Chinese New Year 2015's Festive Dining (Part 1)
Chinese New Year 2015 is fast approaching, have you made your festive dining reservations yet? For many Singaporeans, no Chinese New Year meal is complete without Lo Hei Yu Sheng or Pen Cai or both. Which is your favourite Chinese New Year dish? I was privileged to have had a preview of some of the Chinese New Year 2015 offerings.
1) Yan Ting at St. Regis Singapore
Yan Ting is one of my favourite Chinese restaurants in Singapore and a regular haunt for J and I. In December 2014, Yan Ting appointed a new Executive Chinese Chef Tony Wun who has over 35 years of culinary experience and won many awards for his team and him.
Prosperity 'Yu Sheng' with Norwegian Salmon & Abalone
This photo was taken before the seafood was added to it. Our hosts had added some abalone to their standard Prosperity 'Yu Sheng' with Norwegian Salmon. The chef used snow pear and passionfruit in the dressing for a more refreshing and fruitier flavour. Though I love passionfruit, the dressing was still a little too sweet for my taste.
Crispy Prosperity Roll with Scallops, Banana. Salted Egg & Smoked Duck with Pineapple.
An interesting combination of flavours, I enjoyed the Crispy Prosperity Roll for the succulent scallops, umami-rich salted egg and sweet banana. Available on the a la carte menu at $32 per portion, this is a Must-Try. The Smoked Duck with Pineapple isn't available on Yan Ting's Chinese New Year 2015 a la carte menu but is served as part of a trio of appetizers in some of the sets. An interesting combination of savoury and slightly fatty smoked duck with tangy and slightly sweet pineapple, it was my least preferred of the three.
Crispy Roasted Chicken with Truffles @ S$32 (half a chicken)
This was my favourite amongst the three appetizers. Sitting on top of a juicy chunk of chicken with crisp, golden-brown skin, was a single fragrant shaving of Black Truffle. Available on the Chinese New Year 2015 a la carte menu and takeaway menu, this is a Must-Try!
Takeaway Chinese New Year Pun Choy @ S$468+ for 6 pax
includes a medium Prosperity 'Yu Sheng' with Norwegian Salmon, Fried Glutinous Rice with Preserved Meat & Osmanthus Cake
Over a dozen luxe ingredients were painstakingly laid out in layers within this pot of Pun Choy (aka Pen Cai or Poon Choy). A one-pot dish that is traditionally served during festivals such as Chinese New Year and a variety of other special occasions, it symbolizes family reunion and abundance.
My bowl of Pun Choy
Each of the ingredients within the Pun Choy has an auspicious significance. The top layer of my bowl was dominated by Abalone, Roasted Duck, Prawn, Dace Fish Ball, Shiitake Mushroom, Moss and Pork Trotter. Concealed within the rich brown sauce were Dried Scallop, Radish, Fish Maw, Sea Cucumber, Prosperity Oyster, Chicken and Cabbage. I loved the firm but tender abalone that was coated with the flavourful sauce and the sweetness of the dace fish ball that had a hint of aged tangerine peel. Surprisingly, the roasted duck that had been smothered with sauce still retained a lovely smokiness and tenderness. Only available for takeaway, the Pun Choy is a Must-Try!
Sauteed Prawns & Scallops in Black Bean Sauce
Served in a crisp, fine mesh cone, the sweet Sauteed Prawns and Scallops went perfectly with the salty black bean sauce.
Wok-Fried Glutinous Rice with Wind-dried Sausages @ S$32++
One of my favourite Chinese New Year dishes at Yan Ting is the signature Wok-Fried Glutinous Rice with Wind-dried Sausages. This didn't disappoint as the glutinous rice grains had been well-infused with the rich flavour of the wind-dried Chinese sausages. This is also a Must-Try!
Glutinous Rice Cake. Avocado Sago Cream with Ice Cream.
If you still have room for dessert, you might like to end the meal on a sweet note with some traditional Glutinous Rice Cake done in 2 ways or an antioxidant-rich Avocado Sago Cream with an additional scoop of creaminess.
Check the website for more details: www.yantingrestaurant.com/cny2015
Yan Ting The St Regis Singapore Level 1U, 29 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247911. Telephone: +65 6506-6866 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Operating Hours: Daily: 11.45 am to 2.30pm & 6.30pm to 10.30pm
PS: Thank you, The St. Regis Singapore, for the kind hospitality.
2) Man Fu Yuan at InterContinental Singapore
Another of my favourite Chinese restaurants, we were hosted in a grand private dining room that seats up to 30 guests around the same table. Executive Chinese Chef Kwan Yiu Kan had created a special menu to herald an auspicious start to the Year of the Goat.
I love the impeccable attention to detail at Man Fu Yuan. From the individually brewed porcelain pots of signature lychee-flavoured Five Elements Tea that aids with digestion to the neatly bound napkins with red tassels to fete the season, one couldn't help but feel the Chinese New Year mood in this room.
Man Fu Yuan's Salmon & Japanese Hokkigai Yu Sheng with Ponzu Shoyu
There were quite a number of us at this preview so our hosts had put together a very impressively presented Yu Sheng arranged to form the Chinese character 祥 for auspicious that occupied the entire Lazy Susan. Each of us had a Martini glass filled with gilded honey cornflakes that we had to empty onto the Lazy Susan before tossing the massive prosperity salad with large chopsticks. The six fish-shaped Nian Gao (Glutinous Rice Cakes) that lay on either side were thankfully only for decorative purposes and weren't meant to be tossed together with the rest of the ingredients. I loved the Japanese-inspired flavours. The citrusy Ponzu went well with the Shoyu and the sweetness of the Hokkigai (Arctic Surf Clam) that was laid out in a star-shaped formation that reminded me of a Shuriken (Ninja Star). The only Yu Sheng that featured a tangy and savoury dressing, this is my favourite Yu Sheng for the year. The Yu Sheng here is a Must-Try!
