Food News, Lifestyle

The Best of This Year’s Lunar New Year Offerings – Denise Li

With the Lunar New Year happening so early this year, you might still be recovering from December’s festivities and scrambling to get all your preparations in order. You’ll be glad to know that the restaurants and hotels are rolling out delectable offerings by the dozen, so you won’t have to worry about slaving in the kitchen for hours to make sure there’s enough food to feed everyone. There are plenty of options out there, whether you’re looking for something to take away, or eschewing cooking entirely in favour of holding your reunion dinner at a restaurant.

Now, keep calm and wrap those hongbaos.

If your family is … super traditional.

Head over to Yan Ting at The St. Regis Singapore

Braised Superior Bird’s Nest Broth with Crab Meat from Yan Ting

Braised Superior Bird’s Nest Broth with Crab Meat from Yan Ting

Everyone will be crazy over yusheng and peng cai but if you are heading over to Yan Ting, The St Regis Singapore’s awesome Chinese restaurant, be sure to order the Braised Superior Bird’s Nest Broth with Crab Meat, $78 per portion. A definite greener-alternative to shark’s fin, this comforting broth features chunky servings of bird’s nest with sweet, succulent crab meat. As someone who never likes bird’s nest dessert because of its cloying sweetness, Deborah fell in love with this savory way of eat this delicacy. It’s a must-try!

Yan Ting is located at The St. Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Road. Tel: 6506 6866

Book a table at Peony Jade

Golden Suckling Pig Stuffed With Glutinous Rice at Peony Jade

Golden Suckling Pig Stuffed With Glutinous Rice at Peony Jade

When you dine at Peony Jade, you get the impression that the kitchen staff has put in a lot of effort to ensure you have a memorable dining experience. From the horse-shaped yu sheng to the baked horse-shaped ingot (where you have to pound away at the crust to get to the food), you’re given a taste of the chefs’ creativity. This creativity extends beyond aesthetics to the quality of their food too. One particularly standout dish is the Golden Suckling Pig Stuffed With Glutinous Rice, priced at $8.88 per piece (min. order of 6 pieces) or $238.88 for the whole pig (serves 12). Roasted over slow charcoal fire, the pork has a wonderfully smoky flavour and crispy skin that complements the soft, chewy glutinous rice.

The Golden Suckling Pig is available for dine-in and takeaway. 1-day advance order is required. Peony Jade is at Blk 3A Clarke Quay, #02-02, Tel: 6338 0305 and Keppel Club, Bukit Chermin Road, Level M, Tel: 6276 9138.

Take away the Braised Chicken with Sea Treasures in Claypot from Min Jiang

Braised Chicken w Sea Treasures in Claypot from Min Jiang

Braised Chicken w Sea Treasures in Claypot from Min Jiang

This one’s sure to be a hit among the older folks in your family. It is a whole chicken braised for two hours with pork belly (that has been cooked for eight hours), whole Australian abalones, dried oysters, flower mushrooms, black moss and broccoli. It’s simply a feast for the eyes and tastebuds, thanks to its many textures and perfectly balanced flavours. It tastes like homecooked food (never a bad thing), but with a super luxurious touch.

Min Jiang is at Goodwood Park Hotel (Tel: 6730 1704) and One North, 5 Rochester Park (Tel: 6774 0122). Advanced order of three working days is required for takeaways.

If your family is … somewhat traditional, but open to experimentation

Hold your reunion dinner at Au Chocolat

Creamy Drunken Prawn Pasta at Au Chocolat

Creamy Drunken Prawn Pasta at Au Chocolat

A very affordable $48 per person will get you a three-course meal at this European-style bistro. An while the presentation and ingredients of the dishes here are unmistakably Western, the familiar flavours will certainly come as a surprise to the palate. For instance, for the main course, one of the choices is the Creamy “Drunken Prawn” Pasta. Succulent tiger prawns have been cooked in traditional Chinese wine, simmered in a shallot cream sauce, then tossed with wolfberries and pasta, and garnished with fried wanton strips. For the family looking to break away from tradition, this is the perfect place to head to.

Order a roasted suckling pig from Intrepid Gastro Bar

Roasted Suckling Pig from Intrepid Gastro Bar

Roasted Suckling Pig from Intrepid Gastro Bar

There’s something about having a whole suckling pig on your table that lends a gourmet touch to the occasion, even if the rest of the dishes comprise of home-cooked favourites. At Intrepid Gastro Bar, the suckling pig, $298, is prepared with Australian herbs and spices, and comes with a selection of gourmet side dishes. Before you head down to pick it up, be sure to Like Intrepid’s Facebook page as you’ll be entitled to a complimentary bottle of either red or white wine worth $68.

