Suzhou and zongzi conclude our ‘Double Fifth’ odyssey

Posted on May 27, 2014

Our very special ‘Double Fifth’ menu marking the Dragon Boat Festival is available from today until Monday 2nd June, and the final stop on our culinary tour of China is Suzhou, in the east of the country about 6o miles from Shanghai.

Suzhou is best known for its exquisite gardens and the canal network, now sadly mostly lost to development, for which the city was once known as ‘the Venice of the Orient’. The gardens however remain, and their delicate appearance is reflected in the subtlety of the region’s cuisine.

To some palates Suzhou’s food might seem sweet, but this is to confuse the richness that comes from slow cooking with sweetness. Braised meat and fish are complemented by fresh, light accompaniments to create a subtle style of cooking which to many people will not immediately seem ‘Chinese’.

The dish we have chosen to represent Suzhou is a delicious beef braised in aged vinegar and ginger, served on vegetable rice. Diners will appreciate how the rich savour of the beef  - the tang of vinegar just discernible – is flattered by the lightness of the rice.

After this last savoury course, the meal concludes with a platter of dumplings including, of course, zongzi - the sweet glutinous rice dumplings traditionally eaten at the time of Dragon Boat Festival in remembrance of the rice parcels thrown into the Miluo river when the patriot poet Chu Yuan drowned in 278BC.

To enjoy the ‘Double Fifth’ menu featuring five regional Chinese cuisines over five courses for £55, please book a table for lunch or dinner from Tuesday 27th May to Monday 2nd June inclusive.