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Living by the sea, living like this

The sea makes many people deeply fascinated, they come to live where there is the sea, and settle down and take root on the shore of the sea. While living their ideal life facing the sea, they want to share it with others, so that people who come here can see the sunrise and sunset of the city, the rising and falling tide, not caring about time, only cherishing the moment, eating seafood with family and friends, tasting Dalian, and living the simple and romantic seaside life of local people. Huang Yi is a woman who goes all out for her ideal life. She loves traveling, and after traveling through thousands of mountains and rivers in the world, she opened a bed and breakfast and a hotel in Dalian, the seaside city she loves. The Four Seasons Sea Language B&B at Fisherman’s Wharf and the Four Seasons Whale Language Resort two kilometers away from each other are her interpretation of the good life by the sea.

Situated on a hillside, the Four Seasons Whale Language is designed with many sloping facets on the exterior of its building, like a boulder eroded by the sea breeze. In this special space, people, the city and nature can all become one. The daily life is facing the sea, getting up in the morning to see the sunrise on the sea, and in the evening to see the sunset sprinkling a golden light on the sea, and a few fishing boats floating on the sea, like a silhouette painting. Everything in front of you makes you feel like you are on an island far away from the hustle and bustle of the world, but you are not alone, because you can always meet people with similar interests and talk and laugh together about each other’s stories and dreams. Even if you don’t want to talk about anything, you can simply enjoy the food here. The gift of the sea, combined with the wisdom and hard work of the seaside people, can make every ordinary day shine with deliciousness.

The chef is a local and knows the essence of local cuisine. Local dishes in Dalian must be characterized by seafood, and the restaurant is located right on the sea, so the ingredients have a natural advantage. Some seafood will be washed ashore by the waves and can be picked up directly from the beach, while seafood from the deep sea will be purchased with fishermen who have just returned from the sea. In short, the sea just fished out of the ingredients, extremely fresh into the kitchen, on the table.

Traditional fishermen’s seafood dishes

Fresh sea cucumber sashimi, which can only be seen in many high-end Japanese restaurants, becomes an ordinary dish at Whale Hi because it is itself a way of eating that naturally exists when living by the sea. The easiest way to eat sea cucumber from the sea is to wash and blanch it, slice it and mix it with fish sauce, with the smell of the sea in your mouth. The local fishermen cook the freshly salvaged yellowtail from the Bohai Sea, open the back and remove the blood, and fry the fish with only salt. Not too much seasoning, eat this natural.

Mussels in Dalian is called “sea rainbow”, sea rainbow chili fried eggs is also a common dish eaten by fishermen. Fishermen work at sea for a long time, the sea is cold, seafood with chili peppers fried together, not only to drive away the cold, but also to enrich the taste. Potatoes are easy to store and can be taken out at any time and shredded with seafood. When you get a yellow clam, you can stir-fry it with shredded potatoes, which is a simple but delicious ingredient. The clams are larger than ordinary clams, and the texture of the clams is fresh and sweet.

People who live by the sea love to eat sea vegetables buns, the general public can also pick up a lot of sea vegetables on the shore, chopped with clams or diced meat, a little more oil, hot noodle buns, a mouth full of fresh flavor flowing oil juice. In summer, there are many sea vegetables, picking up the sea vegetables can not be eaten, will be dried and left for the winter, the next spring can also continue to eat. Locals call the particularly soft seaweed “rotten in the pot”, and cook it in soup with the top lump, which warms the stomach and fills the belly. The dumplings can be wrapped with several kinds of seafood, such as abalone, sea cucumber, yellow clams, dried scallops, shrimp, etc. To the general public, it must seem luxurious, but living by the sea, this kind of dumpling is not a novelty, it is the life that ordinary people can experience.

Fashionable fusion taste

The chef is a person who likes to study and research, always researching new dishes from time to time. He likes both the old Dalian cuisine of seafood and the western-style dining cooking, and often combines the techniques of different cuisines to make fusion dishes for guests. Thus, in Whale of Joy restaurant, you can feel the simplest and purest way of eating of local people, but also meet the fashionable dishes, which are quite popular among young people.

