1. Charming Shanghai Cuisine at Yan’s Shanghai Private Dining, Mandarin Gallery
Yan’s Shanghai Private Dining, a charming restaurant located in Mandarin Gallery, is but a few months old but already garnering fans. Must-try dishes here include the Old Shanghai Smoked Fish ($18), which is not smoked but marinated, deep-fried and dipped in a special sauce to bring out sweet-smokey flavours. Traditionally carp is used, but chefs here picked fleshier and largely boneless pieces of local fish instead. Crab Meat with Bean Curd ($18 per person), a golden stew of smooth, silky beancurd with crabmeat enriched with crab roe served still bubbling in individual mini shallow pots, is another winning dish (if it gets too cloying, adding a few drops of vinegar helps gives the dish a lift). Pickled cucumbers ($8) and Jiangnan crispy eel glazed with sugar and vinegar ($16) make pleasant starters, and classic favourites such as fork-tender braised pork belly ($48) served in a claypot, and noodles tossed in scallion oil ($26), are also well executed and good for sharing. Come in larger groups (at least four people) so you can enjoy a variety of dishes.
Yan’s Shanghai Private Dining is located at #04-22 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Rd, Singapore 238867, Tel: 6836 1188. Visit yansdining.com
Photo: Yan’s Shanghai Private Dining
2. Timeless Teochew Fare at Zui Yu Xuan Teochew Cuisine
Zui Yu Xuan, the latest venture by Jumbo Group of Restaurants which opened May 2019, is an ode to classic Teochew cuisine. Tucked away in a two-storey heritage building complete with a charming courtyard, the restaurant, dressed in calming beige with a touch of maroon, exudes a sleek, elegant vibe that is perfect for entertaining guests and associates. Six private rooms on the second floor, complete with karaoke facilities, are available for those seeking more discreet options. Cuisine-wise, expect Teochew classics such as Cold Crab rich with creamy roe ($12 per 100 g), a suitably tender Braised Duck with Beancurd (from $18 for half portion), and gooey Teochew Oyster Omelette ($13). If you love seafood, do consider the freshly sliced Geoduck Clam, blanched briefly in a comforting superior broth ($16.80 per 100 g) to retain its pleasant sweetness and light crunch. The Crispy Fried Sea Cucumber ($24 per portion), served with shiitake mushroom and umami abalone sauce, has a lovely fleeting crispiness (read: don’t wait too long to eat it) that melts away to tenderness and bounciness. For dessert, Teochew ‘Tau Suan’ with Gingko Nuts ($5.20) brightened with orange zest, and the smooth Yam Paste fragrant with shallot oil and topped with sweet pumpkin and gingko nuts ($5.20) are both must-tries.
Zui Yu Xuan Teochew Cuisine is located at 130/131 Amoy Street (within Far East Square), Singapore 049959, tel: 6788 3637. Visit www.facebook.com/zuiteochewcuisine
Photo: Zui Yu Xuan
3. Delectable Family-friendly Fare at Yun Nans, Jewel Changi Airport
Renowned Yunnan F&B chain from China, Yun Nans (known as “Yun Hai Yao” in China) opened its first overseas store in Jewel Changi Airport in April 2019, giving first-time diners a glimpse into the diverse world of Yunnan food. Start with an appetiser such as chilled rice noodles (made in Yunnan using spring water) tossed with a tangy peanut sesame sauce ($12.90), then move on to the must-try signature Steam Pot Chicken Soup ($23.90) – the chicken, with no added water, is pressure-steamed for three hours (the steam enters a specially designed pot and eventually becomes soup). The resulting soup is clear, wholesome and delicate with pure flavours of chicken (a special breed of black feet chicken raised for 150 days in Malaysia is used). Chicken meat from the soup, which some diners tend to neglect, can then be enjoyed with bean sprouts and topped with spicy dressing so nothing goes to waste. Grilled Seabass with Lemongrass ($22.90) is another recommended dish. Whole seabass is butterflied, grilled over charcoal till fragrant and seasoned with a tongue-burning in-house spice mix. You may request for the spice mix to be served on the side if you don’t do too well with spicy (read: it’s kids-friendly too). The Pork Collar with Pickled Chillies (from 16.90 for small portion), with lean sliced pork swimming in a mouth-watering hot and sour broth (more sour than hot), is a highly addictive dish that we will order again. For dessert, the sweet but not cloying chilled Beancurd Pudding with Brown Sugar ($4.90) hits the right spot.
