Admire the flowers but don't forget to eat them!
Poet Zhou Dunyi (1017-1073) once wrote: “Rises from the mud yet remains unstained, bathes by pure currents but shows no coquettishness” in his “On the Love of the Lotus.” Poets never grudged flowery language to praise the innocence, nobility and modesty of the lotus in the ancient China.
City residents are attracted by the pinky lotuses which are in full blossom at Guyi Garden in Jiading with a great many visitors taking cameras to record their beauty.
When you go there, don’t miss the annual Lotus Cuisine Festival promoted by Guyi Garden Restaurant, with a set of eight hot dishes, eight cold dishes, one soup and two dim sum, each with lotus elements, as a highlight of the summer.
A three-color xiaolongbao (steamed dumpling) is a highlight. The dough is made of white flour, red dragon fruit juice and green spinach juice, colors inspired by pink lotus flowers and their green leaves.
Skilled cooks can make at least 18 pleats on the top of such little xiaolongbao and combine different filling in the dough to tickle customers’ taste buds. After steaming, the special xiaolongbao is ready to be served.
One ingredient is Mata River white roots from Qingdao, in east China’s Shandong Province. They are famous for their crispy and tender taste, which is the best match with pork.
Summer is also the season for waxberries. As the celebrated Chinese poet Li Bai (AD 701-762) said: “When the lotus in the northern Yangtze River region bursts into bloom, the waxberries in the southern Yangtze River region are ripe.” So, the restaurant combines the waxberries and lotus roots inside shrimp balls, making the food elastic and crisp.
After being steamed, sole fish, gorgon fruit and goji berries are put on a large lotus leaf, which not only looks nice, but also is rich in nutrition.
Wonton in lotus seedpod soup contains five-color wonton, white fish balls and green beans.
Lotus puff pastry with bean-paste filling is also a must-try dim sum at the restaurant.
The restaurant is offering lotus cuisine for lunch only till September. Reservations are required at least a week ahead by calling 5912-1335.