While salmon in Western cuisine is often fried in oil, the chef at Whale of a Feast gives the salmon a layer of dry flour before frying it in a pan, as is the local Chinese way of frying fish. The flesh of the salmon has a rich texture and aromatic aftertaste. Stir-fried kale with spores and bacon from Guizhou, you can only taste the taste of seafood but not its shape, the seafood is incorporated in the chef’s homemade XO sauce, the dried scallops and sea rice make the sauce to soak the bacon and kale with fresh aroma.

The abalone is stir-fried with a combination of the spiciness of Sichuan cuisine and the savory taste of Lu cuisine, and the freshness of the abalone is enhanced to make it more flavorful. After eating the cold live sea cucumber here, it’s a completely different feeling to eat the crispy sea cucumber again. The sea cucumber is blanched in water with white vinegar and then fried, and the outer skin becomes crispy. Combined with the local sauce of roasted Liaochen with green onion, the sea cucumber is sweet in its crunchiness and full of aftertaste.

There are few cities with sea in China, and the sea in different cities has its own style. Some of the sea is blue and clear, bright and cheerful; some of the sea is gentle and spacious, rhythmic; some of the sea is cold and lonely, but also majestic atmosphere. In early spring, Dalian’s seaside is still very cold. The beach is not the kind of fine soft sand, but a lot of gravel, together with the reefs on the shore, the sea here is shaped to have a more northern atmospheric character. Summer is the peak season for tourism in Dalian, and the beach is always crowded with tourists from all over the world. In the off-season of winter and spring, there are relatively few tourists, but it is only when there are fewer people that it is easier to see the original appearance of people’s lives on the beach.

To see the sea in Dalian, I like to go to the Fisherman’s Wharf, which is beautiful and literary and very simple and real. A row of colorful European-style buildings by the sea brings a sense of romance, and across the road in front of the houses is the pier, which has the real seaside life of the locals. Some people have opened B&Bs in these nice houses, so that more people can live in the literary landscape, but also in the life of the locals, like many people in Dalian, living by the sea, feeling the sunrise and sunset by the sea.

Dalian’s seaside is full of rocks, on which people can step a little deeper into the sea, with a better view of the sea and a more convenient way to pick up seafood. You can always see the locals coming with their equipment. They wear water shoes, carry buckets, and have a metal hook in their hands, while others carry a hammer with a pointed end. The hook can assist in digging sea vegetables, and the pointed hammer can be used to grind sea oysters. Sea oyster shells cling to the rocks and need to be pried with the tip of the hammer to knock it off. People often stew the sea oyster with pickled vegetables and vermicelli, or deep-fry, stir-fry or directly bake them, all very delicious. If you are lucky, you can also pick up crabs and steam them in a pot of boiling water without dipping them in any sauce, as locals love to eat them plain.

In the afterglow of the sunset, the fishing boats are gilded with gold, and the fishermen are arranging their nets to prepare for the next trip to the sea. Whether or not they can go out every day depends on the weather. If there is no wind and waves, fishermen go out early in the morning, and when they return depends on whether the fishing is smooth. If the barn is soon full, they will return earlier, if not, they will stay at sea for more time. As soon as the fishing boat returned, people on shore gathered around. Fishermen are selling seafood directly from the shore, which is extremely fresh sea delicacies.

Of course, the majority of the seafood is still delivered to the market. There is a small market just a 10-minute walk from Fisherman’s Wharf, and a large market, Taoyuan Market, just a 10-minute drive away. This is an old market that has been an important part of people’s hearts for a generation, and has all kinds of ingredients. A sea shrimp can weigh three or four taels, a flying crab is as big as an adult’s hand, and abalone, conch, scallops, and squid …… are all ingredients that are extremely popular among locals. The variety of fish is also very rich, big head of treasure, opium fish, grouper …… can always let the people who come here to buy food are satisfied and return.

The stall owners are not at all idle, while greeting customers to buy seafood, while busy killing fish, cut sea intestines, broken sea oysters …… Although the weather is cold, the stall owners are wearing thick cotton coats in selling goods, but each stall is busy with fervor, the sense of atmosphere as if to enhance the temperature. Seafood sells well, pain and suffering do not care. People living in the neighborhood, after work, buy food, and then carry a bag of seafood, the heart is also a sense of satisfaction of the harvest. These ingredients from the sea to the market, and then to the table, into a delicacy, the gift of the sea to comfort the people who have worked hard all day.

