While Filipinos are very familiar with China’s Cantonese and Sichuan cuisines—what with our own versions of lumpia and noodle dishes influenced by their cooking styles and flavors—there is still much to be learned about food from the northern part of the country.
Geographically burdened with harsh winters and shorter seasons, Northern China nonetheless boasts of a distinct cuisine that relies heavily on preserved food, as Filipinos will finally discover in City of Dreams Manila’s newest F&B outlet, Jing Ting casual dining restaurant.
The source of both knowledge and flavors from the region at Jing Ting is Chef de Cuisine Yang Chen Fei, also known as Chef Allan, who is armed with more than 15 years of culinary experience and expertise in Northern Chinese cuisine.
According to Chef Allan, Northern Chinese cuisine is mostly comprised of meat with wheat-based dumplings and noodles evoking a rich, bold and savory taste. Generous seasonings and spices such as vinegar, garlic, coriander, leeks, and salt are then used to achieve richer flavors and aromas. Cooking is done through boiling, braising, stewing, steaming, roasting, glazing, deep-frying or stir-frying.
Chef Allan surely knows his stuff having trained under Cheng Hui, former President Hu Jintao’s chef. He began as a pastry apprentice and rose up the ranks as head chef for various five-star hotels and premium Chinese restaurants in his motherland.
Eager to introduce authentic Northern Chinese cuisine to Filipinos, he can swiftly prepare a bowl of hand-pulled noodles in only two minutes, as well as create 600 dumplings in an hour.
“Everything we have here is authentic. Even the ingredients we use are all imported from China. What Filipino diners will taste here are the same as what we have there. No more, no less,” Chef Allan assured The Manila Times through an interpreter at the Jing Ting’s launch.
“What is unique about the Northern China cuisine is that it is a lot more complex,” he continued. “We have all the flavors—sweet, sour, salty and spicy—that are a lot stronger than that of the Mainland because we have different components and elements. But aside from the basics like noodles and dumplings, we also specialize in meat like beef and lamb.”
An impressive sight, an expansive open show kitchen enables diners to appreciate the preparation of hand-pulled noodles and freshly crafted Northern Chinese cuisine prepared in a minute.
Besides these, Chef Allan highly recommends the following items from his well curated menu: “Genghis Khan” Roasted Prime Beef Short Ribs, “Xinjiang Style” Spicy Lamb Skewer with Cumin Spices, Fried Rice “Beijing Style” with Cabbage and Pork Belly, Pan-Fried Grains and Bacon Pancake Roll, Pan-Fried Pork Bun with Onion and Sesame, Hand-pulled Noodles in Beef Broth, and Sweet Soy Noodles with Pork and assorted vegetables.
Jing Ting is a 92-seater restaurant open daily from 10 am to 4 am at the upper ground level of the City of Dreams Manila. Iza Iglesias