Modern Asian Cuisine and Healthy Eating at
Mulan restaurant’s head chef, George Chu, strongly believes that “Modern Asian Cuisine is in a category all its own.” Chef Chu has been with Mulan since its inception. He further explained that the modern Asian cuisine that is served here at Mulan is not your typical Asian Fusion fare.
Modern Asian cuisine is the delicate marriage of the best features of Asian and other cultures, whether it’s slow-cooking in a clay pot or the introduction of unique ingredients. As with any true union, a lot of passion–or at least chemistry–is involved, and it takes genuine appreciation for a single dish to preserve the strong personalities of two, or more, cultures without surrendering the overall integrity.
True to his philosophy, Chu has carefully crafted Mulan’s newest menu, expertly combining Asian and other global styles. Eggplant in a Special Basil Sauce is one of the latest additions; generously laden with a distinct basil sauce that hints of wine – ‘Thai basil, not Italian,’ Chu was quick to clarify. The eggplant is sautéed to a creamy tenderness within slightly crispy skins. The Dragon Eggplant Meanders in Basil could have been the title of a classical Chinese poem, but it really is Chu’s creation translated from its Chinese name (jiǔ céng tǎ pán lóng qié zi). Instead of a haphazard combination, Mulan’s eggplants appear neatly arranged, on white porcelain, in a gravy combining chili, onion, and ponzu. The eggplant is truly satisfyingly delicious.
In becoming a chef, Chu studied Chinese genres in depth and was also thoroughly trained in Western cooking. He has been able to seamlessly transpose this penchant inspired by the charisma of Western cooks to the forward thinking Mulan kitchen. The signature item on the menu this season is Crispy Chilean Sea Bass with Longjing Tea Leaves – a modest name for a dish with so much to say. Inspired by the natural beauty of Hangzhou’s many lotus lakes and relatively milder cuisine, Mulan’s Crispy Chilean Sea Bass with Longjing Tea Leaves comes with a lightly battered and fried lotus basket filled with a savory mix of sweet corn, barley, pine nuts, and chopped carrots. This is a colorful salad particular to Hangzhou, lightly drizzled with a sauce made from Longjing tea base, red wine, and teriyaki.
Mulan Restaurant clearly understands its patrons’ preferences beyond sensory stimulant, rising up to meet the demands of an increasingly health conscious and cosmopolitan population. Mulan’s revised lunch menu is significantly pared down so that lunch breaks are straightforward and efficient, without being overwhelmed by cumbersome variations and choices. Their dinner menu is also available upon request.
Chu has declared he is proud to present the collaborative fruits of the Mulan kitchen – where three schools, Cantonese, Jiangzhe, and Western style cuisine — reign in harmony. Traditional Chinese cooking is comparatively healthy, generally favoring non-greasy methods such as steaming and stir-frying, emphasizing the natural flavors of foods, and includes plenty of vegetables andsoy-based products.
Chef Chu commented that popular science recently conceived that several pairings which customers may be used to are actually detrimental to their health. Rather than culinary no-no’s in common combinations such as persimmons and crabs, or celery and chicken, Mulan’s Healthy Choices menu offers clever alternatives such as Snow pea julienne with golden mushroom and Chilean sea bass with winter melon, keeping up-to-date with discoveries so that diners can savor their meals with assurance.
The contradictions of Modern Asian Cuisine; retaining authentic Asian elements, extracting its essences and yet remaining notably open to being influenced by other styles, are a challenge Chef Chu thoroughly enjoys. “The criteria for good food is flavor, fragrance, and appearance. Apart from these, the pairings of ingredients and the health factor are important. We have always considered all of these at Mulan.”