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Chef Samuel Lee presides over his culinary palace like a king over his kingdom. His kingdom, though, is the Michelin-starred Chinese dining room, Shang Palace, inside the stunning Shangri-La Hotel in Paris. Now, whether you’re a fan of Chinese food or not, this experience, in its entirety, will impress you and leave you with a new understanding and appreciation of the art of Cantonese cooking that you might have never thought possible before.

I dined recently here, a guest inside a gastronomic heaven. I sat alone, at a corner table, with a view over the entire restaurant. Chinese servers dressed to the nines came to greet me, brining me scented hot towels to cleanse my hands. A glass of champagne was delivered promptly, which I drank, but followed by a premium Oolong green tea, as I wasn’t in the mood for alcohol.

A menu was presented and my server walked me through options that really were a path leading me through a colorful journey of traditional Cantonese cooking. Peaking duck, noodle dishes, rice of all varieties – they were all options. The dumplings were, by far, my favorite. Deep-fried prawns with crispy garlic and chili made an indelible impact, and so did the Shangri-La rice inside a lotus leaf.

I indulged in many courses here, one after the other. A few of my favorites were the Peaking duck – so sweet and crispy; as well as salmon Lo Hei. I ended dinner with the restaurant’s signature chilled mango cream with pomelo and sago. It was all so delicious.

Dinner here was busy, yet quiet. You hardly heard a peep amongst the low decibel chatter from each table. It was refined, elegant and relaxing – a great environment to concentrate of the art of the cuisine before you. Shang Palace is a must for any foodie and you will see how quickly it will become one of your favorite dining experiences – ever.