China Dinner
Bailliage of Shenzhen
Shenzhen, June 19, 2020
Qingming River feast
" Chef Anthony Dong created a three-part 32 courses dim-sum menu "

COVID-19 stopped all our activities in first half of 2020. Our long awaited first reunion was therefore this “Qingming River Feast”. It was a unique event being a gallery dinner featuring an antique scroll painting by Qiu Ying dating back to the Ming Dynasty depicting riverside street scenes.

Dressed in ancient Chinese costumes 30 Chaîne members and their friends travelled back in time to Suzhou City during the era of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Zhizheng Culture hosted our dining event in a non-food/drink show room. The famous Huaiyang Cuisine culinary team, headed by the Shangri-La Futian Hotel’s Chef Anthony Dong, created a three-part 32 courses dim-sum menu. It matched typical snack food of the historical period and our theme.

A Champagne reception helped ease away the pressures of the week. Then Bailli Estella Pan and Jason Zhang, Vice-Charge de Missions (Membership), introduced Jerry Li of Zhizheng Culture and Chef Anthony Dong and proposed a toast in appreciation of their support for this wonderful event.

Estella and her team led the 30 diners to a mysterious room for the first experience of the event. A 2.8 metre high, 23 metre long animated scroll screen displayed a vivid Qingming River Feast. Taken exactly from Qing Ying’s masterpiece, new animation technology brought everything to life from the original scroll. We were amazed at the change that day/night effects made. Workers by day, by night busy, lively scenes in Imperial gardens and yards, peace and romance under stars.

Following this miracle of IT we were shown the original, authentic artwork worth hundreds of millions! Jerry Li and Jason Zhang shared interesting behind-the-scenes stories with detailed explanation of the artwork.

Then our culinary journey began.

At West Gate, the beginning of the scroll painting, 18 dim-sums were served paired with Huadiao Wine’s rich and fragrant flavour. Perfect pairing to dishes such as sliced pork with Chinese herb and marinated mushrooms, deep-fried river shrimp, or spiced dried bean curd.

Onto the next room for Part Two: ancient shops, bridges, buildings, courtyards built out of the original painting awed us creating the beautiful city square scene of Suzhou water town. Walls surrounded us, under our feet the ground was meticulously recreated from the original painting.

Eight authentic delicacies from Suzhou were served by the fantastic catering team. Baked minced pork, spring onion puff pastry with sesame, pan-fried pork glutinous rice dumplings and more … all wonderfully paired with Jasmine tea. Taste buds tingled with amazement!

We entered the last part of the original painting - a fair. Lining the road were recreated shops selling lanterns, folding fans, Chinese medicines and musical instruments. The dye house was the most popular photo spot. Clothes business back then was world class.

At the end of the fair, Chef Anthony waited for everyone to arrive before presenting the finale: six “garden” desserts. Each one reminded us of childhood sweetness tastes paired with refreshing Jasmine tea.

Travelling “Qingming River” virtually did not tire us! We lingered taking pictures, talking with friends, marvelling at the technology involved. At 9.30pm, the Shenzhen’s Officers led the guests and staff to a VIP room for farewells. Bailli Estella Pan and Vice-Chargé de Missions Jason Zhang expressed gratitude to the Bailliage’s partners for their support in making the evening such a wonderful time.

Certificates of Appreciation were awarded. The evening ended everyone having thoroughly enjoyed the experience and already looking forward to the next one.

Estella Pan