Where to eat and what's new in Singapore: Chinese New Year menus, Singapore's MasterChef Zander Ng's pop-up and more
Where we dined this week...
Man Fu Yuan
Go big, or go home. Well, Man Fu Yuan definitely took that expression quite literally. Standing out from its fellow Cantonese restaurants with a 60-inch yu sheng creation, the renowned restaurant's oriental salad features more than just your typical yu sheng ingredients. We are talking a homemade apple sauce dressing, along with textural consideration with the addition of crisp pork crackling — further driving home the emphasis of the Year of the Pig. The double-boiled chicken consommé was a delight that reminded us fondly of our grandma's homemade soup, packed with flavor drawing from sea cucumber, fish maw and bird's nest. Pamper yourself with Man Fu Yuan's Abundance Treasure Pot overflowing with 18 indulgent ingredients such as fish maw, Hokkaido scallops and pig's trotters. The roasted pork belly roulade with minced seafood reminded us amusingly of a Chinese log cake but with your siu yok rolled up like a swiss roll and filled with seafood instead of fresh cream. Just like the siu yok from your favorite roasted meat stall, the meat was tender with a sinfully good layer of molten fat between the meat and the crispy skin. Wash all the richness down with a cup of their mandarin pu er tea that actually has a small dried Mandarin orange stuffed with pu er tea leaves — elevating your usual cup of brew with fruity notes. — CC
Now available till 19 February
80 Middle Road, Tel: 6825 1008
Opening hours: (Mon-Fri) 12pm-3pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm, (Sat-Sun) 11.30am-3pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm
Zander Ng x The Clifford Pier
Our homeboy, Singapore's first MasterChef Zander Ng is now hosting an exclusive pop-up at The Clifford Pier. Inspired by his mixed Australian-Singaporean heritage, the menu will showcase reworked Singaporean favorites and locally infused interpretations of western classics. Starters include the scallop carpaccio that saw thin slices of scallop doused in Tom Kha Gai sauce and a combination of local favourites — like the Har Cheong Calamari. Deep fried till crispy with hints of har cheong, the squid paired well with the calamansi aioli which gave the dish a refreshing citrus twist. A must-try is the buak keluak risotto — a rather brilliant way of fusing together Peranakan and Italian cuisine. The risotto is given a local twist with the distinct black shade from the buah keluak, supported by asian flavours contributed by well-seasoned tiger prawns and fried garlic chips. We can now testify to Ng's sobriquet 'risotto boy' during the competition. Other standout dish? The beef tagliata and Chinkiang vinegar made a surprisingly pleasant combination. Instead of the traditional balsamic vinegar, the rice-based black concoction was opted, which lent a sweeter overall taste to the plate. End the meal with the sticky date pudding that has been given a savoury touch with the pairing of Chinese five-spices, followed with a scoop of classic vanilla ice-cream. — CC
*Zander Ng's menu will run from 8 January to 26 January at The Clifford Pier
80 Collyer Quay, Tel: 6597 5266
Opening hours: (Mon-Fri) 12pm-2.30pm, 3pm-5.30pm, 6.30pm-10pm, (Sat-Sun) 11am-2pm, 3pm-5pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm
If there's one thing that's pretty clear at Min Jiang this year, it's the slew of the pork dishes you'll find. Thankfully none of them are synonymous, we discovered. First up, a prosperity duo of deep-fried pork knuckle and honey butter ribs; the former brined in water with Sichuan peppercorns before being steambaked then steeped in hot oil, while the latter is first braised in a medley of spices, as well as honey butter sauce before its 30-minute baking process. Next, a huge pot of comfort — combining braised pork belly, ten-head abalones, sea cucumbers, dried oysters, scallops, the mandatory fa cai (black moss) and Tianjin cabbage. The gravy within sparks a burst of flavour along with the the real star of the dish — hand-pounded pork patties. If that's too much pork for your stomach, we encourage whetting your taste buds with their crispy shredded duck dressed with glutinous rice. The duck is first treated with Chinese rice wine before steamed for three hours then fried; just so it's off-the-bone, while the rice is stir-fried with sesame oil, shallots, dried shrimps and other magical condiments. Lastly, don't miss out on the double-boiled whole chicken soup. Within the hearty bowl, you'll find chicken stuffed with bird's nest, foie gras dumplings and a superior chicken broth that's painstakingly achieved over the fire for three hours. Probably the most delicious humble brag we've tasted so far. — JS
*Offerings will vary between Min Jiang One-North and Min Jiang at Goodwood Park Hotel, available from 18 January to 19 Februrary.
22 Scotts Rd, Goodwood Park Hotel, Tel: 6730 1704
Opening hours: 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm
What's new in Singapore...
Nasi Lemak at habitat by honestbee
Word on the street is that our current favourite grocery store, habitat by honestbee is now serving up a sumptuous nasi lemak menu at one of their gastro pit-stops, MOSS. We're talking delectable options like Australian wagyu beef cheek rendang, chicken bakar grilled with a bincho-tan treatment and a deftly concocted sambal, that's available for takeaway. Here lies a nasi lemak spread, fit for kings. Sure, that $1.50 banana leaf packet might bring back fond childhood memories every now and then but hey, we're all adults here —we're always going to crave for more.
McDonald's salted egg yolk fries
Any mention of salted egg yolk might send you into a lustful frenzy; but we strongly urge you not to act on that complusion. The scathing reviews are real, and if you manage to find one that's sort of redeeming — turn your back on it. McDonald's might have pulled off many things so far but their attempt on our country's it flavour proved to be overtly sweet and unneccessary sour. At the end of the day, not everything needs to be layered with salted egg yolk — right, Irvin's?
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