How popular is Cantonese cuisine in the Middle East?
Paulo Bastos, General Manager, Hakkasan Dubai: Cantonese cuisine is not very popular right now in the Middle East, but I believe it’ll gain its popularity in the future as Dubai is one of the fastest growing cities.
How popular is Chinese cuisine in the Middle East?
Xiao Jun, Head Chef, The Peacock, Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort: Chinese is a strong trend here. There are many restaurants opening with different concepts and [styles of] Chinese cuisines.
Xu Chun: Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel: The most popular cuisines in here are Chinese, Japanese and Italian, but trends are always changing in Dubai, as it is with a fast paced, dynamic city that is always evolving.
Xian Ming Chen, Restaurant Manager, Yuan, Atlantis The Palm Dubai: Chinese food is well known around the world, especially Cantonese cuisine as it comes from Guangdong province, one of the eight leading regional cuisines in China. Cantonese is the most widely served Chinese cuisine in the world, although what is served abroad now has departed from the authentic cuisine.
What trends are emerging?
Sang Lee, Group Executive Chef, Solutions Leisure: Sharing concepts, which is the traditional way to eat most Asian foods, but many customers may have previously preferred to order individually. We’ve had the dim sum renaissance in recent years. I’ve noticed recently that in our restaurants the best seller is crispy aromatic duck, so it’s back to classics. People also love a healthy stir fry of prawns or chicken.
Chun: Chinese is becoming more creative and modern. The previous cooking and plating style had a family style feel to it. Now, Chinese restaurants are creating individual plates, more sophisticated presentations, and incorporating artistic twists and western elements; it is not uncommon to see Asian-style amuse bouches, sorbets and petit fours, which add a level of intrigue.
Chen: Unlike the Sichuan and Hunan provinces where chilli plays a very important role in cuisine, Cantonese is characterised by the use of very mild spices. Because Middle Eastern locals prefer not too spicy food, this explains the popularity of the cuisine in the region. The trend here is now converting from traditional Cantonese to orient/infusion style that is easily adapted.
Article continues on next page...