Saturday, May 30, 2020
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‘Haute’ Asian cuisine

Flavors of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China and Japan tantalize the tastebuds and comprise the menu that is the cuisine. The open kitchen allows you to watch the chefs in action–stir-frying ingredients for your meal or rolling your favorite sushi. Add that to the fact that the plate that’s set before you will definitely give you the umami(the fifth dimension of taste)effect, and you’ve got China Beach, the restaurant that is offering up Oriental family style service at Our Lucaya Beach& Golf Resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

You enjoy the delightful Asian flavors interspersed with Bahamian ingredients in a restaurant that is blended with chic, modern oriental decor, overlooking the crystal clear Bahamian waters which makes China Beach restaurant and the cuisine it serves actually”haute!

With new Head Asian Chef Tan Boonkhiang stirring up the wok offerings, menu offerings are more exciting at the restaurant with the introduction of Chinese-style Steamed Bahamian Grouper Filet, Tiger Shrimp Tikka Masala and Lobster Tail with XO Sauce, Yaku Udon(Japanese noodles)Steak with Black Bean Sauce and the Shrimp Tikka Masala served with naan bread and pappadum which have become their most requested items in a relatively short period of time.

Chef Tan has only been on the job a mere six months, but he’s definitely spiced up the Asian restaurant’s menu.

“Quality food and flavor and guest satisfaction,”is what I bring to the table said the native of Brunei, who says those persons that haven’t dined at China Beach are missing out on the interesting Asian flavors they are producing to tempt and satisfy.

Actually, the flavors and menu offerings at China Beach are definitely umami, a Japanese term which roughly translated means savory or meaty. Umami is the taste that is responsible for the craving of foods and gives you that urge to nab that dark-roasted bit of meat at the end of a roast, to yearn for sauteed mushrooms on top of your steak or close your eyes and revel as you savor aged cheeses. Asian foods are particularly high in the umami taste which has longevity. The savory, satisfying taste lingers on the palate more than sweet and salty tastes which dissipate first. Sourness and bitterness lag off next, leaving umami residing the longest.

And the flavors that Chef Tan and his team are producing at the 150-seat China Beach restaurant are definitely long lasting and have craveability.

“My menu offers customers a lot of joy,” said the chef adding that the persons that have come into the restaurant definitely appreciate what he’s done with the menu.

The appetizers run the gamut from steamed or fried pork or vegetable dumplings to the popular Pu Pu Platter(spring rolls, shrimp tempura, barbecue spare ribs and chicken and beef satay)to their specialty soup and Won Ton Soup. You can choose to have shrimp, chicken, salmon or vegetable teriyaki, and their rice and noodles segment of the menu is quite enticing with Veggie Fried Rice, Thai-style Fried Rice with Seafood(wok fried rice with egg, conch, shrimp, mixed vegetables, onions, scallions, fish sauce and Tom Yam paste), Yong Chow Fried Rice(with egg, BBQ roasted pork, shrimp and mixed veggies, Singapore Noodles and Chicken Chow Mein.

And the entrees are just as intriguing Hong Kong Roast Duck(actually you can see the roasted ducks hanging just waiting for you to order), along with classic favorites–Nyonya Curry Chicken, Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts, Sweet& Sour Chicken, Beef with Broccoli, Stir-Fried Spicy Beef, Sweet& Sour Prawns–are just some of the entrees.

The desserts are also just a little different to satisfy the sweet tooth. Fried Banana(cinnamon banana wrapped in a spring roll served with ginger caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream; Spicy Chocolate Mousse((silky smooth mousse infused with Asian red pepper corn spice garnished with peanut clusters, macerated seasonal berries and whipped cream); Green Tea Coconut Panna Cotta(an eggless milk custard flavored with green tea and coconut infused with vanilla beans, garnished with sake marinated fruits)and Mango Pudding(mango creme infused between thin layers of sponge soaked with Jasmine infused syrup).

Those persons that haven’t experienced the cuisine that Chef Tan and his staff are doing at China Beach are missing the really interesting Asian flavors and textures that is their food. Their five-star approach to Asian cuisine places before the customer quality food that’s fresh and delicious and that make the tastebuds sing.

A big believer in the chef never steering you wrong, I just had to ask Chef Tan for his recommendations. He insists that diners must have the Wok Stir-fried Lobster Tail and the Chinese-style Steamed Bahamian Grouper Filet and the Thai-style Fried Rice with Seafood.

