MANILA -- (UPDATE) One of the most iconic Cantonese restaurants in Metro Manila is now immortalized in a coffee table book, which also contains recipes of some of its most popular dishes.
Edsa Shangri-La, Manila's Summer Palace recently launched a coffee table book titled, “Summer Palace: Reinventing a Timeless Classic.” It contains stories about the restaurant, Chinese traditions, and recipes of 48 dishes.
“Summer Palace is considered by many to be one of the finest Cantonese restaurants in Metro Manila. It was established in 1992 and has an outstanding reputation among its guests who have been coming over the years, generation upon generation. We wanted to commemorate the restaurant's success and give a fitting tribute to a culinary icon, as it deserves,” explained Edsa Shangri-La, Manila's director of communications Cristina del Carmen.
The restaurant is now 27 years old and is considered one of the best fine dining Cantonese restaurants in the metro. In 2016, the restaurant was renovated giving a more fresh and modern look. The food has evolved as well, far from the all-authentic menu it offered in the beginning.
“In the book, you will find the journey that Summer Palace embarked on since 1992. In the beginning, it was very much inspired by China's imperial past and in recent years we've transformed it and it is now inspired by the Manila Galleon Trade, in terms of aesthetic,” del Carmen said.
“In terms of the culinary philosophy, this has also evolved very much over the years. In the beginning, it was about authentic Cantonese food but now, Summer Palace has truly embraced full creative expression combined with the latest innovations in terms of cooking techniques. Guests will find that its brand of Cantonese fare is very much inspired by global cuisine as well,” she added.
The book took one year to make and the contents are mostly about Chinese traditions like the Spring Festival and Dragon Boat Festival. But it also contains recipes of some of the restaurant's most popular dishes that made Summer Palace what it is today.
Each dish that is featured starts with an introduction and an explanation of one of its ingredients.
Some of the featured dishes include the Fried Soft Shell Crab with Pork Floss, Wok-Fried Diced Eggplant in Taro Basket, Hakao, Steamed Scallop Dumpling, Baked Charcoal Buns, Summer Palace Supreme Seafood Soup, Prawns with Corn Flakes, Roasted Duck, and Summer Palace Special Thousand Layer Radish Roll, just to name a few.
“There are also 48 recipes inside the book, some of the most popular dishes of the restaurant. But this isn't just a recipe book, we wanted it to be a coffee table book, something beautiful -- with beautiful photography and stories that we could tell based on our food, our philosophy, and Chinese traditions also,” del Carmen said.
The book also discusses “The Backstage” or the people behind the restaurant. It includes Nancy Farm, the director of Chinese operations since 1995, dim sum chef Andy Liew, and executive Chinese chef Tony Sum.
The book was initially planned primarily as a gift to the restaurant's valued guests but the hotel decided to make it available to the public. It is priced at P3,888 and available at the hotel's lobby shop and Summer Palace.