Enjoy Authentic Chinese Cuisine at Home and La Chine

Enjoy Authentic Chinese Cuisine at Home and La Chine

Spanish mackerel with pickled cabbage and smoked soy dressing (Courtesy La Chine at Waldorf Astoria New York)

I recently attended an event at La Chine—the upscale restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria New York that offers authentic cuisine from all across China—to celebrate “China: The Cookbook.” Noted Chinese culinary experts Kei Lum Chan and Diora Fong Chan carefully curated this gorgeous volume of 650 recipes from 33 regions and sub-regions of China that all can be made in one’s home. 

Whether you fancy yourself to be worthy of your own cooking show or just like to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen, “China: The Cookbook” has easy-to-follow instructions with dishes that have been organized into chapters that focus on appetizers, soups, fish and seafood, vegetables, rice, desserts and more.

While at La Chine, I had the pleasure of trying several of the recipes from “China: The Cookbook,” as prepared by chefs at one of the best restaurants in the city. (La Chine’s own David Garcelon is one of the guest chefs featured in “China: The Cookbook.”) To start, the table shared spicy Sichuan-style wontons in red oil, as well as crispy Spanish mackerel with pickled cabbage and smoked soy dressing. The latter, which is from the Zhejiang region, is offered on La Chine’s dinner menu.

With a choice of Chilean sea bass (with Waldorf rooftop honey and soy glaze) or wok seared American wagyu beef tenderloin (with hickory walnuts and black pepper glaze)—both from the Zhejiang region and served regularly at La Chine—I opted for the sea bass because I’ve never tried it before. To quote the old knight from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” I had “chosen… wisely.” The honey and soy glaze was to die for and made a delightfully sweet topping that paired deliciously with the light, but still savory, sea bass.

The table shared two sides from the cookbook that are not usually served at La Chine, Yangzhou fried rice (a popular dish from the Jiangsu region) and snow pea leaves (from the Guangdong province). Both were comfort food-level of yummy. I imagine I’ll be cracking open “China: The Cookbook” on a winter day and trying to recreate the fried rice. I’ve seen these ingredients at my grocery store—surely I can prepare this as well as the chefs at La Chine! (In my dreams, I know…) For dessert, we each were served an immaculately plated coconut pudding with bright fruits that was a light and refreshing way to finish up such a wonderful meal. 

By now you may have heard that the Waldorf Astoria is closing in spring 2017 for renovations and La Chine will likewise shut its doors during that time. This means that if you want to experience this restaurant’s sumptuous menu of complex flavors, you need to get a move on.

With a generous selection of raw bar options, appetizers, sides, rice and noodle dishes, La Chine is a great spot if you like to share food and try a little bit of a lot of things during one dining experience. There are a variety of soup, barbecue, seafood and meat entrée options as well, in addition to a dessert menu that includes house-made ice creams and sorbets, as well as coconut tapioca soup, dark chocolate and Szechuan pepper cake, fromage blanc polochon and more.

An impressive sake collection is the highlight of a drinks menu that was crafted to complement your meal. There are also wines, beers and specialty cocktails to choose from.

Or, if you’re like me and prefer tea… La Chine has got you covered. On weekends, La Chine has afternoon tea where guests can enjoy this widely enjoyed beverage with an assortment of savory dishes, Mandarian and traditional scones, fruit tarts and other pastries and sweet treats. Patrons who opt for the “Imperial Tea” session will also enjoy dim sum in addition to the aforementioned offerings.

La Chine is available to host events and private dinners, as well as offers holiday dinners on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. To make reservations for these special meals, or any dining experience at La Chine, you can do that online here.

La Chine is located on the ground floor of the Waldorf Astoria (540 Lexington Ave., btw E. 49th & E. 50th sts., 212.872.4913). It is open for dinner from 5:30 pm-10 pm, Tuesday through Saturday, as well as for afternoon tea on Thursday though Saturday from noon-3 pm and Sundays from noon-4 pm.

To order a copy of “China: The Cookbook,” click here.

Chilean sea bass (Courtesy of La Chine at Waldorf Astoria New York)

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