Shun Tak, known in Mandarin as Shun De (顺德), is a district in the municipality of Foshan, half way between Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Known as a land of plenty, it is surrounded by banana trees, fish farms, fruit orchards, mulberry bushes, rice paddies, and sugarcane fields.
There is also an extensive network of waterways. It can be difficult to track down restaurants serving Shun Tak food. The reason is that – unlike Hakka and Chiu Chow restaurants, which are treated by most food guides as a unique category – restaurants serving Shun Tak cuisine are lumped together with those serving standard Cantonese fare.
The reason for this, according to one Guangzhou-based foodie – is that Shun Tak cuisine actually forms the basis of Cantonese cuisine, and many of Guangzhou’s most popular dishes actually originated in the town. Whatever. . .
Determined to fulfill my quest to track down at least one restaurant serving each of China’s Eight Great cuisines – and all of Guangdong Province’s four top cooking styles within the confines of Shenzhen – I took to the streets in search of those two magic characters.
After a lengthy – and unrewarding – jaunt, I walked into the lobby of a four-star hotel in the city’s Lohu district.
Approaching a concierge, I explained what I was looking for. He thought for a moment and said, “There is one two blocks down and one block over, but I can’t remember the name. But it does have the words “Shun Tak” on the sign.
His directions were accurate. I found it, located on the second floor of a three- or four-star hotel. I was tempted copy down the name and address and few descriptive phrases from the menu and then head to my favourite Hunanese eatery, which was two blocks over.
But duty called. We went inside, studied the menu, and ordered dinner. The surroundings were lovely, the food was tasty, the service was excellent, and my task was complete.
Next week I move on to China’s seven other great regional cuisines – after taking a brief detour from my culinary tour to China to check out Hong Kong’s newest boutique hotel.
Copyright: Michael Taylor
China’s Eight Great Cuisines: an Introduction
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