Now made in China: caviar and premium steak(2)

2017-09-14 10:32Shanghai Daily Editor: Huang Mingrui ECNS App Download

His caviar and crispy duck (298 yuan) is the classic Peking roast duck with a twist. He layers a soft steamed bun, cucumber and a piece of crispy roast duck with caviar garnished on top. It comes in six servings, making a caviar dish affordable for more people.

The quality is now quite close to the wild caviar as the craftsmanship is improving year by year, said the chef, especially in the past three years when companies have started to make a profit. He uses W3 Caviar.

"The price is getting cheaper and cheaper, and there is more than one company doing it and the quality is all good," he said. "It's definitely getting better because the fish needs time to grow.

"I think Chinese caviar will be world famous."

The signature imperial caviar and king crab refreshed with crustacean jelly, cauliflower cream dish (358 yuan) from the two Michelin-starred restaurant L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon is also using the Chinese caviar which has shown consistent quality.

Pricier beef

China is the world's second largest beef importing country, bringing in beef from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and recently the United States.

The Chinese's appetite for premium steaks was cultivated after Australian beef became a prominent player in the market.

The public is accustomed to thinking steaks made of Australian Wagyu beef are good quality and expensive.

But Goh has discovered a Chinese beef that can rival with the Japanese Kobe beef, and it's much more expensive than Australian Wagyu.

"One time a friend who's very rich invited me to dinner at his home and said he bought a piece of steak in Jilin that costed over 1,000 yuan. I didn't believe him at first and the beef didn't look like it's from a domestic breed, so I started to do research online."

Tianyigangshan black is a premium domestic cattle breed in the Changbai Mountain region in Jilin Province that is filling the gap for the lack of high-grade domestic beef.

Jilin Black Cattle Industry Co Ltd was founded in 2003 with the goal of developing China's high-grade beef.

It's identified by China's Ministry of Agriculture as a standardized demonstration farm and the research, development and experiment base for key technology for a quality beef industry in state scientific and technical support projects.

The breed is a hybrid of introduced foreign cattle and Chinese yellow cattle, using F1 generation of mother cattle to reproduce F2 generation of embryonic bovine. The company works with local farmers to ensure the calves are taken good care of when they are born.

The cattle drink mineral water from the Heavenly Pool of Changbai Mountain and feed on fine fodder of corn, barley and bean cakes. The colder climate is also ideal for raising cattle.

According to the company, the Tianyigangshan black cattle live a good life — eating good feed, sleeping on soft beds, listening to music and even getting massages in an air-conditioned environment.

Energy-saving and environmental protection is also a key in developing China's own high-grade beef.

The company introduced an automatic processing line of biomass pellet fuel in 2010, which is clean and pollution free.

The beef is graded on its color and fat distribution. Tianyigangshan black cattle can reach a marbling score of 10 to 12, the meat is very soft and the flavor is so rich that not everyone can finish a whole steak.

Other foods

Yunnan is a key area for producing foods of Western origin domestically.

The unique climate and geographical conditions can accommodate the farming of many products — from coffee to truffles. The land of mushroom grows one of the world's most expensive funguses: truffles. Wild truffles are mainly found in Sichuan and Yunnan. The Chinese black truffle is related to the French black truffle.

Because the wild truffles have become increasingly rare due to over-harvesting, many plantations have been established to supply the high demand.

Yunnan is famous for its Pu'er tea, but the province also supplies coffee for China and abroad, mostly Arabica.


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