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Breaking Away from Escoffier: Shangri-La Paris Adds Shang Palace to Its Restaurant Roster

September 29, 2011 at 3:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

Craving Chinese food in the City of Light? Tough luck. Paris, a city whose food landscape is dominated by Michelin-starred giants and scads of butter, butter, butter, has a slim selection "World" options for those who grow weary of eating confit something-or-other meal after meal. Yet, Paris is making an effort to break away from its Escoffier-centric roots, with fusion restaurants and diverse foreign cuisines garnering some attention as of late.

Joining this pack of internationally-themed restaurants is Shang Palace at the Shangri-La Hotel, specializing in Cantonese cooking. Recently opened, Shang Palace is Shangri-La's first gourmet Chinese restaurant in Europe, which speaks to a certain lack of diversity that the chain is attempting to right.

Belonging to the posh family of hotels means that the food must live up to certain haute cuisine standards, which is why you'll find offerings like Poulet du Mendiant, or, "Beggars Chicken," whose preparation is so intensive it must be ordered a full 24-hours in advance. (We guffaw at the "Beggars" appellation.)

During our recent Paris jaunt, we noticed that even restaurants billing themselves as "ethnic" found ways to slip in throughly French touches. Shang Palace does the same, offering Goose Foie Gras alongside fish dishes. A meal without foie is a meal not worth one's time, apparently.

Shang Palace is helmed by Chef Frank Xu, whose roots lie in traditional Cantonese cuisine with a focus on seasonal ingredients, seafood, and "refinement." In other words, this isn't quite the establishment you'd find Ralphie and his family patronizing for a last minute Christmas meal.

[Photo: Shangri-La Hotels]

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