Yun Nans is located at 78 Airport Boulevard, Jewel Changi Airport #02-217, Singapore 819666, tel: 6908 3677. Visit www.facebook.com/yunnanssg
Photo: Yun Nans
4. Taste of Many Worlds at Shang Social, Jewel Changi Airport
Shang Social, the first standalone dining establishment by the Shangri-La Group outside of a hotel setting, presents diners with dishes from three distinctive Chinese cuisines – Cantonese, Huaiyang, and Sichuan— curated by three of Shangri-La’s highly acclaimed master chefs accomplished in each field, namely Chef Mok Kit Keung from Shangri-la Singapore, Chef Joe Hou from Shangri-la Nanjing, and Chef Rick Du from Shangri-la Shenyang. The restaurant, which opened in April 2019, is also divided into three distinct spaces, each with its own menu and offerings. There is a more formal Shang Social Dining (which takes reservations), a casual dining area called Shang Social MRKT, and a bar. Fans of Chef Mok, who helms Shang Palace in Singapore, will be glad to know that his signature Deep-fried Whole Boneless Chicken stuffed with Fried Glutinous Rice ($78) is also available here. Other must-tries include Chef Du’s sour, spicy and slightly tongue-numbing Red Garoupa Fillet Stewed in Pea Mash Soup with Pickled Peppers and Chinese Cabbage ($78 for 500g) and Chef Hou’s classic fork-tender Jiangnan dish of “Jiangnan Wok” Braised Black Marbled Pork ($28). At MRKT, where you can grab a quick meal and go if you are in a rush, a selection of starters, dim sum and noodles are available. Crowd favourites include the signature Pan-fried Bun with Pork ($5.80 for three pieces) aka Sheng Jian Bao with juicy filling, and Bamboo Noodles served with dark soy sauce pork lard ($6). Be sure to drop by the next time you visit Jewel Changi Airport, and do take some time to chill at the bar with an Asian-inspired cocktail in hand.
Shang Social is located at Jewel Changi Airport, 78 Airport Boulevard, #01-219 to 222, Singapore 819666, tel: 6346 0260. Visit www.shangsocial.com
Photo: Shang Social
5. Cantonese “Omakase” at Crystal Jade Palace, Ngee Ann City
After extensive renovations, Crystal Jade Palace at Ngee Ann City has re-opened its doors this June 2019 to present a new look and an inspired menu by Chef Martin Foo, Group Executive Chef of Crystal Jade Group. The group’s flagship fine dining restaurant now boasts a sophisticated space that includes a communal dining hall, an intimate tea room, an elegant courtyard area, and chic private dining rooms (one of which caters to up to 120 guests). Diners can expect an updated repertoire of familiar favourites such as dim sum and claypot dishes, as well as imaginative dishes such as Organic Crystal Ice Plant and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Jamon Iberico (Spanish cured ham) ($28), and Stir-fried Shredded Fish Maw with Shishito Peppers and Black Beans ($98 for regular portion). Diners seeking a truly unique dining experience can opt for Chef Foo’s customised “omakase”-style menus where you leave the menu up to chef (Discovery 6-course at $138 per person and Extravagant 8-course at $188 per person), and you may be presented with creations such as the rich and comforting soup of Braised Fish Maw and Conpoy in ‘Tanfu’ Broth with Hokkaido Sea Urchin, or a decadent dish of Pan-seared foie gras paired with Roasted Black Truffle Duck.