The Roast Suckling Pig is available for takeaway and dine-in during lunch and dinner from 13 January to 15 February 2014 and 3 days advanced booking is required. Intrepid Gastro Bar is located at 40 Pekin St #01-01, Far East Square, Singapore 048770For reservations, call 9068 8297 or book online at CHOPE.

If your family is … uncommonly adventurous

Try French cuisine at Boathouse Restaurant

Saint Jacques (pan-roasted Hokkaido scallops) at Boathouse Restaurant

Saint Jacques (pan-roasted Hokkaido scallops) at Boathouse Restaurant

No, you don’t have to abandon the spirit of the Lunar New Year entirely even if you’ve chosen not to have Chinese cuisine! The three-course set menu at Boathouse restaurant ($78 per person) is centred around “yu” (fish in Mandarin), which is the homonym with prosperity. For appetisers, you can look forward to a rustic Bouillabaisse fish stew or a pan-roasted Hokkaido scallops. Moving on to the main course, you have a choice of other pan-seared Atlantic sea bass or grilled red snapper presented with a seafood bisque. Wine pairing is also available for a supplementary $32 per person. Delicious food aside, there’s another fantastic reason to hold your reunion dinner here on the eve of the Lunar New Year – the unbeatable views as you and your family will be treated to a dazzling display of fireworks over the Marina Bay.

Boathouse Restaurant is located at 3 Fullerton Road, #03-01. For enquiries, call 6538 9038 or email enquiries@boathouse.com.sg. 

About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets.

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Food News, Lifestyle

Food Review: Hairy Crabs at Peony Jade

After the never-ending parade of mooncakes at the Mid-Autumn Festival, we now turn our attention to a seasonal item popular amongst foodies: hairy crabs. Peony Jade celebrates this annual crustacean treat from the Yang Cheng Lake in China’s Jiangsu province. This freshwater lake is renowned for these crabs, which are considered a delicacy and valued for its rich roe and sweet flesh.

The crabs are surprisingly versatile as an ingredient too; the chef at Peony Jade has come up with many different dishes using the crab. From steamed to baked, there is definitely something for everyone! The Material World team was recently invited to a hairy crab feast at Peony Jade and here are our individual takes;

Deborah:
“It was my first time eating hairy crabs and I must say the experience was unforgettable. I was blown away by the number of implements one has to use to eat one! The hairy crabs imparted a mellow, sweet flavour to the dishes they were used in. But my favourite way to eat these crabs was the Sea Salt-Baked Hairy Crab in Golden Pillow. I took insane pride in trying to extract every ounce of flesh and roe from the crab. The reward was satisfying – I love the flavour and creaminess of the roe. To this day, I can still recall the taste of the crabs with much fondness.”

Sea salt-Baked Hairy Crab in Golden Pillow, $68++

Sea salt-Baked Hairy Crab in Golden Pillow, $68++

Steamed Fresh Scallop with Hairy Crab Meat and Egg White, $38++

Lili: 

“One of the foods I tend to avoid eating in public is crabs. No matter where and how I eat them, something always ends up flying out of my plate. Although I was initially skeptical about eating hairy crabs, I’m glad I gave it shot. My favourite dish was the Steamed Fresh Scallop with Hairy Crab Meat and Egg White. Comprising three layers – egg white, spinach broth, and meat of the hairy crab – each mouthful was a delightful burst of flavors that complemented well with one another. The second highlight of the menu was the Sea Salt-Baked Hairy Crab in Golden Pillow. At first sight, while everyone else was cooing over how cute the dish looked, I was completely mortified. I found the sight of a crab peeking out of a ‘man tou’ that’s shaped exactly like it, a little creepy. However, that perception was made irrelevant after I first bit into the ‘man tou’ – it was crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. The bun went perfectly with the creamy roe!”

Denise:

“Let me be perfectly honest: I’ve never been a big fan of crabs, as I’ve always felt they gave paltry returns for the amount of work required to get to the meat. So it was with a little trepidation (and, okay, a slight hangover) that I approached Peony Jade’s hairy crab menu. There were a couple of dishes I definitely enjoyed, such as at the Steamed Fresh Scallop with Hairy Crab meat and Egg White. The flavours of this dish were delicately balanced, and I liked that I didn’t have to do the hard work of removing the meat from the shell. Sea Salt-Baked Hairy Crab in Golden Pillow, however, proved to be a bit too much for me in terms of the work needed to get to the meat, as I found myself spending more time wrestling with the crab than actually eating it. I did, however, enjoy eating the crab roe with the ‘man tou’ pillow. On its own, the roe has a very strong taste (akin to century egg) that I found off-putting. But it was lovely paired with the sweetness of the bread, which masked some of its overwhelming flavour.”

