Next week marks the launch of Hakkasan’s celebration of the Chinese ‘Golden Week’ holiday, which will feature a limited edition authentic set menu in their London restaurants in Hanway Place and Mayfair. Other branches of the Hakkasan name across the world (in Shanghai, New York, Miami, San Francisco and Las Vegas) will also put on similar celebratory menus.
The Golden Week holiday was first introduced in 1999 by the government of the People’s Republic of China to ensure that all workers received at least two weeks of continuous holiday each year, improving the standard of living nationwide and giving internal migrants the chance to make long-distance family visits. The first of the twice yearly golden weeks coincides with Chinese New Year in the spring, whilst the second is traditionally in October. Whilst the holiday came under threat several years ago because of the disruption it caused to the domestic economy, in more recent years the holiday has become an annual tourism event for the Chinese as up to 100 million Chinese travel internally on trains alone.
With the emergence of an affluent middle class and the accumulation of disposable income, however, Chinese increasingly use the holiday to travel abroad in search of luxury and entertainment. Hakkasan’s authentic menu is catered to this growing demographic, even employing Mandarin-speaking staff on-site and over the phone to take reservations, as well as accepting China Union Pay, the Chinese credit card of choice. Menus and websites will also be Mandarin translated and staff will be fully trained in Chinese etiquette to ensure the most enjoyable experience possible. Other London businesses could learn a lot from this strategy, as the capital has become the most popular tourist destination globally for the Chinese.
Hakkasan’s executive head chef Tong has also tailored the Golden Week menu to cater specifically to traditional Chinese tastes. Thoughtful nods to Chinese cultural traditions, such as the menu’s cost at £88.88 per person (celebrating the traditionally auspicious number 8) highlights the attention to detail that Hakkasan has become famous for. The menu includes classics, such as Peking duck with caviar and Hakkasan’s trademark dim sum platter, as well as dishes less familiar to a British audience. The fried rice with abalone will offer Londoners something different, whilst providing those more accustomed to Chinese tastes with a traditional to remind them of home.
The meal will be rounded off in style with a bespoke box containing hand-made golden Champagne and popping candy macarons, a gift for each guest to take home with them. The menu will run for two weeks from the 29th September.
The expansion of Hakkasan into the Middle East, as well as Shanghai, reflects the global appeal of the brand. Started in London by the hugely successful restaurateur Alan Yau OBE (the man behind Wagamama and Yauatcha), the brand has gained a loyal following since it opened its first restaurant almost fifteen years ago. It has held a Michelin star for over a decade.