Crystal Jade Palace is located at 391 Orchard Road, #04-19, Ngee Ann City, Singapore 238872, tel: 6735 2388. Visit www.crystaljade.com/palace
Photo: Crystal Jade Palace
6. Tongue Tingling Sichuan-style Noodles at Chuan Hung
For a bowl of robust, full-flavoured noodle soup, do check out the new noodle place Chuan Hung. Its Mian Yang-style thin rice noodle (Mian Yang is the second-biggest city in Sichuan) was chosen after months of relentless research and tastings in Sichuan. The silky smooth rice noodles are handmade by one selected artisan and customised down to the millimetre exclusively for Chuan Hung. The slurp-worthy rice noodles may be ordered with clear soup (pork bone-based) or red soup (hot and punchy with a housemade spice blend that includes Sichuan peppers, pickled chillies, and dried chillies), as well as the unique Sichuan mix of both red and clear soup. Alternatively, there is also a third broth option (our favourite): a deceptively mild-looking clear chicken-based soup that is spiked with Sichuan vine pepper and chilli padi for an addictive spicy, tongue-tingling numbness. Popular orders among diners include Braised Beef with Red Soup ($13.50), Braised Pig Intestines with Red Soup ($13.50) and King Prawns with Vine Pepper Broth ($15.50). For side dishes, do try the Fried Crispy Pig Intestines seasoned with soy sauce and spices, and stuffed with Japanese leeks ($5.50) and Braised Eggplant with bell pepper and green chillies ($4.50). Barely three months old (they opened in May 2019) and they are already attracting quite a crowd, so do be prepared to wait, especially during weekday lunch.
Chuan Hung is located at #01-01, 51 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 048441, tel: 9755 1058. Visit www.facebook.com/chuanghungnoodle
Photo: Chuan Hung
7. Fine Steamboat Cuisine at Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant, TripleOne
Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant reopens at TripleOne in June 2019 (it previously closed in 2016 due to the overhaul of the mall) with a spanking new space of 4,433 square feet complete with a large glass-fronted wine cellar at the entrance, two central dining rooms, semi-private dining booths and nine private dining rooms. Soup bases are prepared daily here and simmered to soul-soothing goodness. There are 10 to choose from and popular choices include the Shaoxing wine-laced Imperial Drunken Chicken Soup, Traditional Pork’s Bone Soup, and Authentic Pomfret Soup (advance order required). Top picks for a la carte orders include quality meats, such as Japanese Wagyu Beef and USA Sliced “Kurobuta” Pork Belly, and “live” seafood, such as Australian Lobster and Coral Trout. Alternatively, go for set menus (from $118 for two persons) to treat yourself to a sumptuous spread. Sets can include choice of one soup base, choice of two meats, choice of one type of noodles (namely egg noodles, hor fun and vermicelli), prawns and other seafood items, their signature handmade pork balls, assorted fried items and vegetables. Pair the ingredients with Imperial Treasure’s generous selection of condiments and sauces and whip up your own dipping sauces for a truly satisfying meal.
Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant is located at TripleOne Somerset, #02-14/19, 111 Somerset Road, Singapore 238164, tel: 6235 3882. Visit http://www.imperialtreasure.com/restaurant/Imperial%20Treasure%20Steamboat%20Restaurant-9
Photo: Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant
8. Heritage Cantonese Cuisine at Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
Chef Mok Kit Keung, who has helmed the kitchen of Shang Palace at Shangri-La Singapore since 2017, now presents three new “menus” – Nostalgia, Signature and Innovation – at the iconic Cantonese restaurant. The Nostalgia collection includes old-school dishes that often take considerable skill and effort to prepare, and we applaud Chef Mok’s dedication to preserving these heritage gems. Sautéed Fresh Milk with crabmeat and egg white ($38), a traditional Shun De dish that typically used buffalo milk instead of fresh milk, is a test of the chef’s culinary skill as the temperature control has to be impeccable to yield a dish of perfectly smooth and fragrant “stir-fried” milk. At Shang Palace, Chef Mok pairs this with lip-smacking deep-fried pork rolls made with thinly sliced pork marinated with nan ru (fermented beancurd), rose wine and sha cha sauce, rolled up together with pork fat and Jinhua ham, then steamed, frozen and deep-fried to order. Another nostalgic dish not to be missed is the indulgent Boneless Quail stuffed with Bird’s Nest in supreme broth ($98). The delicate bird is meticulously deboned by hand then filled with bird’s nest and Jinhua ham, and gently cooked and served with an umami supreme broth brewed for eight hours from chicken, pork and Jinhua ham. For dessert, chef’s slow-simmered Red Bean Soup, a Cantonese classic, enhanced with prized 20-year tangerine peel, makes a fitting finale.
