TIANJIN, China – What was the ‘Eight-fingered General’ Huang Xing served when he dined at The Astor Hotel in 1914? What did Canadian adventurer Aloha Wanderwell crave on a stopover in Tianjin in 1924, on her way to becoming the first woman to drive around the world? Which were the most popular dishes on celebratory menus at The Astor Hotel during the 1910 – 1920s?
The chefs at The Astor Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Tianjin have mined the restaurant archives of one of China’s most historic hotels and revived several classic menus from yesteryear. Complemented by fresh, seasonal ingredients, the dishes offer a nostalgic taste of classic Anglo-European dishes rarely found on global menus today.
The ‘Historical Menus’ are inspired by famous guests and events from The Astor Hotel’s 148 years of history in Tianjin. These classic cuisines will be offered in the elegant setting of the 1863 The Astor Bistro & Terrace, which has been serving gourmet Anglo-French specialties and fine wines since 1924.
Guests can choose from the following five ‘Historical Menus’, which are named after famous guests or employees and are available from 1 November to 31 December 2011. Each menu includes three courses and is priced between RMB188 – RMB 248, plus 15 percent service charge.
Aloha Wanderwell was a Canadian adventurer and the first woman to drive around the world in a customised Model T Ford. The Astor Hotel was one of her official sponsors, and hosted Wanderwell when she passed through Tianjin. She requested for dinner: Poached Salmon with Waldorf Salad; Breaded Lamb Cutlets with Reform Sauce; and Poached Pears with Vanilla Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce.
VK Wellington Koo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China, was the first and only Chinese head of state known to publicly use a Western name. Koo attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and participated in the founding of the League of Nations and the United Nations. His cosmopolitan tastes were reflected in his menu selection when he stayed at The Astor Hotel: Cream of Jerusalem Artichokes; Pan-fried Sea Bass Coated in Parsley Breadcrumbs with a Veal Juice; and Pancakes with Apple and Brandy.
Huang Xing was the first Commander in Chief for the Republic of China. He was known as the ‘Eight-fingered General’ due to his war injuries. A couple of missing digits, however, didn’t stop him enjoying the honorary meal prepared for him at The Astor Hotel: Traditional Prawn Cocktail; Fricassee of Rabbit with Wild Mushrooms and Sautéed Spatiza; and Scottish Cranachan of Raspberries, Oats, Whiskey, Honey and Cream.
John Innocent arrived in Tianjin from Shanghai to set up the mission for the new British Concession. In 1863, he bought some land and built a simple Mud House, which was the earliest Astor Hotel. This celebratory menu was popular at The Astor Hotel during its early years: Prawn Bisque with Cognac; Chicken Kiev with Almond Rice; and Banana Cream Pie.
William O’Hara was appointed managing director of The Astor Hotel in 1916 and oversaw the building of a four-storey luxury hotel on the property. This menu was served in the new dining hall when the hotel opened in 1924: Caesar Salad; Grilled Ribeye Steak with Creamy Leek Potatoes and Green Peppercorn Sauce; and Passionfruit Cheesecake.
In addition to the ‘Historical Menus’, another unmissable dining event at The Astor Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Tianjin is ‘Culinary Creations of Cod’.
With codfish at its seasonal prime, this three-course seafood menu features a choice of innovative gourmet expressions, such as Salad of Cod Ceviche Style with Beetroot; Crocodile and Cod Cakes with Avocado and Mango Salsa; and Classic Codfish and Chips with Mushy Peas and Home Fries. Asian style cod creations include, Steamed Sesame Cod with Japanese Broth and Rice Noodles; and Thai Cod Green Curry. Complete your seafood meal with delicious desserts such as, Banana Cream Pie with Caramel Coated Almonds; and Roasted Mango in Butterscotch Sauce on Shortbread.