TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang
As we stand in front of Long Yue and appreciate the free-spirited cursive scriptures, it is as if we have fallen into the stream of time, a place that lies between change and solidity where we can discover authentic Cantonese cuisine. “The ghost plant is a symbol of eternity and inheritance. Chef Chit-Ming Kan had been cooking for almost 60 years, so if we could bring his cooking to Taipei, that is true inheritance,” says Frank Liu, founder of Long Yue. With a similar persistence towards creating fresh flavors, the two bonded over their passion for good food and opened Long Yue—a top-notch Cantonese restaurant with a focus on “warmth” was thus born.
說起朧粵的創立由來，一切可回溯至 2018 年 Frank 前往上海，造訪港籍名廚簡捷明主理的喜粵八號，對於從小吃粵菜長大的他，少油少鹽少糖的滋味使 Frank 印象相當深刻，「大多人對於粵菜的認知是古老的，從街邊小吃做到酒樓、高檔餐廳，味道是比較重的，可是喜粵八號的菜吃得到食物的本味，是我很少體驗過的感受。」當時便冀望能邀請簡師傅來台客座，將獨樹一格的粵菜帶來台灣，於是藉朋友引薦，並答應簡師傅要求帶五位廚師的條件，為期四天的蘭餐廳客座餐會，博得了眾多饕客們的廣大迴響。為了延續簡師傅的好手藝，Frank 進而詢問來台開設粵菜餐廳的意願，起初簡師傅以不熟識台灣食材為由婉拒，歷經幾番懇切邀請，終獲簡師傅的首肯，「我當時答應 Frank，把我最好的一面呈現在台灣的粵菜，要有四個香港人，我也要求一定要新鮮的原料。」
如何辨別一間粵菜餐廳的正統性，Frank 表示可以從「炒青菜」與「炒飯」嘗出端倪，以青菜的挑選部位、當季性與炒功，便能八成參透其用心程度與品質標準。若來朧粵用餐，他則推薦來上一碗「極品花膠燉螺肉湯」，看似澄澈如水、毫無雜質，鮮味卻十足豐富，第一口與最後一口的味道同樣甘甜，「看似簡單，實際上蘊藏了很多的工夫；看似清淡，可是滋味飽滿，呈現高雅的風格。」與朧粵所傳遞的料理宗旨不謀而合。在廚房素有「魔鬼」之稱的簡師傅，說起給年輕學子的建議，他首先點出「刻苦耐勞」的重要性，不要斤斤計較，而是要負起相對的責任感，也笑答其他人應該都對他又愛又恨，「時間久了，必然會有所收穫。」對於朧粵的未來規劃，Frank 透露拿星並不是首要目標，讓客人能吃得「開心」，便是他們所追求的平實安定，「唯有這個開心，才能讓你在任何困難與危機情況下走過去。」尤其歷經疫情過後，他更加堅信了這一點。
Third Time’s the Charm
Speaking of the founding of Long Yue, it all goes back to 2018, when Frank traveled to Shanghai and visited Chef Kan’s Canton 8. Growing up eating Cantonese food, Frank was surprised by the amazing flavors, despite everything being cooked with less oil, salt and sugar. “Most people’s knowledge of Cantonese cuisine is more old-fashioned. From street food to high-end restaurants, the flavors are pretty heavy. But at Canton 8 you actually taste the original flavor of the ingredients, it’s something that I have never experienced.” Hoping to invite Chef Kan to Taiwan as a guest chef, Frank accepted Chef Kan’s request to bring five chefs with him. With his distinctive Cantonese cuisine, the special four day guest chef event at Orchid was a huge success. To continue Chef Kan’s exceptional skills, Frank inquired about the possibility of opening a Cantonese restaurant here in Taiwan together. At first, Chef Kan declined the offer because he felt like he was not familiar with Taiwanese ingredients. With earnest and sincerity, Frank held firm on his invitation until Chef Kan finally said yes. “I promised Frank that I will do my best to bring the most authentic Cantonese food to Taiwan. In return, I’ll need four Cantonese chefs and the freshest ingredients.”
The Unyielding Principles
Led by Chef Kan, the elite team of Long Yue includes Executive Chef Fook-Chun Wu, Executive Sous Chef Yat Kei Cheung, Dim Sum Chef Wai Ming Wong and BBQ Chef Bou Sang Yam.Totaling about 230 years of culinary experience, they are not only capable of presenting authentic Cantonese food, but are also trying to leave a pure impression in the hearts of their guests. Speaking of Chef Kan’s persistence when it comes to cooking, it’s all about creating lighter flavors with less oil and less salt. “At first, some guests found my cooking too bland and asked for more seasoning. I refused and told them they don’t have to dine here. If you choose to come here, then you have to respect my belief.” He believes the only thing that matters in life is health, and the best way to maintain health is through eating good and eating healthy. By adhering to his principles of a good diet, Chef Kan still remains fit and healthy at the age of 72, with his eyes beaming with a passionate glow. When it comes to the use of ingredients, he emphasizes one rule, “First come, first serve. Never leave it for over two days.” For example, a few days ago, he decided to stop serving his signature fried rice for two days because they were lacking one ingredient—a showcase of his strive for perfection through holding on to his own culinary principles.
Pure Culinary Art
So how do we define the authenticity of a Cantonese restaurant? Frank says just look at their stir-fried vegetables and fried rice. The selection, seasonality and stir-fry techniques are the keys to telling whether or not a chef knows what he or she is doing. If you ever come to Long Yue, he recommends trying out the Double-boiled Fish Maw and Sea Conch Soup. With an appearance that is clear like water, the soup is actually rich with flavors and freshness. He guarantees your first sip and your last will taste equally sweet. “It seems easy but it actually takes a lot of effort and skill. It may appear bland but it is full of elegant, rich flavors.” When asked about the advice he would give to younger cooks, Chef Kan, who is known to be the “devil” of the kitchen, says it’s important to be hardworking, have stamina and be responsible instead of judgmental. Laughing lightly, he thinks the staff probably loves and hates him at the same time. “As time goes on, you will definitely gain something.” Speaking of the future of Long Yue, Frank says getting the Michelin Star is not the priority. Instead, making sure the guests are enjoying their meals is the stability they are aspiring to achieve. “Their satisfaction is the only thing that will support us through challenges and difficulties.” Especially with the hardship of living in a pandemic, he has never been more certain this is the only goal.
朧粵 Longyue / 地址：台北市中山區樂群三路303號2樓 /訂位專線：02-8502-5522