Tuck into a new and specially curated tea-pairing menu at the recently revamped Cantonese restaurant Hua Ting in Orchard Hotel Singapore with The Straits Times Life editor Tan Hsueh Yun and deputy Life editor and food critic Wong Ah Yoke.
The dinner is part of the ST+ news with benefits programme to reward subscribers. Be one of 15 subscribers to win ST and Hua Ting Restaurant's fine-dining treat for two, which will take place on March 22.
To take part in the contest (see details in sidebar), download the SPH Rewards App on your smartphone and answer this question: What cuisine is Hua Ting famous for? (Hint: It is in the headline.)
The seven-course dinner will be paired with eight varieties of Chinese tea and fruit tea blends.
The meal will begin with a trio of appetisers - smoked duck roll, smoked scallop and chilled abalone, prepared with 10-year-old Pu Erh, Imperial Tie Guan Yin and Dong Ding Oolong teas.
Other dishes include braised pork rib with crisp bacon and greens paired with a vibrant Lychee Red Tea; and crispy seabass with summer fruit paired with the restaurant's Fruity Noon Tea.
Hua Ting's masterchef Chung Lap Fai, 54, created the tea-pairing menu because he believes that, like wine, tea deserves to be at the centre of dining experiences.
To win a dinner for two at Hua Ting:
1. Download the SPH Rewards App on your smartphone.
2. Look for the giveaway in the Rewards section.
3. Save the deal to your e-wallet.
4. Click on the "Go To Website" button on the "Details" page and answer this question: What cuisine is Hua Ting famous for?
Include your full name, e-mail address, contact number and address in the form provided.
The first 15 correct entries will each get a pair of passes to the dinner.
Indeed, teas can add a new dimension to the meal, as well as complement and enhance flavours of a dish.
He adds: "The key consideration in tea-pairing is to ensure the selected tea does not overpower the original flavours and freshness of each dish, which is very important in authentic Cantonese cooking."
His rule of thumb, when it comes to pairing teas with his dishes, is to place lighter brews and unprocessed white teas alongside delicate dishes and pair stronger teas such as pu erh with rich and more intense flavours.
Chef Chung also infuses various types of tea into some of his dishes.
In his fried rice with conpoy and organic black garlic served in a lotus leaf, for example, the rice is first cooked in jasmine tea-infused water and pandan leaves before it is fried.
He says: "Jasmine tea, because of its subtle sweetness and strong fragrance, is the most suitable tea to pair with rice and seafood. I also added in house-made organic black garlic for its wonderful health benefits."
Black garlic is known to be high in antioxidants and rich in amino acids.
ST's food critic Mr Wong, 56, says: "Usually, food is paired with wine. Tea pairing offers a different take. Not only is tea something that everybody can enjoy, but it also goes well with Chinese food."
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