Dear Steemit Friends:
In today's edition of Miss. Delicious, we'll be wetting our appetites to a restaurant called "South Beauty". From it's name, those of you who understand Chinese (俏江南) will guess that this restaurant serves "Jiang Nan" style food. Well, what exactly is Jiang Nan you might ask? Well, it refer's to the regions of China immediately South of the river Yangtze.
As the name would suggest, the restaurant primarily features dishes from south of the river Yangtze. However, it's first restaurant was actually opened in Beijing. In the year 2000, the first restaurant of South Beauty, opened its doors in the CBD (Central Business District) of Beijing. By 2002, the restaurant was so profitable, that it had expanded by a further 80 stores outside of Beijing. It positioned itself as a the "Louis Vuitton" of the restaurant business.
With such a grand plan, let's go inside and see if they have what it takes to take on the restaurant business and become the "Louis Vuitton" of restaurants in China. It will be a challenge for South Beauty to retain it's quality and assertion of fine dining if they hope to expand to 500 restaurants across China. No doubt, it will feel like a fast food chain with so many branches.
Still, with Sichuan food back in style, it might have the broad customer base and general appeal to make it happen.
In fact, the mask used as part of the South Beauty logo, is a mask from Sichuan Opera. This is a style of opera that many Chinese people still enjoy to this day, and combining this with the Sichuan food delicacies, I think they're doing a good job maintaining consistency of their image.
Since Sichuan food favours the hot and spicy chilli styles, it's dishes are usually a deep and rich colour red. South Beauty have taken note of this and decorated their restaurants in this "Chinese Red" colour as their principle colour theme.
Deep red lanterns, giving just enough light to show off the traditional landscape paintings.
One section of the decorations within this restaurant particularly interested me. It was the calligraphy wall. Not only are the characters beautifully written, they also remind me of some ancient classical museums with calligraphy. Surely we're at a restaurant and not a museum?
What's amazing is they continue to use this recurring theme of red for ancient ceramic household utensils.
At the same time, they have concessions selling some of China's best alcohol.
The patterns on the doors permeate with the implicit charms of the ancient South.
On some of the doors, the Sichuan opera masks make yet another appearance. This time, in smaller size compared to the one at the entrance.
In one of my previous posts, I wrote about "Why Chinese people eat in private rooms "，to many of my new followers, you've probably not had the opportunity to see what these private rooms are like, so for you guys new to my blog, i've decided to use a private room to show you what it's like.
The most eye grabbing thing in the private room is no doubt the large crystal chandelier in the center of the room.
Combined with the Southern styles of lanterns and landscape paintings, the whole room feels like a fusion of anglo-sino cultures in the form of room decor!
But it's not just a room for dining. No, inside a private room, you'll also find a sofa, and a tea table, and most of the time a TV!
This white disc like antique attracted my attention. It reminds me of the infamous Spring and Autumn period relic called the "He Shi Bi".
A cup of scathing hot tea signals the beginning of tonights feast.
Of course, no Chinese banquet can go ahead without alcohol.
Friends coming from far to join us for dinner must be honored with the opening of a bottle of white spirit. Positive business discussions should also warrant the sharing of white spirits. Actually, there are few instances where dinner gatherings are not an overwhelmingly positive experience, one that creates stronger bonds between all the participants.
I actually wrote an article before about the etiquettes of dining in China. Feel free to review that if you're interested.
Meanwhile, I just noticed the Sichuan Opera mask logo reflecting in the glass wine cups. This restaurant sure does pay a lot of attention to details.
Let's check out the food and see if they are as impressionable as the rest of the restaurant would suggest..
From the dish presentation, to the ingredients and sauces. Souh beauty makes it clear that they are attentive to
details, and meticulously design each dish with fine detail. Many of their dishes actually carry cultural parables and historical contexts.
Coriander Silk Belly Tripe
Sweet and Sour Lotus Roots
Diced Green Peppers with Beef in Vermicelli
This is such a peculiar dish, it's actualy the first time I've ever seen something like it.
Dried Chilli Peppers with Okra
This is definitely a seasonal dish. Not only is it low in fat, it's also low in calories and cholestrol too.
Chinese people apparently love this dish very much. (And here I am tasting it for the first time !)
Walnuts with Garlic Chives
Beanshoots with Tofu
This platter of marinated dried meats is served with chilli powder suds.
Naked Oat Lettuce with Sesame Paste
Have a guess what this beautiful box is used for?
The next dishes will serve as the main 'hot' dishes. First up, we have Prawns with Peas. Very healthy and nutritious!
Stir fried fungus and vegetables
Abalone fish with Radish and Mushroom pot
A very flavoursome dish that goes well with some plain rice.
Sichuan poached sliced fish in chilli oil
Simmer fried beancurd
Lush green Chinese lettuce
This is Bamboo Soup. Very healthy, very delicious.
Vermicelli with seasonabe vegetables
Finally, we have the Fruit Platter Supreme to finish off for dessert. It's pretty impressive, opening up like a flower.
That wraps up our visit to the fine dining Sichuan restaurant, South Beauty. Once contracted as the sole caterer for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, this establishment has made it's name from turning Sichuan food into a standardised fine dining recipe that can be appreciated by people all over China. Whether you're a fan of Sichuan food or not, you will no doubt enjoy their many other positive attributes like food presentation, restaurant service, private rooms etc.. as well as their superb takes on Sichuan cuisine.
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