I hosted a dinner this evening at a well-known Chinese restaurant called Jing Fong in Chinatown last year on this day. I had help from a friend, Pinny Tam, who pens a blog called Chinese and Wine Pairings. It was an exquisite experience in all ways – wine, food and company. So much has changed in this past year except for the wines which remain fantastic and which have shown their inherent beauty and deliciousness to more people over the past year. This huge banquet hall is now closed, I haven’t seen some of these friends in more than six months and restaurants are all shuttered in NYC except for take out and sidewalk dining. Who knows when and if we will ever be in such a large banquet hall again. It seemed like they had room for 1000 people there. The dinner was so amazing I am reposting about it as a happy memory with a dose of nostalgia for the way things were.
I think I speak for all 10 people at the dinner when I say no one will need to eat until two days from now. Thanks to Pinny I knew what to order, the “Happiness dinner.”
This 11 course meal was truly exquisite and the pairings with Lugana ranging from a few 2017s to two 2016 and a late harvest wine from 2014 worked really well.
I was sure that Lugana could pair well with the seafood dishes but it also stood up to the crispy chicken and fried fish filet with minced garlic as well as the Oriental Steak Filet. My favorite part of the dinner was the above seafood basket ensconced in a basket of fried Vermicelli noodles.
Executive Chef Lai came out to say hello to us as well. Apparently the seafood basket is his specialty.
This dish with fried fish was over the top. I love the decorative cucumber, pepper and lemon on the outside of the dish. My friend Joel Mack who pens the blog Vintrospective and I were also celebrating our birthdays which are next week.
I was excited to be back in Chinatown and to have this special meal paired with Lugana. I choose Chinese food for this first in my dining series with Lugana both because I thought Lugana has the structure to handle all sorts of different foods but also because I thought the residual sugar in Lugana could help with the pairing.
I have spent a fair amount of time in Chinatown in my life because my Dad is obsessed with Chinese food. We used to come almost every weekend when I was growing up and as an adult, we have often gone to eat but also to buy vegetables and seafood. The below dish – Sautéed Cuttlefish with Vegetables was the most beautiful of the feast.
This was my first Chinese banquet style meal however. I learned from Pinny that in Cantonese Cuisine they use a lot of ginger, scallion, and light sauces. They tend to stir-fry, steam or shallow fry most dishes. I didn’t find the food greasy or too spicy. Apparently they look for a balanced dish that shows off the seafood or meat without too much sauce or additional flavors.
I also learned from Pinny that there are more than 13 cuisines in China. Cantonese cooking is just one of them. It was a marvelous way to taste and drink Lugana. I was happy that people could taste the wines with food. I was also very happy to see that all of the wines had a little age on them but they were drinking beautifully. My new crusade is to show that Lugana, like it’s biotype Verdicchio, is a white wine that is not only versatile but that can also age.