If you're planning a trip to Macau, here's another thing to add to your checklist: Wynn Macau's Golden Flower restaurant. In an elegant setting reminiscent of another era, the nearly-lost treasured Tan cuisine of China’s Qing Dynasty continues to flourish at the skilled hands of executive chef Master Liu Guo Zhu, who oversees all Chinese culinary operations in Wynn Macau.
Unassuming and down-to-earth, chef Liu approaches his craft with a quiet integrity. A true specialist in Tan cuisine as well as Sichuan and Lu cooking, he masters the art of the rare cuisine and elevates it onto the international stage. Tan cuisine is a painstakingly meticulous process—this is no place for the brazen stir-fries commonly seen at Chinese restaurants. Here, careful consideration must be put into even the smallest of details. Chef Liu approaches the process with an impressive diligence, from cleaning out a swallow’s nest and cooking it until it reaches the perfect blend of texture and flavour, to overseeing a hen slow-cooked for eight hours.
It is this scrupulous approach that result in impeccably authentic dishes and have earned him worldwide praise. According to chef Liu, Tan cuisine is about truly understanding the ingredients behind each dish and how to use them properly. Ever an innovator, he encourages his team to improve upon recipes, thereby establishing a more open creative learning environment than that found in traditionally regimented Chinese kitchens.
The story of Tan cuisine started when Tan Zongjun moved from Guangdong to Beijing as a high-ranking official in the Qing dynasty, bringing with him his local cuisine. When things became unstable during the final years of the Qing era, his son Zhuangqing opened a restaurant serving his father’s recipes exclusively for Beijing’s elites. Later, the family opted to close the restaurant, and Tan cooking became properly taught in the kitchens of Beijing Hotel. It was here where chef Liu trained.
Decades later, chef Liu made it his mantra to uphold the traditions of the storied Tan family. As he moved up the ranks at the Beijing Hotel and became a master chef with his own apprentices in the 70s, Liu began cooking for foreign dignitaries such as the Queen of England, US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Chinese leader Deng Xiao Ping. He was also the first Mainland Chinese chef to receive the Rôtisseur award from the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in 1991.
A perfect example of chef Liu’s culinary artistry is his signature stewed fish maw and crab claw in supreme chicken soup. The most popular dish at Golden Flower, it is prepared meticulously using the finest materials, the most important being the chicken—a free-range hen raised for three years, resulting in meat that is especially flavourful and tender. The chicken is slow-cooked for eight hours with Jinhua ham and aged duck for a divinely rich broth with a perfect blend of tastes.
In addition to hosting sophisticated Chinese cuisine, the Golden Flower’s interiors reflect China’s historic influence on the world, including a tea lounge and reception room inspired by the Peacock Room in the home of British tycoon Frederick Leyland. Wynn Macau’s tea purveyor and in-house tea sommelier—a first for Macau—presents a wide variety of premium teas from China’s best-known tea regions. Working with Golden Flower’s chefs, the tea sommelier guides guests through an extensive selection of teas that best complement Tan, Lu (Shandong) and Sichuan dishes.
Get a taste of authentic Tan cuisine at Golden Flower from 11:30am-2:30pm on weekends and 6pm-10:30pm from Tuesday to Sunday. For more information, or to make your bookings, visit wynnmacau.com or call +853 8986 3663.