0 comments on “Steeped: Traditional Tea Culture in Asia
 

Steeped: Traditional Tea Culture in Asia
 

Though often linked with England, scones and clotted cream, a variety of rich legends about the origin of tea exist throughout Asia, highlighting its deep cultural ties to the continent. According to one Chinese legend, Emperor Shen accidentally made the first cup of tea nearly 5,000 years ago, when he was purifying water beneath the shade of a tea tree and a few dried leaves blew into his pot.

Here’s a brief glimpse at tea traditions across Asia:

China
First prospering during the Tang Dynasty and considered one of the seven Chinese necessities, tea has a storied history in China. Teahouses, tea ceremonies, and everyday tea are all elements embedded in Chinese culture. Green tea makes the most popular choice, prized for its health benefits. Notably, cups of tea in China are never served full – it’s considered impolite.

India
As the world’s second-largest tea grower, tea is popular throughout India, brewed both at home and at ubiquitous tea stalls. Masala chai, black tea with a blend of spices such as cinnamon, ginger and green cardamom, is traditionally served at breakfast and during the evening, with warmed milk and sugar.

Japan
Formal Japanese tea ceremonies date back to the 16th century, and are still practiced throughout the country. The secular rituals feature Matcha tea, a type of stone ground green tea, served in special ceramic ware and traditional Japanese sweets to balance the bitterness of the tea.

Afternoon Tea On Board
During your next voyage with Oceania Cruises, embrace the ancient tradition of tea and sample artisanal teas during Afternoon Tea from our signature tea collection, which in addition to classics such as English breakfast and Earl Grey, includes an array of more exotic black, herbal, green and white teas.


BLACK TEA
Orchid Vanilla
Madagascar vanilla, coconut slivers, luxurious, indulging

HERBAL TEA
Ginger Lemongrass
Spring lemongrass, soft ginger, balanced, invigorating

GREEN TEA
China Gunpowder
Hand-rolled green tea leaves, aromatic oils, grassy, stimulating

WHITE TEA
White Ginger Pear
Japanese pear, hint of ginger, exotic, alluring

0 comments on “Recipe: Pomelo Banh Trang Rolls
 

Recipe: Pomelo Banh Trang Rolls
 

By Executive Chef & Director of Culinary Enrichment Kathryn Kelly

These fresh spring rolls are perfect for the last hot days of summer. Similar to rolling sushi, the assembly of these rolls is fun and easy. You need slightly damp hands to keep the rice paper from sticking to your fingers. I’ve put my own twist on the Vietnamese banh trang rolls we serve at Red Ginger, and you can easily experiment with different ingredients and create your own version at home.

Serves 4

MIANG DIPPING SAUCE
1 cup palm sugar
½ cup water
1 Thai chili
¼ cup coconut flakes, toasted
¼ cup crushed macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons ginger juice

POMELO ROLLS
Segments of 4 pomelos
¼ cup coconut flakes, toasted
¼ cup salted dry-roasted peanuts, finely crushed
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
8 Thai basil leaves, chiffonade
8 mint leaves, chiffonade
8 rice paper rounds
8 butter lettuce leaves
8 chive stems

MAKE THE SAUCE
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, water and chili and warm, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Let cool and divide among 4 small bowls.

PREPARE THE ROLLS
In a medium bowl, combine the pomelo segments, coconut, peanuts, shallot, basil and mint. Soak a rice
paper in lukewarm water until soft and then lay out on a damp kitchen towel. Top with a lettuce leaf and one-eighth of the pomelo mixture. Roll up the rice paper like a burrito or gather up the edges to form a pouch. Tie with a chive stem. Repeat to make 8 rolls and serve with the dipping sauce.

0 comments on “Jacques Pépin’s Favorite Dishes On Board
 

Jacques Pépin’s Favorite Dishes On Board
 

A culinary legend among legends, Master Chef Jacques Pépin was the personal chef to three French heads of state, wrote an encyclopedic guide to French cooking that has become a classic among professional chefs, has charmed an entire nation with his many PBS cooking series – and as you may know, has been our Executive Culinary Director since the beginning. Curious about what this culinary guru and beloved chef orders when he dines aboard our ships? Us too. We sat down with him to find out which dishes catch his eye time and time again.


