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Monday, April 11, 2016

Tête à Tête #24: Kao Dynasty!

I met the Kao sisters at their new restaurant Mr Kao in the Hotel Claris. 
Born in Barcelona, they are the perfect fusion of China & Spain. Their grandfather opened the 1st Chinese restaurant in Barcelona. We spoke about the Chinese cuisine in Spain; the history of their family...

BelleBarcelone: How was Chinese cuisine introduced in Barcelona? How was it accepted?
 Meylan & Nayan Kao: Our grandfather was in China and then went to Taiwan. He married and was working; one day he  met a catholic missionary . The missionary offered him  to come to Spain and opened a restaurant. They opened El Gran Dragon in the 50´s; the 1st Chinese restaurant in the city. It was well accepted in the cosmopolitain city of Barcelona. His wife joined him with their 4 children later on. She also participated in the movie "55 days in Beijing". 
Later on , in 1964,the couple opened their own restaurant on calle Diputación "Pekin". Their 2 last children were born in Barcelona. Jose Maria, our father, was the 1st Chinese child registered in Catalunya.  They then shifted to the "zona alta"in 1976, where the actual Shanghai is. Jose Maria & Louis, the 2 last children of this numerous family, both born in Barcelona have continued in this family business and are till date working in Shanghai as the chef & sommelier. 
BB: What differentiates you from the other Chinese restaurants?
M&N K: Our father introduced local products in his cuisine and offered a haute cuisine. He introduced truffle, poached eggs & seafood which are not usually used in our cuisine. 
BB: What type of clientèle comes?
M&N K: We were lucky to have famous people as well as influent people come to Shanghai; and once Ferran Adria announced that Shanghai was one of his favorite restaurant; the restaurant got even more famous. 
BB: Did you always know you would be in the family business?
M K: I studied fashion, travelled and worked. Once, while in London I liked the concept of the Dim Sum Clubs. I wanted to open one in Barcelona. My dad wasn't convinced; we then travelled to London and he understood the concept better. On May 1st 2014 we opened Kao Dim Sum
BB: How did you decide to expand?
M& N K: We have been lucky to be at the restaurant since we were very young. The customers know us well and many have seen us grow. When we opened Kao Dim Sum many of the same clients came. The ambiance is more informal and it also attracted a different crowd. The Clos family , from the Claris hotel have been our clients and friends since years. They liked the Kao Dim Sum concept and wanted to open a Chinese restaurant, the 1st Chinese in a hotel in Barcelona. And here we have Mr Kao. It is a fusion of Kao Dim Sum & the traditional dishes of Shangai. The name is an homage to our grand father. 
BB: What's the philosophy of your restaurants. 
M & N K: We want to teach how to eat Chinese food, mixing the sauces and trying different combinations. We serve traditional dishes in a modern way. We have introduced pig feet dumplings which are one of our star dishes. A fusion between both the worlds without loosing our signature. We offer healthy cuisine and trying to keep the essence of each ingredient. 
BB: What kind of wine goes with your cuisine. 
M&N K: White wine or sparkling wines  are easier to combine and a french Bourgogne goes with some of our dishes as well. 
BB: What are your favorite dishes?
NK: Cannelloni & green beans with chicken ( a dish we serve at our restaurant). 
MK:  Pekin Duck; but it has to be made by my dad ; " Hogao de Langostinos" ( prawn in a sauce); Xian Long Bao of pancetta (dumplings). 
BB: Your favorite dessert?
M&N K: Fried banana with chocolate, honey and sesame seeds. 
BB: A slogan or a quote ?
NK: Be Yourself!
MK: "This feather may look worthless , but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions." Amy Tan
BB: What makes you happy?
M & N K: Family and good health.
BB: Any pending trip?

M & N K: Yes taking our father to China. He has never been. And now is the time...

Their unique noodles with black truffle! Incredible! 

The fried Banana with chocolate. The Kao sister's favorite. 

Typical century egg, traditional chinese dish: Chinese delicacy 


A day with BelleBarcelone

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