"Fu Zhou" Buddha Jumps Over the Wall @ S$98++ per person (dine-in)
Available for takeaway at S$688+ for 5 pax with Yu Sheng & Wok-fried Glutinous Rice
We were then served some "Fu Zhou"-style Buddha Jumps Over the Wall. One of my favourite dishes during this preview, this was cooked over low heat for 48 hours. Chockful of ingredients, expect to find a whole abalone, sea cucumber, fish maw, conpoy, panax ginseng and deer tendon in each bowl.
Check out the size of the large but oh so tender abalone. I couldn't help but polish off whatever was in my bowl. The "Fu Zhou"-style Buddha Jumps Over the Wall at Man Fu Yuan is a Must-Try!
Man Fu Yuan's Deluxe Treasures Pot @ S$428+ for 5 pax
Image reproduced with permission from InterContinental Singapore
I wasn't able to snap a photo of the Deluxe Treasures Pot before it was served to us. This Poon Choy contains 23 auspicious delicacies which include whole baby abalone, fish maw, scallops, lobster, prawns, sea cucumber, dried oyster, roast duck, goose web, lup cheong (preserved Chinese sausage), dace fish, shrimp & squid paste and mushrooms. I was already pretty full from the Yu Sheng and the Buddha Jumps Over the Wall so I didn't finish everything that was in my bowl.
Double-boiled Fish Maw, Bamboo Shoot, Chinese Cabbage
with Dumpling in Superior Stock @ $368 for 5 pax
Just when I thought I couldn't eat anymore, I was presented with an irresistible bowl of Double-boiled Fish Maw, Bamboo Shoot, Chinese Cabbage with Dumpling in Superior Stock. Did I ever mention that I love to drink soup? A little less rich in comparison to the "Fu Zhou" Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, the generous chunk of Fish Maw was a slightly gooey collagen fix that was accompanied by a tasty superior stock-based broth. In spite of the impending food coma, I finished the entire bowl. This is also a Must-Try!
Braised Australian Green Lip Abalone &
Chinese Mushroom with Seasonal Vegetables @ S$128 per person
The premium Australian Green Lip Abalone had been braised for 2 days. It had a slightly gummy texture that I wasn't too crazy about. This is apparently a more prized abalone than the one in the "Fu Zhou" Buddha Jumps Over the Wall but I preferred the latter dish. Our hosts are probably afraid that we won't have enough to eat because that was quickly followed by some Steamed Red Garoupa in Homemade Black Bean Sauce and Braised Beef Brisket with Radish (one of my favourite dishes at Man Fu Yuan) from their regular a la carte menu.
My 2nd fav dish for the evening. Roasted Suckling Pig with Glutinous Rice. The skin was roasted to a perfect crisp whilst the flesh was moist and tender. The Glutinous Rice had been fried with fragrant Chinese Sausages before being stuffed inside the pig & roasted. This is a Must-Try & advance orders are required to avoid disappointment. #love #sfflove #Yummy
I was starting to get a little sleepy from all the food but perked up when the aroma of Roasted Suckling Pig filled the room. This was the pièce de résistance!
Barbecued Whole Suckling Pig with Wok-Fried Glutinous Rice
The crackling was crisp whilst the flesh was delectably succulent. As if this wasn't enough to induce a #foodgasm, the glutinous rice had been fried with lup cheong (Chinese sausages) had "wok-hei" and glistened with drippings from the suckling pig. This is a MUST-TRY!
We were also treated to an impromptu song by the affable Celebrity Chef Eric Neo after someone busted his cover about his "secret Karaoke training sessions". Even though I don't know who the singer is or the song, it sounds pretty good.
Nian Gao & Golden Egg Custard Pastry from the takeaway menu.
Double-boiled Bird's Nest in Whole Coconut
The Nian Gao (Glutinous Rice Cakes) had an interesting colour. We were told that they had a new flavour of this year - Mango and Pineapple. Fragrant and fruity, this was delicious when coated with coconut shavings. I had to give the Golden Egg Custard Pastry a miss because I was too full to finish everything on this platter.
Double-boiled Superior Bird's Nest in Whole Coconut @ S$72++ per person
My favourite dessert this season! How often do you have to eat Birds Nest with a pair of chopsticks? 血燕 Xue Yan is one of the rarest & most expensive types of bird's nest. It had been cooked with natural coconut juice that imparted a lovely sweetness to the gelatinous strands. Move over, bottled coconut water & regular Bird's Nest, this is one indulgence worth splurging on this Chinese New Year! Definitely a MUST-TRY! Check the website for more details: www.singapore.intercontinental.com/festive/Man Fu Yuan InterContinental Singapore, 80 Middle Road, Singapore 188966. Telephone: +65 6820 8519 / 8520 Email: email@example.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ICSingapore Operating Hours: Daily: 12 pm - 2.30 pm & 6.30 pm - 10.30 pm PS: Thank you, InterContinental Singapore, for the kind hospitality.