MEXICO CITY, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- For executive chef Luis A. Chiu, whose family started in the food business in Mexico City's Chinatown back in 1946, he is the only person in Mexico to take advantage of his culinary heritage to recreate Chinese tradition with an extensive variety of dishes from four of the Asian giant's gastronomic regions.
In 2011, Chiu set about figuring out how to present traditional Chinese cuisine and decided to open his own restaurant. Today, Asian Bay is located in the heart of the La Condesa neighborhood, a high point of Mexican cuisine and fashion.
Asian Bay, according to Chiu, offers food from all corners of China, northern cuisine from Beijing, southern style from Guangdong, eastern flavors from Shanghai and western recipes from Sichuan.
Chiu, who owns Asian Bay with his father, has a degree in gastronomy and a diploma in Chinese cuisine from Hong Kong. He first made his mark in Marriott hotels in Shanghai, with this wide experience allowing him to learn traditional Chinese cuisine and international food.
In an interview with Xinhua, Chiu says that what many around the world associate with Chinese food is only Cantonese cuisine when, in reality, "there are thousands of dishes from different provinces."
"La Condesa has always been a hot spot for good flavors. Therefore, we decided to set up here and open the restaurant where we started from scratch. It was still very difficult. People couldn't differentiate one style of cuisine from another. We had to make two menus, one with traditional food and another that was more commercial," Chiu told Xinhua.
At first, the traditional menu catered to people born in China who might enjoy a taste of home. These customers formed much of the restaurant's early base, as they invited their local friends or business partners.
"What was surprising was that our countrymen invited their guests. Then, Mexican people and the same people returned the week after with their own families after having tried. They even recommended some of our Chinese dishes. It is incredible how word of mouth spreads," acknowledged Chiu.
Beijing duck, Sichuan-style spicy pig's ears, and century eggs with tofu, spicy soy sauce and garlic are some of those included among the wide variety of dishes offered at Asian Bay. The last dish mentioned is particularly difficult to replicate abroad, according to the young chef.
Chiu admits, however, that the restaurant has some of his own creations, such as Asian Bay Chicken, with a sweet salsa and jalapeno chile. The jalapeno was added to give a Mexican dish to a range of dishes.
"I believe that Mexico and China have many things in common which can unite us. The love of gastronomy and the love of eating well, wherever you may be," said Chiu.
The restaurant is also a reference point for showcasing age-old dishes from some Chinese cities and provinces, such as Nanjing.
"This came from the idea that we wanted to go a step beyond, making the best of China's food, tradition and culture," explained the chef. He added that China's culture is present across Asian Bay, from its decoration to its food.
In 2017, he hopes to hold a culinary demonstration in Mexico City with experts and products from Beijing and other Chinese cities to Mexico City.