As truffle season is here, it’s no surprise that our favourite restaurants have begun showcasing the winter fungus on their menus. As New Shanghai returns with their new winter truffle menu, the AU Review caught up with New Shanghai’s Head Chef Sam Wu, who spoke about all things truffle and the inspiration behind the new range.
Whilst truffle in Chinese cuisine only started becoming popular with the influence of western culture, we learned from Sam that truffle was originally used as pig food in some rural areas of China.
“The use of truffle in a range of cuisines has always been popular during winter. A couple of years ago we decided we wanted our customers to be able to try truffles in their favourite New Shanghai dishes so we set out to make this a reality. It’s been a huge success and now, due to popular demand, we launch our truffle menu every winter.”
The rich and earthy flavour of truffle have been incorporated to some of their signature dishes such as the Truffle Xiao Long Bao, Chicken and Mushroom Fried Rice with Shaved Truffle and the Truffle Pot Stickers. Sam recommends pairing the dishes with white wines such as a Riesling and Chardonnay.
“At New Shanghai, we use truffle in our dishes that have a more delicate flavour, so that it allows the truffle aroma to really come through in the dish. For example, we’ve added truffle to the fillings of our signature Xiao Long Bao, allowing the broth inside the dumplings to be infused with the truffle taste and aroma. Shaved truffle also works really well when served with our mixed mushroom fried rice as the simplicity of the rice, mushroom and oil bring out the earthy truffle flavour. ”
For at home cooks using truffle for the first time, Sam recommends using foods with a higher fat content and that are less flavourful to enhance the truffle flavours.
“Truffle works great with oils, dairy and generally any foods with good fat content, as it helps to bring the full out the truffle flavour. Also less flavorful foods like rice, noodle and rice and are perfect compliments to bring out the truffle flavour. Don’t overcomplicate it! Truffle works best when you keep it simple.”