Located at Taj Lands End, Ming Yang is a restaurant that sparks a great deal of interest for its ongoing festival, the ‘August Moon Festival’. This festival is one that is celebrated till the 24th of this month in all its glory, through a variety of food choices that play a tribute to the stories that surround this festival. We visited this beautiful restaurant for a lunch that was interesting, unique and curated around this theme.
Stepping into the Taj Hotel at Bandstand is a glorious affair. The atmosphere is class apart, just as expected in any hotel by The Taj Group. Ming Yang is an authentic Cantonese cuisine restaurant with a split-level dining room that provides a breath-taking view of the ocean on one side and the Portuguese Fort on the other. Specialising in a cuisine from the Sichuan province, they also have a choice of dishes from Shanghai, Beijing and Canton. Chef David Yui Kwong is welcoming and the staff is incredibly hospitable and warm. The immense care that is shown in seating the guests, paying attention to their food preferences and other demands will stump you for good when you visit this place, something that stands testament to Taj’s hospitality and service.
The August Moon festival is one celebrated to mark the time when the moon is the brightest. A goddess that attains immortality by drinking an elixir that is stored away by her faithful husband, the mid-autumn festival is supposed to be the day Chang’e (the goddess) is the most beautiful. To celebrate the characters and to bring this enthralling folk lore to the dining experience, 3 cocktails have been named after three of the most esteemed characters in the tale.
The first one being the ‘Butterfly Pea Flower’ cocktail is one that comes with tequila and a lime shot as its base and a butterfly pea flower concoction that is poured into the drink right before you consume it. The colours change rapidly and a stark violet appears, stirring the drink is mandatory before you take a sip. This chilled cocktail represents the aspect of change in the folklore. The second cocktail is dedicated to the warrior and the base is whiskey, smoked with chicory. The dried pineapple resembles the son that was shot. The cocktails draw inspiration from the stories and every element is picked to portray a certain character or emotion. The last cocktail that comes as an aftermint is the Vodka Peppermint. This cocktail is a combination of apple puree and egg white that gives it texture and makes it velvety with a strong flavour of peppermint.
We started our lunch with three different types of dimsums. The Prawn gaw with garlic chives dimsums, the Broccoli & Pine nut dimsum and finally the Pork, prawn & parsley dimsum. The dimsums melt in the mouth and are bursting with flavours. The plating is clean, focussed and visually appealing. The Crispy Prawn appetiser is a delectable affair. The prawns themselves are perfectly cooked and are adequately crisp. We sampled the Sour pepper gaw chi soup which has a couple of interesting elements that make it unique and unlike most soups you will have tasted. For the main course we went for the Sliced lamb bamboo shoot in ginger soy sauce and Sichuan hot garlic prawn with pine nut along with noodles and some veggie fried rice. The lamb is soft and succulent, the prawns come with a beautiful tangy sauce that is topped with pine nuts to give it a crunch.
But the star of the show is the Sweet Red Bean Moon cake that symbolises a family reunion. The Jade Rabbit was one of the prestigious characters in the folklore that lived on the moon and accompanied Chang’e. The Jade rabbit sacrificed himself and was the first animal out of four others to have met the Goddess. The stories are told over family gatherings and dinners and the folklore stays alive even to this day. And with celebrations like these, these festivals are appreciated and acknowledged more than ever. A great initiative by Taj and a beautiful concept that has been played to perfection through their impeccably designed menu and service.