Food festival celebrates Ningbo specialty seafood

By LI YOU| China Daily| Updated:  June 12, 2023 L M S


From top: Yellow croaker soup and Ningbo tangyuan are among delights to be offered at the food festival. CHINA DAILY

The Dragon Palace restaurant at the Kempinski Hotel Beijing Yansha Center is inviting foodies to enjoy an authentic taste of Ningbo cuisine during a food festival, which is taking place from Monday to June 25 by the Liangma River.

Ningbo, a port city with a 1,500-kilometer-long coastline in Zhejiang province, has gained recognition across the country as a culinary destination. Thanks to its location on the coast of the East China Sea, backed by Siming Mountain and adjacent to some Zhoushan's fishing grounds, the city has abundant access to seafood. As such, Ningbo people are skilled at cooking it.

Ningbo became a main sea salt production area during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). This long history and resulting food culture has given Ningbo cuisine a signature flavor, which is salty and fresh.

Raw-pickled portunid crab and yellow croaker soup with pickled vegetables are the two signature Ningbo dishes on offer at the food festival. According to the recipe, the portunid should be cut into 18 pieces before serving, so that each piece contains the fresh and sweet crabmeat and smooth crab roe. Meanwhile, the yellow croaker soup, which contains potherb mustard and soft fish meat, showcases how Ningbo cuisine can mix the flavors of saltiness and freshness just right.

Guest chef Mo Chenkai, currently the Chinese executive chef of Ningbo Nanyuan Universal Hotel, is proud of the fresh seafood transported from his hometown.

During the festival, diners can taste the "bone-penetrating freshness" of Ningbo-style crab paste, tofu-skin-wrapped fish rolls, traditional fried eel paste and the hair tails caught from Donghai Sea, not to mention the famous Ningbo tangyuan — glutinous rice balls stuffed with nuts and lard.

"Catering is a key competitiveness of Kempinski Hotel Beijing. Not only are the hotel guests provided with exceptional dining experiences, but many of the hotel's restaurants are considered among the best by the locals of Beijing," said Allen Tao, deputy managing director of Kempinski Hotel Beijing Yansha Center.

"In the future, our Chinese restaurant will join hands with more famous restaurants and chefs from other hotels to provide more authentic local dishes," he added.