Every year, we set forth on diets, detoxes and cleanses with the best of intentions. How about we make 2019 about making healthier tweaks to dishes we already love? To help you do that, we’ve asked four Shanghai chefs to create lighter versions of their most flavorful dishes.
1. Bina Yu's Icelandic Cod with Sweet and Sour Sichuan Pepper Sauce
Images courtesy Together (left) and by Cristina Ng/That's (right)
As executive chef at Together, Bina Yu combines her background in French cuisine with Asian ingredients in ways that consistently excite us. At the restaurant, the fish is dipped in cornstarch and deep-fried, but for her lighter version, Yu cuts down on calories and carbs by steaming it. With a hint of Sichuan Pepper and a pile of fresh herbs adding a kick of flavor, you will hardly notice the reduced amount of butter in the sauce.
2. Jonathan Ynsensé’s ‘Tia Nuly Eggplant Relleno’
Images courtesy Maya
Mexican cuisine has a long history of stuffing chili peppers with a vast repertoire of fillings. Taking inspiration from this, Maya head chef Jonathan Ynsensé began serving an eggplant variation with roasted vegetables and goat cheese that was breaded and deep-fried. In this leaner version, he’s removing the breading and drawing on flavors learned from his beloved Mexican-Lebanese Aunt Nuly.
3. Anthony Zhao’s Shanghainese Big Headed Shrimp
Image courtesy Mi Xiang Yuan (left) and by Cristina Ng/That's (right)
As chef and partner at Mi Xiang Yuan (aka The Rice Garden), a popular Chinese lunch spot, Anthony Zhao draws from his Shanghainese background and fine dining training to modernize local dishes. A favorite of his daughter’s, this tasty shrimp is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals. While he uses traditional flavoring such as soy sauce, ginger and garlic, regular cooking oil is replaced with olive oil and grass-fed butter while honey stands in for processed sugar.
4. Sean Jorgensen's Hipster Poutine
Images courtesy The Cannery (left) and by Cristina Ng/That's
The Cannery’s Sean Jorgensen has been supplying decadent comfort food to Shanghai for years. When we asked him to give one of his most popular dishes a healthy makeover, he decided it would be great fun to take on a Canadian national treasure, poutine. The potatoes are baked, the cheese is low-fat, the gravy is vegetarian and the flavor, heavenly. As for the name, it’s plant-based (unless you add dried beef) and it’s junk food, does it get more hipster than that?
[Cover images courtesy Maya (top right) and by Cristina Ng/That's]
We know you don't always have time to cook, so we asked health coach, Sharon Raccah Perez for some help navigating the menus at these restarants. See her top picks here.