Inspired by the art of fine dining documented from the Tang dynasty where cuisine and tableware were intrinsically linked to high culture, RUYI Gastronomy revivifies the grandeur of a Chinese banquet.
In this 9th, and latest edition of epicurean journeys, RUYI Gastronomy: 24 Flavours of Sichuan Cuisine pays homage to the vibrancy of this regional cuisine. Staying true to the key tenets – Aesthetics, Auspiciousness, Harmony and Lavishness of fine Chinese cuisine, let us embark on this expedition in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, where a kaleidoscope of flavour profiles and complexity of culinary techniques abound.
The odyssey commences with the Five Fortunes Pin Pan, comprising 5 cold appetizers, prepared in a medley of 5 different and distinct flavor types – Aged Tangerine Flavour (Shadow Beef), Mustard Flavour (Asparagus), Red Oil Flavour (Free Range Chicken), Sesame Flavour (Celtuce) and Pickles Flavour (White Radish). This quintet of flavours develops from light to strong, mild to rich, the perfect introduction: guiding guests into the world of Sichuan cuisine.
Presented on a bespoke platter – flower motifs inspired by the lacquer pattern of the Warring States Period; the goldfish pattern, a traditional Chinese symbol of happiness – the 5 blessings of good luck, prosperity, longevity, happiness and fortune have indeed been bestowed to all.
This is the most complicated, signature flavor in Sichuan cuisine. The 7 basic flavours – sweet, sour, numbing, spicy, umami, aromatic and savoury are present – individually, yet, together. The pork neck is deep fried until crispy and porous, and becomes the perfect canvas for the Peculiar Flavour. Each of the 7 flavours is showcased, and not a single flavor “steals the thunder” from another.
Served on a high-footed plate with various writings of “Shu” (蜀), the abbreviation of Sichuan Province in Chinese from inscriptions found on tortoise shells, this motif was exclusively designed for the RUYI Feast, reinforcing the historical development of Chengdu, with its important link to culture and cuisine.
Sea Cucumber in Sichuan Home Style Sauce
Home is where the heart is, and the ubiquitous Dou Ban Jiang is a staple of every hearth in Sichuan. Well-versed in fermentation, the Sichuanese hold high regard for this broad bean chilli sauce, with its prominent umami, aromatic and mildly salty piquancy.
The most authentic Douban is from Pi Xian, Sichuan. The recipe must be made with fresh chilli from Muma mountain, southwest of Chengdu; broad beans from Yunnan Province, salt from Zi Gong, Sichuan and wheat flour – all fermented in ceramic containers from one to five years. The longer the fermentation, the more precious it becomes due to the development of the complex fragrance.
With this delicacy, the crispy Liao sea cucumber is caressed by the home style Dou Ban Jiang to evoke a multitude of textures and complexity of tastes. Showcased on the elegant Auspicious Clouds collection, this dish exemplifies aesthetics, as it embraces the vitality of colour contrasts.
Kung Pao Gillardeau Oyster
According to legend, the Smoky Burnt Flavour and the Lychee Flavour, widely known as Kung Pao was created during the Qing dynasty, a marriage of two classic Sichuan flavours. The description of this Smoky Burnt Flavour and the Lychee Flavour – slightly tingling with a mild spiciness, a smoky fragrance from the quick stir-fry scorched chilli, with added onion, ginger and garlic slices culminating in sweetness and a fruity acidity – is the perfect pairing to the plump Gillardeau oyster. Served on the INFINI collection, the undulating ribbon edge and elegant gold foil design complement the organic shape of the oyster.
This epic exploration of the kaleidoscope of flavours in Sichuan cuisine awaits all in the latest edition of RUYI Gastronomy. Carefully researched and coupled with the expertise of cuisine authorities Professor Yang Wen and Master Xu, RUYI Gastronomy: 24 Flavours of Sichuan Cuisine seeks to showcase and re-establish the origins of this magnificent cuisine, through its people, produce and precious culinary techniques.
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