WITH the summer heat climbing over 35 degrees Celsius, light and refreshing summer fare undoubtedly will delight taste buds. Seasonal, low-calorie produce from herbal salads to tangy fruit is tempting as well as healthy.
"Kale, winter melon, pineapple, young ginger and bitter gourd are really perfect for summer," says Dicky To, Chinese executive chef at Yi Long Court of The Peninsula Shanghai. Apart from allowing seasonal ingredients to take center stage, chef To says cold foods help people feel more comfortable.
Ginger, a much-favored ingredient in Chinese cuisine, is good for hot-weather food. It boasts a spicy fragrance good for dishes such as chicken, fish or prawns, and can banish fishy smells, stimulate the appetite and add freshness and sweetness.
White asparagus also is an ideal choice for summer menus, according to Jeff Wang, head chef of Dome Stake & Wine at Shanghai Marriott Hotel Changfeng Park. "It has low sugar, low fat, and it's high in fiber and vitamins. Compared with the common green asparagus, it tastes much more tender," he says.
Tomatoes are a good choice for summer - they contain the anti-oxidant lycopene to help protect the skin from ultraviolet rays.
Summer is also a good time for seafood dishes, such as tempura, whole lobster and fish, which are reminiscent of seafront dining and a better choice than greasy or fried meat.
As for desserts, sorbet is a great option for those who are watching their figure. Instead of coffee with cake or ice cream, tea or even refreshing cocktails may be more suitable and won't overwhelm the flavor of the dessert.
Crab meat and winter melon salad
This creative cold dish, only available until the end of August, is light and low in calories. Crab meat and winter melon are good "cold" food and offer wonderfully refreshing texture and flavor.
Venue: Yi Long Court, The Peninsula Shanghai
Address: 2/F, 32 Zhongshan Rd E1
Yellowtail fish lightly seared and glazed, with peanuts, mint and galangal condiment, crunchy vegetables
This signature dish of Chef de Cuisine Franck-Elie Laloum features yellowtail brought fresh daily from Japan to ensure its flavor and then pan-seared with glaze. It is paired with pepper and rarely found Indonesian galangal - a rhizome with a hot, ginger-peppery taste - among other ingredients. The dish is delicate and brings out the sweetness of the fish.
Venue: Jade on 36 Restaurant, Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai
Address: 36/F, Tower 2, Fucheng Rd, Pudong
Tel: 6882-8888 ext 6888
Shokado Bento Box Lunch Set
The lunch box is available daily to the end of August. It is a good choice for a business lunch, featuring sashimi, teppanyaki and Inagiku's signature tempura. Japanese cuisine is delicate and healthy and will be sure to improve your appetite.
Venue: Inagiku Japanese Restaurant, Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre
Address: 2/F, 555 Xizang Rd M.
White Asparagus with Egg Yolk, Sour Cream, Caviar
This healthy dish is light yet contains lots of nutrition. The main ingredient of this dish is white asparagus, which is called "the royal vegetable." This dish is topped with Italian parsley, caviar and cuttlefish juice. The presentation of this dish is idyllic that creates a feeling of cool summer.
Venue: DOME Steak & Wine, Shanghai Marriott Hotel Changfeng Park