This September, Northern Chinese restaurant Hutong, is set to celebrate the annual Mid-Autumn Festival with a dedicated menu. Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important dates in Chinese culture, falling on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, and is a time of gathering and thanksgiving.
Head Chef Bing Luo, has created an impressive seven-dish menu which begins with a vibrant octopus salad in homemade hot and sour sauce, setting the palate for the gastronomic journey to come. A fiery Sichuan style dish of Ma La baby cuttlefish follows, which is fried with dried chilli, Sichuan pepper, Chinese celery and garnished with coriander, giving a fragrant finish. Ma La, which literally translates as ‘numbing spice’, contrasts with the robust flavours of the cuttlefish to create a perfectly balanced dish. Two meat courses of beef tenderloin in Yuxiang sauce and stir-fried chicken with fresh chilli and preserved vegetables follow. Accompanying this, wok tossed Choy Sum and seafood fried rice with dried salty fish and ginger complete the savoury offering.
The Mid-Autumn Festival marks the harvest season and gives thanks to family and friends. Also known as the Moon or Harvest Moon Festival, a traditional part of the festivities are mooncakes, which are shared amongst loved ones as a symbol of unity. A classic mooncake has a dense filing of bean paste, with a salted duck egg yolk, to reference the moon.
This year, Hutong has given the mooncake a contemporary twist; instead of a baked pastry case, Head Chef Bing Luo has used glutinous rice, much like the Japanese mochi, known as snow skin, or ping pei. These will be served as chilled desserts, and guests will have the choice of three flavours: Custard, Taro and Jasmine Tea.