine list, with a long list of vintages and wines from Napa, Sonoma and plenty of overseas vineyards. While the Golden Week menu does not have an official wine pairing, try a bottle of the 2010 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir or the 2010 Cassis Clos Ste. Magdeleine to accompany your Golden Week meal.
And save room for dessert, prepared by in-house pastry chef Rory Macdonald. Black sesame and chocolate dumplings are drizzled with with ginger and yuzu tea broth and pop with a savory, rich sweetness in your mouth. Pair with a sparkling sake for the ultimate dessert.
Hakkasan’s Golden Week menu runs through October 12th and is $138/person, minimum of two diners.