This is the first restaurant of Teochew cuisine that I got to know from Shenzhen. And after almost 20 years, I returned to this “old” brandname for some nostalgic tastes of Teochew food.
History of Carrianna Chiu Chow Restaurant
Started in the 1980s in Hong Kong, Carrianna Chiuchow Restaurant was the go-to brand for high-end Teochew food.
When the Shenzhen miracle started, Carrianna opened in Luohu with a flagship restaurant and a hotel. Because many businessmen were from Chaoshan regions, Teochew cuisine was considered the cuisine of choice among the rich. That was Carrianna’s heydays.
These days, they offer a mix of Cantonese and Teochew cuisines. And in some of the restaurants they offer dim sums for breakfast and lunch.
This is Cantonese-style rice roll. The difference with Teochew rice rolls was that the ingredients for the fillings were added after the rice rolls were prepared. 香茜牛肉肠 Minced Beef Rice Rolls was seldom offered outside of Hong Kong and Guangdong. The parsley went very well with oyster sauce marinated minced beef.
翡翠鲜虾肠 Fresh Tiger Prawns Rice Rolls was the more popular one seen everywhere. Prawn rice rolls were my favourite dim sum since childhood. This one was slight thicker than my preference but the sauce made up for it.
XO酱炒萝卜糕 Fried Radish Cake with XO Sauce was a recent addition to the dim sum repertoire. People were not satisfied with just pan fried radish cake. Shredded spicy conpoy called XO sauce was added for that extra kick and the rest were history. The shredded cabbage in their versions totally unnecessary.
Cantonese are famous for their roast meats – BBQ Pork. roast pork belly, roast duck, roast goose. Carrianna was really good with their 果木蜜汁叉烧 Lychee Wood Smoked BBQ Pork. The cut was a bit too fatty for my liking, but still it was delicious. The branches from lychee tree were used to smoke the meat. The caramelised chashiu 叉烧 sauce that clang to the meat provided all the flavours.
胡椒咸菜猪肚汤 Pig’s Offals Soup with Pickled Mustard is a Teochew street food that seldom seen on restaurant menus because it was not fancy. A lot of work needed to be done to prepare the offals to be cooked in a hot, peppery soup based. I especially loved the chitterlings 粉肠 and blood pudding 猪红 in the soup. Everything was stewed to perfection without any weird taste of offals. Excellent!
A Teochew supper must-order, 肉碎蠔仔粥 Oyster and Minced Pork Porridge was simply oyster and minced pork soup poured onto cooked rice and simmered further to produce porridge. Unlike Cantonese porridge, each grain of rice was unbroken and you get a clear bowl of soup and rice. The essential component of this porridge was dried bonito fish. Different from the Japanese bonito flakes, the bones of the fish were dried and then deep fried. The resulting umami and smokiness was amazing.
Early in 1915, a foreign breed of pigeon was brought to Zhongshan 中山 from the US by overseas Zhongshan people. They were cross-bred with local pigeons and a new variety was found. After that, pigeon farmers continued cross-breeding between this new variety and other exotic species. Up until the 1930s, another new variety featuring multiple advantages and suitable for local breeding was found. Given that these pigeons originated from Shiqi District and surrounding areas, they were named “Shiqi Pigeon” 石岐乳鸽.
I am a big sucker for roast pigeon even though I was disappointed time and time again in China. For its proximity to Hong Kong, I was hoping it would be good. But they were still smaller and leaner than the Shatin pigeon 沙田乳鸽. Nevertheless, this is by far the best I had in China so far. While the technique was undoubtably solid, the Shiqi pigeon used was still not as good as the ones from Shatin.
I ate at their flagship restaurant back in 2006, it was a very posh restaurant with solid Teochew cuisine. But the Carrianna group has seen better times. These days, Teochew cuisine is no longer in rage and Carrianna fades into the shadows with competitors from newer players. Nevertheless their food is still as good, as this visit has proven.
Tel : (86) 755-8272 8001 / 8272 8002
Date visited : Jan 2022