Singapore, July 14, 2012
Within months of its opening, the Four Seasons Hangzhou at the scenic West Lake snagged a prestigious award for the best hotel design in late 2010.
Boasting 13,000 square metres of manicured gardens seamlessly worked into the natural landscape and exquisite traditional Chinese architecture and room decor, the hotel captures the ultimate, picturesque escape into a 'live' Chinese painting.
Its Chinese restaurant, Jin Sha, is no less dazzling. Resplendently designed by the famous Spin designers, it had won Food and Wine magazine's Top 50 Restaurants in China.
Opulently designed Jin Sha restaurant at Four Seasons Hangzhou.
Jin Sha's specialties at Jiang-Nan Chun till July 27
Presenting his Jin Sha masterpieces of Zhejiang cuisine at Four Seasons Singapore's Jiang-Nan Chun this month is chef Wang Yong.
From July 14 to 27, you can savour his creations, which include renowned Hangzhou and Shanghai specialties.
Like his appetisers such as tea-smoked white eel, deep-fried grass carp pampered with sweet soy sauce, and vinegar-marinated black fungus with fresh lily bulbs.
His lotus root chunks are lightly candied and its crevices stuffed with glutinous rice, while the marinated yams are perked up with preserved plums.
Chef Wang Yong of Jin Sha brings Zhejiang specialties to Jiang-Nan Chun.
The famous Hangzhou's 'Beggar's Chicken' is anything but peasant fare at Jin Sha. Wrapped in lotus leaves, it's well spiced and stuffed with bamboo shoots, black mushrooms, black fungus, roast pork belly and fortified with a ginseng root.
The seasoning was just right, and I thought the dish tasted even better now, compared to the one I had at Jin Sha in spring last year.
Like the chicken, the pyramidal stack of finely sliced, braised pork is a fine example of a banquet dish, served with pumpkin buns.
Beggar's Chicken looks divine enough to serve to an emperor.
Another popular Hangzhou dish is river shrimps lightly fried with Long Jing tea leaves.
Also famous is the Song Sao Yu Gern, a light fish soup with julienne mushroom, vegetable and ham.
The common dish of Shanghainese braised pork belly is given an upmarket touch with baby abalone.
Some of the dishes have interesting origins and colourful tales associated with them.
Like the deep-fried and then braised large carp heads. Served in a brown sauce with leek and fried beancurd, the puffy fish heads were apparently relished by Qing emperor Qian Long when he visited a restaurant in Hangzhou.
If you don't relish fish heads, go for the West Lake Vinegar Fish (Si Hu Chu Yu - above). Chef Wang prepared the dish at Jiang-Nan Chun with live Soon Hock, a freshwater fish.
He served the perfectly poached fish with a vinegary gravy that was judiciously flavoured with ginger and sugar.
If you're looking for comfort food, the Hangzhou noodle soup (below) made with pork and snow vegetable (pickled Xuecai) might satisfy your need.
Expect some creative twists from the chef too.
His small spring onion pancakes are turned into delicious fusion canapes slathered with with hazelnut gooseliver paste.
Apart from the traditional desserts, there's a divine creme brulee flavoured with Long Jing tea.
Even the traditional Shanghai hot dessert of rice wine with rice grains and tiny dumpling balls has an interesting tweak. Aside from the soft balls naturally coloured and flavoured with green beans and pumpkin, some are flavoured with chocolate.
But the overall taste with a sprinkling of dried osmanthus, the flower of Hangzhou, retains the warm and soothing effect of fermented rice wine.
For reservations, contact Jiang-Nan Chun:
Tel: (65) 6831 7220 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Address of Jin Sha Restaurant
Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou
5 Lingyin Road, Hangzhou, China 310013
Address of Jiang-Nan Chun
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore
190 Orchard Boulevard
Jin Sha restaurant's main dining hall in the day.
About Chef Wang Yong of Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou
He began his culinary career at the age of 18 when he first moved to the “Pearl of the Orient”, Shanghai, China.
Embarking on his journey, Chef Wang started out as a kitchen help and honed his culinary skills at various restaurants and food and beverage outlets before subsequently moving on to Shanghai’s renowned Whampoa Club, Three on the Bund.
He continued his journey at Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake where he helms the Hotel’s Chinese restaurant, Jin Sha, alongside Executive Consultant Chef Tony Lu.
Within his first year, he took it to new heights when the restaurant was awarded one of the 2011 Best 50 Restaurants in China by Food & Wine magazine.
Four Seasons Hangzhou, one of the most beautifully designed hotels in China.
Master-chef Alan Chan helms Jiang-Nan Chun
The decor is designed to reflect its charming, poetic name - "south of the Yangtze River during springtime" - when past emperors and aristocrats used to enjoy feasting by the beautiful banks of the river.
Hence, the restaurant’s three private dining rooms are named after the famous cities of Hangzhou, Suzhou and Yangzhou.
Today, you can enjoy creative updates of Cantonese cuisine by chef Alan Chan. Such as fried lobster with Spanish chorizo, minced pork and eggplant and served in claypot; simmered sea perch with beancurd skin and wolfberries; fried rice with scallop, foie gras and crispy dried scallop; and healthful double boiled herbal soups like the fish soup with Chinese pear and fig.
At its weekend Oriental brunch, on Saturday and Sunday, you can enjoy unlimited servings of the restaurant's 100 most popular dishes and dim sum items.
A veteran with over 20 years of Cantonese culinary experience, Chef Alan Chan was recently appointed Chinese Executive Chef at the award-winning Cantonese restaurant.
A Hong Kong native, Chef Chan began his foray into the culinary industry at the age of 15. He worked his way up through several restaurants in Hong Kong and Kowloon before moving to Singapore in 2001.
In the last decade, Chef Chan honed his skills at the popular Singapore restaurant chain Crystal Jade Culinary Concept Holdings. Having mastered the craft of fine dining Cantonese fare over the years, Chef Chan was named Master Chef of Crystal Jade Dining IN at VivoCity in 2011.
Constantly on the lookout for inspiring ideas to create an enhanced dining experience, Chef Chan makes it a point to visit the local markets regularly to source for new ingredients and produce.
He said: "Since our diners have very discerning expectations of what makes a good dish memorable, even if it’s simply prepared; I always draw upon their feedback to create a customised experience."
So he is quite open to using global ingredients like European produce and gourmet touches to refresh Chinese cuisine and excite the tastebuds of sophisticated gourmets looking for culinary adventures.
So far, the results have been interesting and successful.
Having recently collaborated with his award-winning counterparts at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong's 3-Michelin starred Lung King Heen restaurant and Four Seasons Hotel Macao at the Cotai Strip's 2-Michelin starred Zi Yat Heen restaurant, Chef Chan is poised to raise dining standards at Jiang-Nan Chun.
He said: "The appreciation for a memorable experience has reached exceptionally sophisticated heights. Hence, my aim is to delight diners by using the freshest traditional ingredients to elevate the taste and aroma and present the finished dish in an elegant and modern way."
Click on the thumbnails below to see pictures of:
1) Jin Shan Restaurant and its cuisine
2) Four Seasons Hangzhou where Jin Shan is located
3) The cuisine of Jiang-Nan Chun at Four Seasons Singapore