Shang Palace is located at Lobby Level, Tower Wing, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350, tel: 6213 4473. Visit www.shangri-la.com/singapore/shangrila/dining/restaurants/shang-palace/
Photo: Shang Palace
9. Exquisite New Signatures at Man Fu Yuan, InterContinental Singapore
Man Fu Yuan at the InterContinental Singapore, popular for its classic Cantonese dishes and delicacies, is now helmed by chef Aaron Tan, Executive Sous Chef at InterContinental Singapore. While Chef Tan, who started helming Man Fu Yuan earlier this year, may not look it, he has over 30 years of experience in the culinary and catering field (he started working in the kitchen when he was 12) and has developed a passion for Chinese gastronomy. This enthusiasm, coupled with a penchant for flavours that are hearty yet refined, is apparent in his new collection of 13 signatures. Starters such as the juicy Roma tomatoes stuffed with crab meat, salmon ikura with yuzu dressing ($18) awakens the palate, while savoury dishes, such as the appetisingly fragrant chicken wings de-boned then stuffed with abalone, prawn paste and served in a sizzling hot stone pot ($42), and deep-fried lobster with luscious Asian cream sauce and topped with delicate freshly fried thread-thin egg floss ($38 for half lobster), invigorate the taste buds. Dessert-wise, if you are feeling indulgent, we would recommend the double-boiled premium bird’s nest ($98) nestled in almond cream and studded with preserved mandarin orange that, just a hint of acidity, gives the dish an unexpected brightness.
Man Fu Yuan is located at InterContinental Singapore, 80 Middle Road, Singapore 188966, Tel: 6825 1008. Visit singapore.intercontinental.com/offers/taste-modernity-man-fu-yuan
Photo: Man Fu Yuan
10. A Gourmet Retreat at Min Jiang at Dempsey
Min Jiang at One-North has a new home at Dempsey Hill (it opened in April 2019) and it is gorgeous. The nature-inspired interiors, designed by celebrated architect and interior designer Ernesto Bedmar, sees the use of wood and rattan complemented with mosaic floors and large windows, giving the space a lovely resort vibe. Min Jiang veteran Master Chef Goh Chee Kong remains at the helm. His new menu showcases creations from the Cantonese and Sichuan repertoire that marries flavours of tradition with contemporary presentation. Think handmade dim sum creations, such as Steamed “Goldfish” Prawn Dumpling “swimming” in a delicate egg white sauce, and Sichuan Hot and Sour Soup served in a stone pot with a crispy prawn spring roll. Besides that, chef’s nostalgic dishes that showcase local recipes from the 60s to 80s are also popular with diners. Examples include the Heritage Treasures Platter ($88, serves four) comprising Crisp-Fried Teochew-Style Shrimp Roll; Braised Pork in Wuxi-Style; Deep-Fried Crabmeat with Chicken Liver and Salted Egg Yolk, and Stir-Fried Freshly Harvested Seasonal Greens and Macadamia Nuts. For dessert, go for the refreshing and nourishing double-boiled Chilled Peach Resin (read: collagen) with Pear and Snow Lotus Seeds ($12 per person).
Min Jiang at Dempsey is located at 7A and 7B Dempsey Road, Singapore 249684, tel: 6774 0122. Visit www.goodwoodparkhotel.com/en/dining/min-jiang-dempsey.html
Photo: Min Jiang at Dempsey