The dietary activities of the ancestors were major sources of China’s etiquette. Nurtured with a long history and rich culture, Huaiyang cuisine is an epitome of the fertile lands and produce of the lower reaches of the Huai and Yangtze rivers. The Hut is revitalising ancient culinary treasures while honouring tradition to bring forward new Huaiyang cuisine that’s unique to the restaurant, simple but without losing refinement.
Traditionally, Huaiyang cuisine is derived from the native cooking styles centred on the cities of Huai’an, Yangzhou and Zhenjiang in Jiangsu Province. Geographically connected to the Yangtze River and next to the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the Huaiyang region has been known since ancient times as a “land of fish and rice”. The rise of Huaiyang cuisine can be traced back to more than 1400 years ago, when Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty visited Jiangdu (in modern Yangzhou, Jiangsu) three times during the construction of the Grand Canal, promoting the development of Huaiyang cuisine. During the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Kangxi and Emperor Qianlong made frequent visits to Huai’an and Yangzhou, where Huaiyang cuisine had developed and matured over the centuries and was highly regarded by the two emperors. At that time, classic Huaiyang dishes already included the likes of All Eel Banquet, Braised Lion’s Head, Qingong Meatballs, Huai’an Wenlou Soup Dumplings, Braised Eel and Pork, Three-nested Duck and Braised Shredded Chicken with Ham and Dried Tofu. Together with Lu, Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine, it is one of the Four Major Cuisines of China, making presence onto many state banquets including the founding state banquet and the 1999 state banquet.
淮扬菜老菜单 Ancient Menu of Huaiyang Cuisine
Huaiyang cuisine retains the freshness, crispness and tenderness from southern cuisine while fusing the intensive use of salt, spice and soy sauce from northern cuisine, forming its unique delicate, mild, slightly sweet and savoury flavour box that’s loved by people at all ages. The Hut mindfully interprets its simplicity and elegance, taking on various classic delicacies in Huaiyang cuisine through modern cooking techniques, and highlighting the charm of Kung Fu cuisine by instilling modern aesthetic of colour, space and flavour into plating and presentation. The result is a visual pleasure that effortlessly combines simplicity, comprehensiveness and art, while offering a range of finely crafted dishes infused with timelessness and modernity.
珠光宝气 Signature Marinated Suckling Pig
With an implication of ‘the first stroke of luck’, this is the first dish of the Three Heads Banquet at The Hut. The dish takes its origin from an offering dish to ancestors – braised whole pig’s head, which is rough in flavour and unattractive in presentation. The Hut has revamped the recipe to use premium quality piglet, secret-recipe seasonings and a variety of cooking methods including marinating, roasting, brining and braising. The meat is delicate and soft with an innovative local braised flavour and served with ginger slices and vinegar. The pork face is served in slices and arranged in the shape of a cute little suckling pig.
淮扬软兜包饼 Fired Shredded Eel Served with Pancake, Huaiyang Style
The Huaiyang area is no stranger to eel dishes. The story of “All Eel Banquet” has that a renowned chef in Huai’an used to prepare 108 dishes, all using eel as ingredient, among which Soft-pocket Long Fish was a prominent one. The dish is made from fresh eels with uniform thickness, and the result is full of garlicky fragrance and soft-tender mouth feel. What’s more, The Hut takes inspiration from Peking duck and incorporates thin and soft pancakes to wrap the eel, relieving the greasiness while constituting a novel, delicious staple course.
橙香火焰鸭 Orange Flambe Stuffed Duck
The Eight Treasure Gourd Duck is a labor-intensive dish in the traditional Huaiyang cuisine. Legend has it that Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty was especially partial to this dish so that the recipe was included in the dietary record of his Southern Inspection Tour, making it the most famous dish in Suzhou at the time. The dish is shaped like a gourd, duck meat tender, filling soft and glutinous. Instead of braising, orange-marinated suckling duck is stuffed with the same filling and roasted to perfection, brushed with a thick layer of velvety honey and paired with fresh oranges before serving. The final step is crucial, where the duck is lit with a drizzle of rum; the sweetness of the honey penetrates the duck skin, the dancing blue flames and refreshing oranges elevating the whole dish.
The Hut redefines Huaiyang cuisine in a broader sense, both spatially and conceptionally. Through innovative drives and authentic flavors, Zhu Jun, the founder of The Hut, hopes to convey his rendering of new Huaiyang cuisine to diners home and abroad.
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