Local Face: Kam Wing Tang

Wendover Peking Restaurant, in the High Street, is such a feature of local life that it is hard to believe that it only came into being in 1982. An enterprising young man called Kam Wing Tang decided to put into practice all the good instruction he had been getting at his father’s restaurant.

Wendover Peking quickly gained an excellent reputation for fine food and wines so that when the computer shop next door moved on in 1986 it was logical to expand This provided the opportunity to include a small dance floor and associated dining area for private functions. Mr Tang is always looking for ways to improve the restaurant layout, service and menu.

Since China chose to start lifting “The Bamboo Curtain” back in the late 1970’s Westerners have learnt more about the oldest surviving civilisation on our planet. As well as hearing about poetry, painting and martial arts we have had the opportunity to sample the most telling cultural indicator cuisine. Chinese

Restaurants have been flourishing in these slands since the Sixties and thirty years on we are ready to learn about regional Chinese cooking, not just the Westernised “chop suey” and “chow mein” which probably originated in San Francisco.

We are indeed fortunate that Mr Tang chose Wendover to benefit from his knowledge of Chinese Haute Cuisine. He chose to specialise in Peking or Mandarin.

The philosophy of Chinese eating encompasses all that is best in good living. The central theme of Chinese Living is Balance and so every Chinese meal should be balanced and very varied. Small quantities of lean meats are combined with a high proportion of vegetables. Fresh seafood should always feature. Many methods of cooking are involved, often more than one in each dish: steamed followed by deep-fried; boiled and simmered to nearly dry then quick-fried to a crescendo-at the last moment before dishing out; deep-fried first then quick-fried with other ingredients; in addition, the food is usually marinaded before or between these various processes.

Peking Cuisine itself incorporates the “small-eats” available in the famous East Market of Peking (a variety of local sweet and steamed dishes); classical dishes handed down from the Imperial Kitchens and others use lamb which is a special feature of the Mongolian countryside.

A banquet dish renowned throughout all of China is Peking Duck and it is a point of local interest that Aylesbury Duck has been used in China for over 100 years now.