Like many chefs, Dalian Shangri-La’s Executive Chinese Chef Ji Chenglong is affectionately known as “Chef Ji”, and when he is called that, he always reminds people of the famous university scholar Ji Xiaolan from Qing Dynasty history to movies and TV dramas. It is said that the historical Master Ji is particularly delicious, Dalian Shangri-La’s Master Ji is also good food, once he came to Dalian, he was well-equipped to go to the beach to pick up seafood. Master Ji laughed and said that when he first came to the right place, he didn’t find the big seafood, but first dug up a big bag of seaweed, which can make soup and also wrap the dumplings, very happy. The chef’s love of ingredients, often do not care about its price, the important love is the freshness of the ingredients taste enough.

More than 30 years as a chef, Ji Chenglong has worked in Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Tianjin and many other cities, and has used seafood from many places in the country, and he most recognized Dalian seafood. “Dalian seafood is strong in rawness, crab meat and scallops and other meat is light and sweet, and sea cucumber and abalone meat is tight and does not shrink easily.” Ji Chenglong said. More than half a year ago, he came to Dalian Shangri-La as the executive chef of Chinese cuisine, hoping to renovate the cooking of Dalian seafood again, with the techniques of Cantonese cuisine and Jiangnan cuisine into the cooking of northern cuisine, to innovate a new taste of Dalian seafood.

Ji chose Shangri-La upon his arrival in Dalian because Shangri-La’s Chinese restaurant, Shang Palace, has long been considered a benchmark hotel in the hearts of the people of Dalian, where Shangri-La was born in the 1990s when there were only a handful of international five-star hotel chains. Over the past 20 years, there have been several Cantonese chefs at the helm, and each one brings a new interpretation. Chef Ji’s new chapter of North-South fusion has its own unique understanding of Dalian seafood.

Jellyfish head with ice ball and jade girl melon

The shape of the ice ball with hot pot is one of the highlights of this dish, with the visual impact of the melding of ice and fire. The crystal clear ice ball also serves to chill the seafood, which keeps the crunchy and sweet taste of the seafood longer. The Jade Lady Melon is marinated in soy sauce and sugar for extra crunch. Dalian’s local jellyfish head is crisp and sweet, which is in harmony with the crunchiness of the melon. The hot pot is enriched with orchid mussels and vegetarian salad.

1 Beehive swede scallops

The fried taro with egg yolk is very fragrant, which brings out the taste of the pan-fried scallops. Asparagus brings a freshness of spring, balancing the oiliness of taro and scallops.

2 Braised Sea Cucumber with Red Rice Intestine and Scallion

Red glutinous rice is ground into a skin and wrapped around fried shrimp, which is smooth and tender on the outside and crispy on the inside. Braised Liao ginseng with green onion has popping flesh, which is in harmony with red rice sausage.

3 Fish roe, clam and sliced skin duck fortune bag

The Japanese tofu-fu bag is wrapped with clams, shiitake mushrooms, slider mushrooms, morel mushrooms and black truffles, and the aroma overflows between your lips and teeth when you eat it. The clams are accompanied by roasted duck with fruit wood and shredded potatoes, which are crispy with the salty taste of fish roe.

4 Charcoal grilled sea snail head

The sea snail is seasoned with salt, ginger and sesame oil, and the original sweetness of the snail meat is salty and fresh. The aroma of black dolphin barbecue is sufficient to contrast with the freshness of the snail meat, and the different textures of the two ingredients bring rich taste layers.

5 Yuhuan Crispy Abalone with Shrimp Dumpling

The abalone is cooked slowly at low temperature, and the shrimp dumplings are wrapped with shrimp, pork and diced bamboo shoots. A ring-shaped base is carved out of the winter melon to hold the abalone. The vegetable and seafood pairing provides a balanced and unctuous taste.

Stewed vegetable guts with dried mollusc columns

Prepared mollusks, dried scallops and baby vegetables are cooked in high broth for a savory taste. The soup is clear after the fat is removed from the high stock. It is poured over the vegetable guts with flower gelatin, dried scallop and baby vegetables and served in a crystal bowl, making it visually pleasing.

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