And I had to get a couple of recipes out of him for you to try at home. He was happy to part with his recipes. His advice was to not be afraid in the kitchen, and that most Asian ingredients can now be had in regular grocery stores. For any of his recipes that call for a steamer basket like his Chinese-style Steamed Bahamian Grouper Filet, if you don’t have a bamboo steamer basket, Chef Tan says to substitute the basket with a pot, and cover with a plate. And if you don’t have grouper, he says any other fish works just as well.


Recipe: China Beach Head Asian Chef Tan Boonkhing

6 ounces grouper fillet

2 ounce fresh ginger

1 ounce fresh garlic

1/2 ounce fresh cilantro

1 ounce fresh spring onion

2 ounces light soy sauce

3 tablespoons Chinese wine

1 tablespoon Sesame Oil

Bring four inches of water to boil in a wok or metal steamer. Mix light soy sauce, ginger, garlic, cilantro and Chinese cooking wine in a small bowl. Place fillets on a plate-sized to fit inside the steamer. Drizzle soy sauce mixture over the filets and sprinkle with julienned vegetables.

Place fish into the steamer and cover. Cooking time will vary according to the size of the filets and the steamer used. Check fish frequently after 4 to 5 minutes and remove from the steamer when the fish is not quite opaque in the center. Residual heat in the plate will complete the cooking.

Place the filets onto plates and pour fish juices and sauce from the steamer plate over them. Drizzled each with several drops of sesame oil and serve.


Recipe: China Beach Head Asian Chef Tan Boonkhing

5 ounces bottom round beef

1 ounce onion

1 ounce red pepper

1 ounce green pepper

2 ounces spring onion

1 tablespoon garlic

1 teaspoon black bean sauce

1 teaspoon potato starch

1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Cut beef with a sharp knife into thin slices. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, potato starch and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Rub the ingredients evenly into the meat. Leave to season for 20 minutes. Soak the black beans in hot water for the same length of time, then drain. Cut the peppers and onions into strips.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok. When hot, add the beef slices and spread them out evenly over the surface of the wok. Cook 30 seconds.

Stir-fry over high heat for 30 seconds then remove the beef from the wok with perforated spoon and put aside.

Add the black beans to the oil remaining in the wok. Mash these firmly with the back of a metal spoon and put aside. Add the garlic, blend with black beans, then pour in the stock. Heat mixture. Continue to stir and mix the ingredients together until a creamy bubbly sauce is obtained.

Add the beef ot to the wok, stir well to blend with the sauce.

As soon as the beef is evenly coated with the sauce, add the red and green peppers. Stir-fry with the beef until hot, then sprinkle with the Chinese cooking wine and soy sauce. Stir-fry for another 30 seconds.

Serve on a well-heated dish to be eaten hot. This is a somewhat spicy dish meant to be consumed with cooked rice.


Recipe: China Beach Head Asian Chef Tan Boonkhing

6 ounces tiger shrimp

4 ounces tikka garam masala sauce

3 ounces natural yogurt

1 ounce onion

1 ounce tomato paste

1 ounce cilantro

3 ounce naan bread

2 ounce coconut milk

1 piece pappadum

Chilis, to taste

Water, as necessary

In a heavy pot such as a dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently until golden, about 20 minutes, then add the ginger, garlic, tomato paste, chili powder and garam masala. Add a little oil if necessary to allow the ingredients to blend into a thick, yet runny consistency. Cook until the flavors begin to marry and are very fragrant about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the water and stir until the mixture is smooth, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and cook gently over medium heat until they are just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt quickly. Serve immediately with rice.


Recipe:China Beach Restaurant

Serves: 1

1 pound fresh lobster tail

1/2 ounce garlic,

1/2 ounce onion

1/2 ounce red pepper

1/2 ounce spring onion

1 1/2 ounce XO sauce

2 tablespoons Chinese wine

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 ounces carrots

1 teaspoon Sesame oil

Remove lobster meat from tail, keeping meat intact. Reserve lobster shells for garnish.

Cut a slit down the back and devein. Season lobster meat with Sesame oil, salt, pepper and Chinese cooking wine. Set aside.

Heat wok with oil over high fire. Add sliced garlic, chili pepper, scallion and stir-fry until fragrant and lightly browned.

Add lobster tail and stock. Stir fry for two minutes or until pink. Add in XO sauce, stir-fry to combine all ingredients well. Sprinkle Chinese cooking wine and continue to stir fry for another minute. To plate, arrange so that the lobster tails are spread over the plate, assembling reserved lobster shell on the side for prettier presentation.

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