18 February 2016

Menus made for expectant moms

Menus made for expectant moms
Double boiled whole papaya with almond juice. Provided to China Daily
When I met Chef , Chinese executive chef at The Langham, at Michelin-starred T'ang Court, I was enjoying the dishes from the third trimester pregnancy menu that the restaurant offers.

There is not only a menu for each of the three trimesters, but a post-pregnancy menu as well.

Chef Siu and his team have created these menus because, "... modern women have their increased knowledge and are therefore more interested in food ...", especially when they are eating for two.

Chef Siu noted that many couples were expecting in the Year of the Dragon, and so he worked with his team, dieticians, and doctors, to come up with healthy, satisfying, and delicious menus for each stage of pregnancy.

Actually, T'ang Court first offered these menus in January 2008 and has relaunched them for the Year of the Dragon.

Each meal is designed to have a variety of textures and flavors as well as nutritional balance for the expectant mom and the growing baby.

I had expected the dishes on the menus to make use of a lot of Chinese herbs, but instead the program makes sure foods are rich in fiber, folic acid, iron, calcium, collagen, B vitamins - and low in salt.

The first trimester menu features double-boiled sea whelk and chicken with American ginseng soup, bird's nest, sauteed sliced garoupa, and fried multi-grains with sliced kelp and sliced vegetables.

The menu has been designed to provide folic acid, iron, and calcium, which are necessary for the developing child's nervous system. Chef Siu has included foods rich in these nutrients, such as legumes, fish, milk, and kelp.

For the second and third trimesters, protein and calcium become essential for the growing baby, so Chef Siu has made use of high-protein, low-fat ingredients for these two menus: sea cucumber, fish maw and hasma.

The post-pregnancy menu blends ginger, radix codonopsis (dang shen), and beef to stimulate the circulatory system and boost the immune system.

Chef Siu was quick to stress that though the menus were designed for expectant mothers, they can be enjoyed by everyone - including men.

Menus made for expectant moms
With the predicted increase in the number of pregnant women, the idea that this restaurant is offering special menus for this group of people should not be surprising.

It may be a way to bring diners in, but it also highlights the need for pregnant women to eat well - not just in great quantities - and eat healthfully.

The pregnancy set menus are HK$550 ($70) per person (plus 10 percent service charge). The four six-course set menus must be ordered one day in advance to ensure availability.