10 questions with EXECUTIVE CHEF Tony Xiao rom The Westin Xian

What inspired you to be a chef?
I Love food, food can bring happiness. It’s a wonderful process to pick and match with a variety of nutrients , the perfect match can make people’s lives more healthy and happy. I think this is very interesting.

How long have you been a chef?
23 years, since1994.

2-1What is your culinary background?
Chinese cuisine, good at Cantonese cuisine.

What would you say is your signature dish?
Kung Fu soup, simmered beef, Shunde Daliang baked fish head. Those are classic Cantonese dishes, and you can try them at Five Zen5es in The Westin Xian.

Has the local cuisine inspired you at all?
Yes. It’s famous for its noodles, and also the local soups and stews are something very new for me. I hope we can make a lot of fusion dishes here and make Cantonese and Shaanxi cuisine spark each other.

What is your favorite local dish?
Hu lu chicken and, of course, the local noodles. Hulu chicken actually tastes a bit similar to Guangdong crispy chicken, it reminds me of home. However, the difference between noodles and Cantonese cuisine is very large. The flour made from selected barley is very glutinous. With garnish and seasoning, the taste is very different from what I’m used to eating. It is this difference that has caught me.

How has your expertise in Cantonese cuisine affected your cooking in general?
I think Cantonese is the best of all Chinese cuisines; it’s light, it’s healthy, it’s delicious. The ingredients used are very particular. Because of that, I got in the habit of being very selective when choosing ingredients in my daily work.

How long have you been working in Xi’an?
2 months. Even though I’ve been here a short time, I find it very interesting. Xi’an has a rich history.

What is your favorite local ingredient to use when cooking?
Onion, ginger, garlic, soy sauce.

What is a food that you love that might surprise people?
Fungus, black truffle. It’s very healthy. Most people think it’s hard to cook, but in fact, a simple soup can really bring out its delicious qualities.