Chef Feng Shaoxiang grabbed a
handful of clams on sale at a
local wet market and proclaimed:
“Look how fresh and big they are!”
He then points to a sign advertising the mollusks for only 4 yuan (60 US
cents) each. “And look how cheap they
are! That’s why summer is the season for
seafood,” the Chef de Cuisine at Yong Yi
Ting Restaurant in Mandarin Oriental
Pudong concluded with a smile.
Eating the right food at the right time
has long been a tradition in China.
Confucius (551-479 BC) is credited with
saying “bu shi bu shi (不时不食),” mean-
ing “never eat anything that is not in
season.” Of course, these words date to
a pre-modern time when eating off-
season foods could create serious health
Today though, food storage and
transportation technologies have greatly
minimized such risks. Nevertheless,
expert chefs like Feng still reach for the
freshest ingredients possible as they
always taste best.
A native of Yangzhou in east China’s
Jiangsu Province, Feng’s signature dish
is shizitou, or stewed meatballs. But as
the seasons change, he mixes different
ingredients into the meat: mussels in
winter, clams in summer and crab meat
in autumn. According to Feng, these
ingredients pair well with the pork meat
and add a special flavor to the meatballs.
“It’s also the best season to eat vegeta-
bles now — such as luffa, green soybean,
winter melon mushrooms,” Feng noted
while passing a vegetable stall. Pumpkin,
lettuce and edible amaranth are also
among the most popular vegetables in
summer, he says. All these vegetables
have a light flavor and are believed to
dispel dampness in the human body ac-
cording to traditional Chinese medicine.
Feng’s Italian counterpart, Andrea
Fraire, Chef de Cuisine at On 56 at the
Grand Hyatt Shanghai, voices similar
views as he discusses the planning of
his summer menu. Tomatoes or fresh
tomato sauce are his top choices.
“Tomatoes are ripe enough in summer,
they can give freshness to a dish,” he
said. When discussing salads, which he
describes as a perfect food for the sum-
mer heat, he emphasizes the importance
of fresh fruits and vegetables.
“I usually add balsamic vinegar or
lemon juice to the meal too, in order to
increase the appetite,” he added.
Seafood is Fraire’s favorite in summer
too, as it is much lighter and easier to
digest than meat. For his Tuscany-style
seafood broth, he doesn’t even have an
“It all depends on what’s the freshest
seafood I can get,” he said. Be it cod,
prawn or clams, he’ll use any seafood
that’s good on that day.
“Italian food is simple,” said Fraire,
“the secret is the chef’s skill and the
With the summer heat now upon us,
Feng and Fraire recently shared some of
their favorite seasonal recipes with us.
Stewed meatballs with clam
750 grams pork
750 grams clams
1 baby cabbage
6 grams salt
20 grams ginger
20 grams scallion
1 cup Chinese cooking wine
1. Rinse the clams and boil to get the clam meat.
Crush ginger and scallion, and set aside.
2. Chop pork into tiny cubes.
3. In a bowl, mix the chopped pork with egg, salt,
Chinese cooking wine, crushed ginger and scal-
lions. Then, mix in clam meat.
4. Add water to pot. Heat until boiled. Divide meat
mixture into 10 evenly-sized balls. Put meatballs into
boiling water with baby cabbage on top.
5. Stew the meatballs for 2.5 hours on low heat.
Buy clams with slightly opened shells.
This means they are fresh and alive.
When mixing the pork, try to keep the
mixture together and throw it into a bowl
as a whole. Repeat this procedure until the
mixture clumps together.
The baby cabbage adds sweetness to
the soup and meatballs. It is also tasty
after absorbing the soup.
Tofu in sauce
with pickled beans and preserved eggs
1 box tofu
1 preserved egg
30 grams pickled beans
10 grams Chinese kale
1 teaspoon peanuts
1 teaspoon cashew nuts
1 teaspoon parsley
1. Boil tofu and chop into cubes. Put
onto a plate.
2. Fry the pickled beans with Chi-
3. Add the fried pickled beans,
crushed peanuts, cashew nuts,
preserved egg and parsley on the
tofu. Add the soy sauce, chili oil and
sesame oil to your liking.
Boiled dry bean curd slices
with mandarin fish slices
2 pieces huaiyang dry bean curd
50 grams mandarin fish slices
50 grams ham slices
20 grams fish-skin
2 Chinese flowering cabbages
10 grams bamboo shoots slices
1 cup fish soup
1 dash cooking oil
1 pinch salt
1 pinch chicken powder
1. Slice the dry bean curd. Rinse the slices in
boiling water. Fry the fish slices and put aside.
2. Add cooking oil into pan. Add fish soup,
dry bean curd slices, fish-skin slices, bamboo
shoot slices and Chinese flowering cabbages.
Add salt and chicken powders. Then boil.
3. Add mandarin fish slices and ham slices.
Watermelon salad with friedjizong mushroom
100 grams watermelon with red flesh
100 grams watermelon with yellow flesh
20 grams jizong mushroom (Collybia
1 cup vegetable seeds
1 teaspoon Sakura shrimp
2 grams sea salt
2 grams salt with seven spices
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1. Fry the jizong mushroom and add salt with
2. Mix the fried jizong mushrooms with veg-
etable seeds, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
3. Cut the watermelons into cubes. Pour bal-
samic vinegar onto a plate and add water-
melon cubes. Add mixture of the fried jizong
mushroom, vegetable seeds and Sakura
shrimp on top.
4. Drip several drops of balsamic vinegar.
450 grams jumbo crab meat, with all shells removed
45 grams crab mix
15 grams panko bread crumbs
5 grams Italian parsley, chopped
1 egg yolk
1. Mix egg yolk and crab mix thoroughly. Add crab meat
and gently toss to combine.
2. Add panko and parsley, gently toss to combine.
3. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, if more panko is
needed add a little at a time until the crab cakes are at
the proper consistency.
4. Portion in to 65 grams cakes.
5. Cook in butter on a pan until gold color on both sides.
Baked cod Mediterranean Style
1 kilogram cod
350 grams cherry tomatoes
50 grams Taggiasca black olive
40 grams capers
120 grams red onion
10 grams garlic
10 grams fresh basil
1 sprinkle extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch salt
1. Bake the red onions with skin for 40 minutes at 140
2. Peel the gralic and julienne.
3. Put extra virgin olive oil into pan and cook garlic and
cherry tomatoes slowly until the tomatoes are soft and
4. Add the Taggiasca black olives, the cappers and the
5. Pan fry the cod.
6. Add the sauce and cook until the fillet is thoroughly
7. Add the fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.
Tuscany style seafood broth
A dash of extra virgin olive oil
100 grams king prawns
40 grams baby squid
40 grams scallops
40 grams shrimp
30 grams manila clams
80 grams onion
80 grams celery
80 grams carrots
20 grams basil
2 teaspoon tomato sauce
1. Chop vegetables and cook in a pan
with olive oil. Clean the fish. Add the
shell and bone to the vegetables to
make a stock.
2. In a pan, cook chopped onion and
garlic, then add the fish, all the sea-
food, cherry tomato and basil. Add
the fish stock and cook.
3. Add the tomato sauce and cover
with cold water. Bring to boil.