 

The Grand Dining Room
The surf and turf is one of my favorites. Beautiful filet mignon with great lobster tail. And you can’t find it done better in any of the restaurants in New York, you know.

Jacques Bistro (at The Grand Dining Room during lunch)
Salade Niçoise with a glass of rosé, of course!


 

Jacques
At my namesake restaurant, there is no great food without great wine. A little bit of Bordeaux has to go with it. I have to have escargot, of course – that classic French dish. The bouillabaisse is a favorite and we also have beautiful roast chicken – a must. For dessert, I like to go with the baba au rhum, which is like a very nice sponge cake soaked in dark rum.

Terrace Café
When it’s in the evening, I have the tapas, which I love, and the paella is terrific with the rice and saffron different types of shrimp in it and chorizo. The prosciutto is excellent, and there is always terrific cheese available.


 

Red Ginger
I always enjoy the lobster pad Thai. It’s become an Oceania Cruises favorite for a very good reason.

Polo Grill
Polo Grill is one of my favorite restaurants since I love steak. I mean I’ve had veal shank here, a grilled veal shank which was really extraordinary. And the Angus steak – you can’t beat that. It’s aged properly; it’s done right. You will never be disappointed with a baked potato here or with the prosciutto and melon or shrimp cocktail to start. You can tell it’s one of my favorites, no?


 

Toscana
So you know in a place like Toscana, a real Italian restaurant, there is a great array of pasta and you really can’t go wrong. I mean from linguine cioppino, linguine with clams and black mussels and shrimp to the ravioli, and then there is the gnocchi …the gnocchi with the pesto which is just out of this world – the best that I’ve ever had. I also really enjoy the carpaccio, you know the fillet of beef very thinly sliced with fresh basil on top. I mean all I can say is – it’s an embarrassment of riches.

0 comments on “Recipe: Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Coconut Soup)
 

Recipe: Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Coconut Soup)
 

Tom Kha Gai Soup

This quintessential Thai chicken coconut soup is a deliciously aromatic accompaniment to any meal with an Asian flair or a complete meal on its own. This soup is served in Red Ginger, our Asian restaurant on board, and you can learn this recipe and other Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese favorites from this restaurant during our “Most Requested Red Ginger” class at The Culinary Center on Marina and Riviera.

According to Chef Kathryn Kelly, Executive Chef & Director of Culinary Enrichment, Thai cuisine is best characterized as complex, balanced, fresh and spicy – and this classic chicken and coconut soup brings that description to life with fresh lemongrass, lime juice, coconut milk, Thai chilies and galangal – which is also known as Thai ginger and is in the ginger family, but the flavor is markedly more citrusy and earthy.

Tom Khai Gai Soup

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Serves 6

16 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 stalks lemongrass, mashed
1 cup coarsely chopped galangal
8 kaffir lime leaves
2 Thai chilies
6 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 cups straw mushroom pieces
18 cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of 3 to 5 limes
18 cilantro leaves

In a large stockpot over medium heat, combine the chicken stock, lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and chilies and simmer until the stock reduces by half, about 1½ to 2 hours. Decrease the heat to low, add the chicken and poach to an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C. Remove the chicken, let cool and shred. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.

Return the stock to the stockpot over medium heat, reheat the stock and add the coconut milk and fish sauce. Divide the shredded chicken, mushroom pieces and cherry tomatoes among 6 bowls. Just before serving, stir the lime juice into the stock, adjusting the amount to taste. Divide the stock among the bowls, garnish each with cilantro leaves and enjoy!

0 comments on “Sommelier’s Recommended Australia & New Zealand Wines”

Sommelier’s Recommended Australia & New Zealand Wines

What better way to acquaint yourself with the volcanic landscape and lush forests of New Zealand and the multicultural verve and wild outback of Australia than with some wine? Whether you are dreaming of exploring the vineyards of Auckland and sipping wine harbor-side in Sydney — or are simply in the mood for some wine from Down Under, we have some delicious choices for you. Read on for our sommelier’s top three selections!