In The Hague you find the Chinese-French restaurant HanTing Cuisine, awarded with a Michelin star and a perfect example of what fusion cuisine should be. Last week, I was invited to taste their brand new Five-Season Menu and that was such a wonderful experience.
This menu is a culinary road trip through five seasons, each with its own according color. And yes, I mentioned five seasons correctly. In China, late summer (Indian summer) is often seen as a separate season, which marks the transition of summer towards winter. The entire menu is based on the Chinese food therapy, whereby food and ingredients are matched to the seasons and follow an ongoing cycle.
Take for instance spring, the ‘green’ season: when the earth reheats and everything starts to grow, it is especially important to fuel your body with energy. Preferably in the form of green ingredients. In the menu, this was interpreted with a gorgeous and delicate dish of almost smokey dry-aged scallop (absolutely amazing) with cucumber and shiso-pesto.
I loved the addition of a matching glass of tea with every dish, also beautifully paired with the Chinese food philosophy. The spring tea was for instance a Chinese green tea with sweet dried tangerine, which also had a cooling effect in preparation for the warmer weather.
A tea pairing is not only very interesting, but turned out to be a very flavorful match with each and every dish. Another bonus is that you leave the restaurant with a clear head and that’s pretty pleasant, even for the non-preggers.
My absolute favorite dish from the evening? That was the large fiery red tiger shrimp (pictured above) with freshly sweet watermelon, ruby red pomegranate seeds and an intense tomato-basil sauce. Such a powerful summery dish.
Pretty much every dish I tasted was perfectly balanced, elegant and most importantly delicious, with lots of unique Asian influences and flavors (water chestnut, black sesame, Chinese plum sauce…) that surprised me again and again. Because the menu is so well developed, it definitely feels like an unique trip through each season. Very much recommended!