Saturday, January 21, 2012

Welcoming the Year of the Dragon in Hong Kong

The Chinese Year of the Dragon is especially auspicious this year because it is a leap year. The Dragon is the major symbol of good fortune in Chinese astrology so it is hoped that the dragon will bring good luck to people and business. The decorations are out, anticipation is in the air, and like homes and restaurants all over Hong Kong, SkyCity Marriott’s Man Ho Restaurant has prepared special culinary treats to add to their already extensive and excellent menu. Located on Lantau Island next to the Hong Kong International Airport, the SkyCity Marriott is more than your average airport hotel. It is a destination with great culinary experiences awaiting the traveler looking for something out of the ordinary.

Located on the mezzanine level with a view of the South China Sea, the Man Ho offers authentic dishes from the Pearl River Delta with a weekday special all-you-can-eat Dim Sum Luncheon. From their wide selection of dim sum try their Pork and Shrimp Dumpling, Vegetarian Dumpling with Mushrooms and their Taro Root Dumpling.

New to the menu is their unique Seahorse Soup made with seahorse and the larger sea dragon which seems appropriate considering it is the Year of the Dragon. The soup has a very light broth but the cute little seahorse floating in the soup can be a bit unnerving. It is a Chinese delicacy that is believed to be good for one’s health.

Chinese food should appeal to all the senses. The Man Ho’s Kurabuta BBQ pork loin, marinated and glazed with honey does just that. The sliced pork is presented on either side of small hot black stones over which an au jus is poured creating a sizzling sound and a wonderful misty aroma. Needless to say, it tastes as good as it looks and smells.

One of the specialties created by the Marriott’s talented Executive Chinese Chef Ricky Wu and his staff, is the Man Ho’s King of Dumplings. The dumpling is as big as your fist and five times the size of the normal prawn dumpling with ten times the flavor. The giant dumpling contains the succulent, aromatic, tender and juicy meat of one entire lobster bathed in the chef’s secret recipe. The Lobster King Dumpling is presented on an exquisite plate with lacey silver filigree upon a matching charger. The King Dumpling is garnished with touch of gold leaf. An absolutely beautiful presentation and a delectable taste treat.

However, the pi├Ęces de r├ęsistance created by the Marriott’s chefs in celebration of the Year of the Dragon are the Chinese New Year Coconut Pudding and Taro and Turnip Cake. The Coconut Pudding is a modern interpretation of the traditional Chinese New Year Pudding by forming the coconut pudding in the shape of a dragon and placing it atop a rice pudding base so that the dragon appears to be riding on a raging sea. The Coconut Pudding is made of glutinous rice flour, sugar, wheat flour, coconut milk, vegetable oil, dark soy sauce, watermelon seed, and edible gold decorative coloring.

Chef Wu made a similar creative adaptation to a local favorite, Turnip Cake, by modeling a Taro Chinese Dragon that appears to be emerging from the turnip sea. According to Chef Wu the taro and turnip compliment each other nicely with the light sweetness of the creamy taro adding just the right touch to the savory turnip to which dried pieces of sausage and prawns have been added. In both cases the tricky part according to Chef Wu was creating the dragons so that they were firm and stable enough to ride on the “sea” of pudding.

The Marriott Man Ho Restaurant has an amazing menu well prepared to tantalize the palate of the most discriminating diner with New Year specials designed to welcome the Year of the Dragon in the most auspicious manner. For more information check

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