New Zealand takes China
How many times would you say you’ve come across venison on a Chinese menu? Realistically the chances are slim to none… but that’s hopefully looking to change with New Zealand importers attempting to increase the demand out here in China. Most of us associate venison with hearty stews, at least in the U.K we do, but it has proven to be a versatile meat and tastes damn good in Chinese dishes.
Mark Chen, chef at the Westin Hotel’s ‘The Crystal Garden’ was the first chef to incorporate venison onto a Chinese menu. The two staple dishes on the menu are the sautéed “mountain” venison rump with celery and oyster sauce. On first appearance it looked like your standard beef stir-fried dish but upon tasting, you could appreciate the flavour of the venison as it managed to come through the heavy seasoning typical to a Chinese dish. Chen has also changed up a classic pot-sticker dumpling simply by using venison as the meat. The unique flavour of venison complimented by the vinegar perfectly just as it would any pork dumpling… maybe even slightly better.
This introduction of venison is what some might call a welcome change, venison is higher in iron than beef and lamb and all round supposedly healthier. New Zealand is attempting to crack the market here in China, with over 50 restaurants in Shanghai already having venison on their menus. Although, given that most of these are western restaurants the next real target are the Chinese ones. And actually, New Zealand are seeing steady progress in the promotion of farm raised venison with Fly By Jing putting on a Sichuan soul food dinner showcasing venison along with further Kiwi products next week. So who knows, maybe New Zealand’s venison can break the Chinese market.
And… That’s it!