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Posted 02 November 2012 - 11:09 AM
China - the superpower the world fears, but few really know. Ken Hom, the godfather of Chinese cuisine, and Ching-He Huang, leading chef of the contemporary generation, together undertake an epic 3000-mile culinary adventure across China - not only to reveal its food, but its people, history, culture and soul.
They begin in Beijing, the imperial capital for 800 years. It is a city where tradition and innovation sit side by side, and where quintessential Chinese dishes - noodles, dumplings and Peking duck - are being showcased with a new culinary confidence. As well as cooking for world-class chefs in the fiery kitchens of the city's most celebrated restaurants, Ken and Ching visit the homes of ordinary Beijingers to learn traditional cooking methods. And in a break-away from the city, they travel to the forgotten village of Chuandixia, where ancient traditions are being celebrated and preserved.
Ken and Ching explore the effects of sweeping modernisation in China's fastest growing city, Chengdu. It is the capital of Sichuan province, where the locals cling on to their identity through food. Here, in one of the culinary capitals of the country, they explore the complex and almost addictive spices that set Sichuan food apart and make it the most memorable of all Chinese cuisines. And in a desire to get under the skin of the city, they explore the back streets in search of the most authentic dishes and traditional snacks. They also visit homes and restaurants to banish the gloomy Sichuan climate with some hot and fiery cooking.
Ken and Ching leave the heaving megacities far behind to embark on an intrepid journey across China's vast western frontier where few travellers dare to venture. From the tropical jungles of Yunnan to the deeply divided Muslim city of Kashgar in China's wild west, their journey takes them deep into the culture and cuisines of the country's ethnic minority groups who make up almost 10 percent of the population. This is a China known to few, where communites and their traditions are surviving in the grip of a burgeoning superpower.
In the final leg of their culinary adventure across China, Ken and Ching make an emotional return to their ancestral homes, the climax of their entire journey, before reuniting for their final meal in Hong Kong.
They start first in the dim sum capital Guangzhou to explore the birthplace of Cantonese cuisine, the food most familiar to the west, before heading their separate ways. Ching travels across the south China sea to Taiwan where her food journey began at her grandmother's knee, while Ken cooks for relatives he hasn't seen for more than 23 years.
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