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China is the place for Food. But Sichuan is the place for Flavour.食在中國,味在四川。

「國際慢食香港分會」2018年2月6日在鄧記舉行晚飯聚會,反應空前,60名會員報名出席,坐無虛設, 比該會2017年9月第一次的晚宴人數高於一倍。

提到川菜,第一時間令人聯想起辣,其實不能單純地以麻辣來概括川菜的特色。中國菜與西餐的基本味道相近 - 甜、酸、苦、辣、鮮,川菜則再加上麻和辣,辣可以不同的形式演繹 - 乾辣椒、辣椒粉、醃辣椒、辣椒油等;而麻則是來自細小的花椒,別小看這小辣椒,輕輕的一點已足以攻佔你的舌頭。因此拿捏得準,做到恰到好處,絕對需要細緻的技巧。這方面你大概可以放心,因為一切盡在“高手”的掌握之內。

鄧華東大廚過人之處,在於能巧妙地把不同的味道揉合於一道菜式中。例如利用酸味來平衡甜,以辣來平衡麻,令味道恰到好處、多層次和豐富,品嚐時你會嘗試道出各種入饌元素。

鄧大廚的創作與廚藝,把「味在四川」的美譽發揮得淋漓盡致, 讓我們體驗到辣椒以外的真正川菜精髓。

 

Slow Food Hong Kong was again immersed in Sichuan, the land of flavour for an encore dinner with Chef Deng on February 6, 2018. The diverse and multiple flavours the province is known for, sometimes all in one dish, is what makes it the land of flavour above all others. So it was no surprise that it was another sold-out dinner, with 60 guests, double the participants from the first dinner in September 2017.

When you think of Sichuan food, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘hot & spicy’, but mouth numbing heat isn’t the main characteristic of true Sichuan food, nor is it that simplistic. Chinese food, like western food, has similar basic tastes. Sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. In Sichuan food there are two others, the ‘ma’ (numbing) and the la (hot). In Sichuan cuisine, hot can be expressed many different ways. There are dried whole chilies, ground dried chilies, pickled chilies, chilli oil and fermented chilli bean paste. The Sichuan fraternal twin of la, the ‘ma’ flavour comes from the small hua jiao pepper. For such a tiny pepper, it invades your taste buds like nothing else. The experience is a mix of candy pop-rocks, soda and pins & needles in your mouth, all with a subtle lemon flavour. A delicate touch is needed to bring out the proper amount of punch here. No worries on that front, we were in the hands of a true pro!

Chef Deng excelled by skillfully combining different flavours within each dish, for example using sour to balance sweetness and heat to balance the prickly ma flavour so nothing overwhelmed here and the tastes were varied and interesting as you tried to identify all the elements.

The land of flavour, as created by Chef Deng, lived up to its reputation and offered an opportunity to experience something more than just the often talked about chilli peppers.

 

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