By David Porat
I am reporting now from Guangzhou, my fourth stop on my quick round-the-world trek. This trip is part buying trip and part getting a little distance (some might say a good bit of distance) from being too inside my business. I enjoy eating so it is an excuse to find good food in faraway places; here are some reflections:
My first stop was Copenhagen, Denmark, current center of the trendy high-end food world. I had not been here since I was 16 and wanted to come back to experience Nordic cui- sine firsthand. We import a premium brand of licorice, called Lakrids, which is Danish for licorice. With some help from business contacts, I ended up at a Noma (Noma has been rated best restaurant in the world a few times in the last few years) disciple for dinner a week ago Sunday. Ante is new and was thought to be a good deal for a 12 plus course tasting dinner offered with wine for slightly over 2000 Kroner ($300). The restaurant is very small and can accommodate up to 18 people for the 3 hour dinner. It is served in an austere way yet with a
the inside. The food, which played on its English roots, was inspired and beautifully presented. The small plates menu, designed for shar- ing, was intriguing. I will be back.
I am now in the third largest city in China and home of the Canton Fair. Guangzhou has good food, impressive very tall buildings, not the greatest air, and not much else. It is a bit tricky going out for Chinese food here, menus can be huge and you sometimes win and sometimes do not win. It is good idea to order a lot since the prices are quite reasonable. I had hoped to go back to a Szechuan restaurant I had been to many times and take a newbie or somebody from our New York office that joined me here. Yesterday, with the help of our agent, we found ourselves at the restaurant which was on the fourth floor of a building, but the doors were shuttered. Tonight we found their new location but we were disappointed again, as it had not yet opened. So we had to settle for another restaurant which was good but did not provide the excitement I was looking for. I am hoping that for our last night here tomorrow we find something new and exciting. We also have two nights in Hong Kong which does have quite “a few good restaurants.”
Restaurants and food continue to take on a local identity beyond the somewhat more homogenized international world that we live in. For me, it is interesting to be traveling and wondering always about what is for dinner, a part of the adventure of finding and exploring food in faraway places.
good bit of sincerity by a young, well-spoken staff. I wish I could say that I was blown away by “Lumpfish Dissected” which turned out to be seven parts of the fish (and began with the roe that the Danish are fond of ), however, it did little for me. Yes, there were interesting courses and surprisingly little meat, the only meat course being a small cracker with lamb tartar along with a bit of sheep’s milk cheese which worked well together. It was an education and I was impressed with the wine pairings which were carefully curated from around the world and included seven different wines.
More interesting for me was “The Shed” in London, my next stop. I was taken there for lunch. Three brothers with a Suffolk-based family farm have had this restaurant in Not- ting Hill for a good few years. The place is out of the way and stylishly rustic, different from a typical London place and almost American in its look. Quirky English food included “Lamb Chips” or lamb croquettes, which were crunchy on the outside and had richly flavored stewed country lamb on