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What’s your favorite in a Chinese cold cuts platter?

1 month ago

What’s your favorite in a Chinese cold cuts platter?

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The first dish that comes out of the kitchen is usually a small preview of the meal ahead. First impressions matter and this is especially true with Chinese lauriats.

One dish that exemplifies this notion is the Chinese cold cuts platter, an assortment of delicacies served during important celebrations of well-to-do Chinese families who can afford to eat in high end restaurants. A prelude to an elaborate feast, the cold cuts platter in Chinese literally means “meeting or welcoming dishes.”

In a culture that gives importance to balance, the cold platter serves as the yin to the yang of the hot main dishes that follow. It presents itself as a playful combination of different textures, flavors, and colors, showcasing the chef’s culinary prowess: his mastery of different cooking methods and techniques, his professional cutting skills, and creativity in plating. This, in turn, creates a variety of combinations which are all dependent on who prepares it. In the Philippines, some of these prepared meats include char siu pork (asado), soy chicken, pata hamon, and cuttle fish.

More commonly known as a side dish, the century egg is one of the most popular components of the Chinese cold platter. It is made by preserving duck, chicken, or quail eggs in clay, salt, or other elements for weeks or months. This process raises the pH level and cures it—making it translucent, dark brown or black, and lending a briny flavor to the egg.

Considered as the “tofu of the sea” for their ability to take on any flavor, jellyfish is another delicacy that is usually served in Chinese cold platters. Although not all jellyfish are edible, as some contain poison, they remain a favorite Chinese delicacy as they have a unique addicting texture which is borderline chewy and crunchy.

So the next time a Chinese cold platter is presented at your table, remember to consider each component, and appreciate the dish for its variety of textures, flavors and presentation.

 

Words and art direction by Yllaine Sabenecio

Photographed by Ed Simon of Studio 100

 

Chinese dishes for you to savor:

Chinese-Style Adobong Liempo

Radish Beef Brisket with Grated Pear

Hot Shrimp and Fruit Salad

 

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