After successfully locating restaurants serving seven of China’s Eight Great Cuisines, I hit a roadblock. There didn’t seem to be any restaurants in Shenzhen serving dishes from the province of Fujian. I managed to track down a few dimly lit fast food shops, but none looked very appealing. I didn’t really want to try any of them, let alone recommend them to others.
I enlisted the help of the concierge at a five-star hotel, and he offered to help me locate one. He came back a couple of hours later with an address written in Chinese. It was on the other side of town, and it took me more than an hour to get there. When I arrived at the address, however, there was nothing more than a boarded up storefront. Asking a security guard at the building next door, I learned that the restaurant had closed down a few years earlier. I had lunch at a Hunanese restaurant instead.
Disappointed, I decided to head back to Hong Kong. Before leaving Shenzhen, however, I had a massage. Then I stopped for a snack at my favourite noodle and dumpling shop, which is located next door. I had been going there for more than two years, but I had never bothered to determine what type of food they served. All I knew was that it was yummy – and very, very cheap!
As I tucked into my steamed dumplings, I decided to ask the owner’s wife where they were from. “Fujian Province,” she declared proudly. “Really?” I asked. “What kind of food is this?” When she replied that it was Fujian food, I knew that I had successfully – and accidentally – reached my destination. My culinary tour of China – all within the city limits of Shenzhen – was complete. And I started thinking of myself as the Accidental Travel Writer.
Because of its coastal location, Fujian cuisine, known as Min Cai (闽菜) in Mandarin, is strong on seafood. It is also similar to Chiu Chow cuisine, as Chiu Chow is located in northern Guangdong, near the Fujian border. Flavours range from sweet and sour to salty and savory. “Min cuisine is characterized by its beautiful presentation and fresh taste,” says Ng Wing-kun, executive Chinese chef at the Futian Shangri-La, Shenzhen, China..
For some strange reason, restaurants serving this type of cuisine are in short supply in Shenzhen. There are, however, a handful of fast food outlets serving Fujian style dumplings and noodles.
Copyright: Michael Taylor
Pictured: Summer Palace at the Shangri-La Hotel, Fuzhou, China, serves Cantonese and Fujian specialities.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Shangri-La Hotel, Fuzhou, China