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Celebrity Master Chef Jereme Leung makes a special appearance in Macao to host an exclusive spring menu 

The special dinner was available for just four days at the celebrity chef’s namesake restaurant, Jiang Nan by Jereme Leung, at The Venetian Macao.

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

6 Minutes

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

6 Minutes

Originating from the lush, river-crossed lands south of the Yangtze, including Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, Jiangnan cuisine is a centuries-old Chinese culinary tradition that has long been celebrated for its light, fresh flavours that perfectly echo the freshness of spring.

With the season in full bloom, the timing couldn’t have been better for award-winning Celebrity Master Chef Jereme Leung to grace his restaurant, Jiang Nan by Jereme Leung, at The Venetian Macao, with a special visit. For four nights only, he presented a limited-edition set menu that captured the season’s bounty while paying tribute to the pure, delicate flavour profiles of Jiangnan food. 

From 27 to 30 March, as part of the Celebrity Chef Series presented by Sands Lifestyle, diners at Jiang Nan were treated to the ambitious eight-course tasting experience, a keenly anticipated event that swiftly sold out following its announcement. 

“​​When working on the menu, I tried to express the beauty of spring at its best. In spring, many people [in Jiangnan] love to savour ingredients such as sea saury, Chinese mugwort, and kalimeris [a flowering herbaceous plant],” says Chef Leung. “In addition, we want to show our creativity and attention to detail. Every dish is distinctive, and my team has put a lot of effort into making these exquisite dishes.”

More than just a meal, it was an invitation to experience the season under the gustatory guidance of a true culinary master. Here’s what guests were treated to at this one-of-a-kind event. 

A master hones his craft

Chef Jereme Leung
Chef Jereme Leung brought the spring flavours of Jiangnan to life at Jiang Nan by Jereme Leung in Macao – Photo courtesy of Sands China Ltd.

Born in Hong Kong, Leung started his culinary journey at just 13 years old. After learning the essential Chinese cooking skills – dim sum-making, Chinese barbecue, wok-frying and knife work – he went on to lead world-class kitchens across Southeast Asia. 

Earning a reputation for his versatility and innovative approach, Leung moved to Shanghai in 2003 to continue developing his skills and insights. Over the course of a stellar career, Leung has been a judge on MasterChef China, published cookbooks, created a range of kitchen products and established a collection of celebrated restaurants. 

While in China, Leung has had ample opportunity to learn the Jiangnan region’s culinary arts. His latest project, Jiang Nan by Jereme Leung, in Macao draws inspiration from the Jiangnan’s connection to nature.

“Jiangnan is home to rich natural resources, and since Macao is relatively close to Jiangnan, we can transport seasonal ingredients easily,” says Leung. “Spring is when the natural world revives and reinvigorates – the climate is mild, and the flowers are in blossoms. In mainland China, you can find fresh potherbs, flowers, and various seafood that reproduce during this period.”

The vibrancy of spring echoed across the menu in clever ways. Among the highlights was the double-flavoured fish liver with Ya’an caviar. This dish laid out two exquisite tastes: one, a velvety fish liver paired with shaved black truffle on a crispy bread base; the other, gleaming pearls of caviar from Sichuan’s Ya’an province meticulously perched atop a bed of crunchy golden pork floss. 

Then there was Leung’s use of tian ma – a plant traditionally used in Chinese medicine – to create fresh rolls delicately stuffed with razor clams, which beautifully married the briny delicacy of the mollusc with the herbal brightness of the greens. 

Other dishes like green rice ball with potherb mustard and bamboo shoots, monkshood with potherb, and succulent whelk meat and chives with cabbages further underscored the season.

Bright and herbaceous, Leung’s ‘green rice ball with potherb and bamboo shoots’ encapsulates spring in Jiangnan - Jiang Nan by Jereme Leung at The Venetian Macao
Bright and herbaceous, Leung’s ‘green rice ball with potherb and bamboo shoots’ encapsulates spring in Jiangnan – Photo by Macao News

Dessert was one of Leung’s personal favourites: homemade kalimeris ice cream. Every year, this perennial – also known as Japanese aster – produces pale blue daisy-like blossoms that herald spring’s arrival. 

“Many people in mainland China use kalimeris for cold dishes or appetisers,” says Leung. “Using it to make ice cream is an innovation. It’s full of spring flavours.”

A culinary calendar of delights

Leung featured heavy-shelled crabs on his spring menu, because they have extra rich, tender meat this time of year
Leung featured heavy-shelled crabs on his spring menu, because they have extra rich, tender meat this time of year – Photo by Macao News

Although the spring menu was for a limited time only, Leung has seen to it that there’s plenty for visitors to fall in love with at Jiang Nan year-round.

“When creating the restaurant’s signatures, I wanted to showcase the renowned regional dishes, such as drunken crabs. Drunken crabs are raw and can be found in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Ningbo. But none are as exquisite as what we prepare at Jiang Nan [by Jereme Leung].” 

Leung selects the best crabs, then cleans them with vinegar using a special device he created himself. “Each year, we sell 10,000 servings of this dish. When we conceived this dish, we took inspiration from regional ingredients and reinterpreted them.”

Another signature is fortune chicken, also known as “Beggar’s Chicken,” a renowned dish in Hangzhou. In a twist, Leung marinates the chicken in a rice wine made in-house. “I’ve also made a salt mould to wrap the chicken into the shape of a gold sycee. Our guests are happy when they see the dish, because a sycee symbolises good fortune,” adds Leung. 

The decor at Jiang Nan creates an ideal backdrop for his detail-oriented cuisine, capturing the essence of 1920s Shanghai – a pivotal period for modern China. It draws from the city’s historic shikumen residences (heritage lane houses), while blending in Art Deco elements and nostalgic touches like vintage radios playing classic Mandarin tunes. 

“Every time you visit, you will discover more design details,” he says proudly. “We’ve combined the design, atmosphere and dishes perfectly, allowing our guests to experience how affluent Jiangnan families enjoyed meals in the past.” 

‘Only in Macao’

Spring flavours blossom in Leung’s homemade spring roll dish with cod fish and preserved bean curd
Spring flavours blossom in Leung’s homemade spring roll dish with cod fish and preserved bean curd – Photo by Macao News

At the heart of Jiang Nan’s success, he says, is the ability to source and transport the freshest ingredients. “It is delightful to work with Sands China. They assisted a lot in transporting the ingredients from Jiangnan to Macao. Sands is very focused on working on my seasonal menus, which impressed me. Many restaurants cannot deliver that.” 

With his restaurant at The Venetian Macao, Leung now finds himself among an illustrious circle of culinary legends, including Zhou Xiaoyan, Gordon Ramsay and Henrique Sá Pessoa, who have all unveiled their respective restaurants at Sands’ integrated resorts.

Through initiatives like the Celebrity Chef Series, Sands China aims to provide a spotlight for the culinary brilliance of chefs like Leung, all while elevating the city’s dining landscape with distinct and memorable experiences. 

“Macao is a culinary capital with high standards for restaurants. Jiang Nan is very special. This restaurant’s menus are the most complicated among all my restaurants,” he says. 

“I hope that our guests can experience the culinary techniques and traditions of Jiangnan through our exquisite interpretations. Only in Macao could we deliver these ideas.”

Explore fresh flavours and a world of gourmet adventures at The Venetian Macao this spring. 

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