Relish in Meticulously Presented Huaiyang Cuisine at Xi Tang Yan

By Sophie Steiner, January 15, 2022

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Huaiyang cuisine is one of the Four Great Traditions in Chinese cuisine. It hails from Huai’an, Yangzhou and Zhenjiang, in the area of Jiangsu surrounding the lower reaches of the Huai and Yangtze rivers.

Fried Tacai with Bamboo Shoots (RMB98), Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Considered to be the most prestigious style of food within Su (or Jiangsu) cuisine, Huaiyang dishes seek to retain the original flavor, freshness and temperance of each ingredient through meticulous and elaborate preparation and presentation. 

DSC06341.jpgImage by Sophie Steiner/That's

Xi Tang Yan 熙唐宴, a newly opened Huaiyang restaurant near the South Bund, offers up the best of this traditional fare, focusing heavily on fresh seafood.

Image courtesy of Xi Tang Yan

Image courtesy of Xi Tang Yan

The restaurant was designed by famous Beijing designer Liu Doa Hua in a modern Chinese style, pulling teahouse elements together with pottery from Jingdezhen, elements from the Song Dynasty and statues by Liu Zhiyin. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Seating up to 150 people, the restaurant offers more private than public dining, with several rooms spanning in size for both lunch and dinner business functions. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The menu highlights the best of Jiangsu cuisine, elevating classic dishes by using the highest quality ingredients sourced from around China. 

Here’s a preview of what you can expect from a dining experience at Xi Tang Yan.

Huai’an Style Pork Head Meat with Garlic Soya Sauce 淮安酱香猪头肉 (RMB178)

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Salt-cured and preserved, pork cheek is sliced and served with a soy and vinegar dipping sauce.

Salted 16 Months-aged Yangzhou Goose 老卤鹅三件 (RMB198)

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Poached goose is sliced and separated into bite-size portions spanning breast meat, thigh meat, neck and liver. 

Coriander Seedling with Homemade Rice Vinegar 捞汁苗菜 (RMB98)

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A micro coriander greens salad studded with toasted pine nuts, balsamic vinegar beads and fresh lily bulb slices, dressed with a bright vinaigrette for a refreshing palate cleanser.

Crispy Rice Field Eel with Sweet Sauce and Sesame 梁溪脆鳝 (RMB128)

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Shatteringly crisp deep-fried eel is sautéed in a vinegary sugar sauce and dusted with shreds of fried ginger.

Sliced Fresh Tofu in Tricholoma Matsutake Consommé 松茸清汤绣球豆腐 (RMB118/bowl)

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

One of the restaurant’s signatures, must-order dishes involves soft tofu cut exactly 108 times and then fanned out to appear like a hydrangea flower, which gives the dish its name from.

The tofu is served in a clean mushroom and chicken stock soup, and as it floats, the individual strands waver in the broth, as if it were alive and moving of its own free will.

The soup itself is the epitome of what Chinese cuisine aficionados describe as qingdan – delicate and light, soft in flavor, fresh, elegant. 

Steamed Lake Shrimp with 10-Years-aged Shaoxing Rice Wine 秘制醉芙虾 (RMB388)

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Succulent lake shrimp are poached in a Gu Yue Long Shan 10-years-old rice wine from Shaoxing, and presented with symmetrical cubes of spongy kaofu, or wheat gluten. 

Steamed Golden Fish with Homemade Pickles 笋丝雪菜蒸东海黄鱼 (RMB1,788)

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A large yellow croaker river fish is steamed in chicken oil with assorted greens and bamboo shoots, resulting in flaky meat that is both buttery and tender.

Braised Fish Maw with Nepalese Rice and Chicken Soup 岩米烩花胶 (RMB388/bowl)

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

High end fish maw, coveted for its health benefits for the skin, is first dried then cooked into a slick soup with springy gorgon seeds. 

Boiled Pork Belly and Dried Puffer Fish with Fermented Soya Bean Curd 河豚干红烧肉 (RMB498)

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Glistening chunks of Braised Pork Belly, or hongshaorou, arrives dripping in a sticky onyx-hued sauce that drips onto the steamed rice below it.

Tableside shaved Yunnan black truffle adds an earthy sultriness, an additional layer of an already complex dish, while the addition of dried puffer fish enhances the plates’ umami richness.

Huaiyang Style Boiled Bean Curd Slice in Chicken Soup with 8 Side Dishes 淮扬八珍捞干丝 (RMB298)

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Prepared to order, a traditional Huaiyang soup involves combining of a multitude of local ingredients – dried bean curd, shaved scallops, sliced shrimp, bamboo strips, mushrooms, Yunnan ham, sea cucumber and bok choy are simmered together in a thick, saline chicken stock.

Huangqiao Style Baker Roll 火腿黄桥烧饼 (RMB12/each)

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Flaky puffs rolled with pork oil are filled with ham, spring onions and fried mushrooms, a plush bun that crisps around the edges with an extra crunch from toasted sesame seeds. 

Huaiyang Style 4 Color Rice Cake 淮扬四色方糕 (RMB12/each)

Image courtesy of Xi Tang Yan

Steamed, plush rice cakes are filled with gooey red bean paste for an elegantly sweet and colorful finish to the meal.

Yellow Fungus and Snow Pear in Sweet Jasmine Soup 茉莉花黄耳炖雪梨 (RMB38/bowl)

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Finely, sweetened snow pear is steeped with springy yellow fungus in a warm dessert soup. 

For reservations or more information, please call 021 6628 5999.

See a listing for Xi Tang Yan.

[Cover image courtesy of Xi Tang Yan]

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