Culinary Anthropologist

Secret Kitchen, Fri 17th & Sat 18th Feb 2017 – Cantonese masala

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Da pai dong near Stanley Street Hong Kong May 2016 copy t


Cantonese masala: the surprising stories of spicy food in China’s Pearl River Delta

Take a journey into the kitchens and cafes of 19th century Canton as we explore how experiments with spices have resulted in dishes that are now part of Macanese, Hong Kong or Cantonese culinary heritage.


Goanese balichao in a Macau wet market January 2016 copy t‘Star Ferry’ sours

Vodka-based cocktails flavoured with fresh tamarind, lemongrass and cinnamon.

Chicken chillicotes and vegetarian chamuças

Dainty, spicy and crispy, and transcending time and borders, samosas, chillicotes and curry puffs are as much a part of Cantonese snacking as their cousins in India, parts of Africa and the Americas.

Pork rib ‘tea’

Thought to be a 19th century ‘prescription’ from the Chinese apothecary to keep dockers strong and warm, this Cantonese soup is a rich broth flavoured with spices and packed with meat, mushrooms and tofu.

Macanese pork vinha d’alho with sticky rice and Chinese greens

This dish is at the heart of the fusion that defines Macanese cooking. Flavoured with Chinese wine, turmeric, garlic and other aromatics, it challenges our views on its contemporary cousin, vindaloo.

Steamed ginger milk pudding

A classic Cantonese dessert combining south China’s buffalo herding and ginger growing traditions. Light ginger syrup, extracted fresh from the root, gently sets the frothy milk into sweet creamy pudding.


Mukta Das Profile Cooking 2 tThis special Secret Kitchen is a collaboration with fellow anthropologist Mukta Das. Mukta is a social justice worker and researcher of food and immigration. As an anthropologist she recently spent a year in Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou with professional chefs and home cooks, and in the archives, uncovering some of the ways the centuries old maritime spice trade and the attendent travelling cooks carved deep and aromatic channels into the everyday cooking in these old cities.

Mukta is also an exceptionally good cook. Book early to avoid disappointment!

Please let us know about any dietary requirements when you make your booking. We can offer a vegetarian menu, but please be sure to check with us if you have other requirements.

Event:Secret Kitchen
Date(s):Friday 17th & Saturday 18th February 2017
Time:7.30pm - 11pm
Location:London N5 (Arsenal tube 2 mins walk)
Book now
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