5 culinary ideas from Labyrinth and Mume restaurants at ICSA 2021
For chef Richie Lin, no dish reminds him more of Singapore than humble chicken rice. So much so that he made a Taiwanese version of it.
The co-founder of the famous Taipei restaurant, Mume, replaced poultry with beef at the 2021 International Asia Chefs Summit (ICSA), where he collaborated with chef Han Liguang of the Michelin-starred Maze in Singapore to create a meal. .
“I love chicken rice so much that I created a brand of it,” Lin said at the conference, which was held virtually for the first time since 2017.
The event brought together 14 chefs from Taiwan and Singapore based on their culinary philosophies, and each duo prepared a dish that represented their beliefs. For Han and Lin, their shared passion for the land and local ingredients resulted in a spicy mala prime rib with a sugar cane beef jus, and beef fat rice with shiitake mushrooms. and crispy dried scallops.
The inspiration came from their respective memories of Singapore and Taiwan. For Lin, it was chicken rice. For Han, sipping sugarcane infused braised beef soup reminded him of Tainan, a town in southern Taiwan. The mala component came from the mala pot, an extremely popular dish in both towns.
“It was fun,” said Han, who first bonded with Lin about the chili crab in Singapore. “I wouldn’t do it with someone else. And because we can’t travel, we wanted to do something that represents what I miss the most in Taiwan and what Richie misses the most in Singapore.
Those who registered for the session received a box of ingredients beforehand and had the opportunity to cook with the chefs on Zoom.
Here are 5 things we learned from the International Chefs Summit Asia:
Taiwanese products continue to grow in quality and diversity
Residents of Taiwan are still largely barred from travel due to Covid restrictions, but it has given Lin more time to delve into what the island has to offer. Some recent discoveries include locally produced truffles and trout. “Taiwan has enormous potential because of its diversity,” he said. “If an upscale restaurant doesn’t use local ingredients, that would be a little weird.”
Consider the short rib when slow cooking
For a cut deeply seasoned with the mala spice blend, the chefs have chosen to work with prime rib. “The short rib really absorbs the flavor and becomes tender after slow cooking,” Han said. Lin pointed out that the cup is readily available. “We could have done it with beef tongue, but people might have a hard time finding it,” he said. Cooking with a wider cut is also recommended. “It retains the flavor better,” Lin said. “Thinner pieces dry faster and are easy to overcook. “
Sugar cane isn’t just for drinking
Sugarcane juice can be found in just about every hawking center in Singapore, but the plant can be more than just a drink. During a trip to Tainan, Han observed that locals add it to beef soup, giving it a sweet and grassy note. This inspired the Sugar Cane Beef Jus, a deliciously rich sauce made with red wine, mirepoix, tomatoes and beef trimmings.
Chicken rice without chicken
While rice is traditionally cooked with herbs, broth, and fat, the two chefs noted that the latter two ingredients are ripe to play with. “Duck fat, for sure, would be super cool,” Lin said. “The pork too. If you like it a little luxurious, use wagyu grease. If you have jinhua ham or cold cuts like chorizo or prosciutto, extract the fat and use it to cook the rice.
Instructions are only guidelines
The ingredient box had instructions on how to cook and prepare the dish, but the two chefs shied away from it. Han, for example, chose a nonstick skillet with oil while Lin used a cast iron skillet with olive oil and butter. They also served it differently: Han serving the rice separately and Lin garnishing the beef grains. This is one of the joys of following the event virtually: the possibility of seeing what two personalities are doing up close and adjusting their techniques according to your needs.
Labyrinth is located at 8 Raffles Ave, # 02 – 23, Singapore 039802
Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
From Thursday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Mum is located at No. 28, Siwei Rd, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Monday to Sunday, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Header photo credit: International Chefs Summit Asia (left) and Restaurant Labyrinth (right)