Steamed ‘xiao long bao’ with Hairy Crab Meat & Golden Roe, $18++ for 3 pieces

Steamed ‘xiao long bao’ with Hairy Crab Meat & Golden Roe, $18++ for 3 pieces

Vanessa:

“Whenever someone says crabs, the first thing that comes to mind would be ginormous Sri Lankan crabs cooked in chilli gravy or black pepper. I was definitely impressed at the many creative ways one could enjoy the much smaller hairy crab. For example, we started off with Steamed ‘xiao long bao’ with Hairy Crab Meat and Golden Roe. The traditional ‘xiao long bao’ is given a deliciously decadent update with the mellow but sweet crab meat and rich, flavoursome crab roe. I also enjoyed the Steamed Fresh Scallop with Hairy Crab meat and Egg White – it had light, delicate flavours that whetted my appetite for what was to come. Like Denise, I enjoyed spreading the rich, silky roe from the Sea Salt-Baked Hairy Crab on the fluffy ‘man tou’ for an unforgettable juxtaposition of flavours and textures.”

 

Peony Jade is located at Bukit Chermin Road, Keppel Club (Level M). The Hairy Crab menu is available from now till 30 November. For reservations, call 6276 9138.

Material World was invited for a tasting and was not paid for this review. All opinions are the authors’ own.

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Contests

[A Sweet Pair] Refreshing Desserts at Peony Jade

To commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness month (click here for some need-to-know breast cancer facts), Material World has teamed up with restaurants across the island to bring you the A Sweet Pair promotion, where you get the chance to win a pair of desserts from a different establishment every couple of days. Today’s giveaway is courtesy of Peony Jade.

Using only the freshest ingredients to bring out the natural flavours of the dishes, Peony Jade serves up authentic Szechuan and Cantonese cuisines, such as the Szechuan hot and spicy soup, and Szechuan smoked duck with camphor wood and tea leaves. Besides offering mouthwatering dishes, Peony Jade also makes for a unique event venue – pillar-less and equipped with an inbuilt stage, the restaurant is perfect for special occasions like weddings.

We’re giving away a pair of Cream Of Avocado with Ice Cream Served in Young Coconut!

Peony Jade - Cream Of Avocado with Ice Cream Served in Young Coconut

To win this pair of sweet treats, simply follow the steps below:

1. Click on the Facebook button below and SHARE this post with your friends. Remember to TAG Material World’s Facebook Page on your post, and make sure your post is set to PUBLIC so we may verify that you have completed this step.

2. Click on this link to Like our Facebook Page. Only Material World’s followers qualify for this contest.

3. Private message us your details – name, age, gender, NRIC, mailing address and email address. State the name of the restaurant in your message.

Contest ends October 25, 2013, Friday.

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Food News, Lifestyle

Mad About Mooncakes – Vanessa Tai

Mid-Autumn Festival is almost on us once again! And we know what that means for F&B outlets across Singapore – an intense battle to see who can come up with the most unusual or extravagant flavours. Apparently, this craze for crazy flavours is a very local trend – our counterparts in China and Hong Kong prefer sticking to the traditional lotus seed paste variants (salted egg yolks optional.)

But because Singaporeans are known to be adventurous foodies, we’ve rounded up five of the season’s most exciting, exotic flavours just for you. Bon appétit!

Mini Snowskin Cream Cheese Mango from Peony Jade Restaurant

Peony Jade - Mini Snow-skin Cream Cheese Mango

Craving for a sweet ending after a hearty meal? The fresh flavours of the mango melds beautifully with the velvety textures of the cream cheese, making this a toothsome treat for dessert. Best part is, each mooncake is small enough so you won’t feel overly stuffed.

Price: $50 for eight pieces
Where to buy: For vendor listings, view this page

Pink Guava with Passionfruit & Rambutan from Goodwood Park Hotel

Goodwood Park Hotel -Pink Guava, Passionfruit & Rambutan Snowskin Mooncake

Goodwood Park Hotel has earned a loyal following with its variety of tropical fruit snowskin mooncakes, and this creation looks to be another hit. The light, delicate flavours of pink guava and passionfruit is given an added oomph from the rambutan bits. Equal parts sweet and tangy, this makes a refreshing mid-afternoon treat.

Price: $26 for two pieces, $46 for four pieces
Where to buy: Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road, Tel: 6737 7411

Chempadak Bliss from Swensen’s

swensens_3mooncakes

Here’s another tropical fruit mooncake to tantalise your tastebuds. Chempadak (also known as jackfruit) is blended with cream to create a zingy-flavoured ice cream. Because of its naturally sweet, creamy texture, chempadak is an ideal ingredient to create smooth, delicious ice cream.

Price: $8.60 per piece, $29.80 for a box of four (with choice of flavours)
Where to buy: All Swensen’s and Earle Swensen’s outlets

Mung Bean Paste with Orange Ginger Truffle from Singapore Marriott Hotel 

SMH-Mooncakes-2013-(Silk Road of Spices) Mung Bean Paste with Orange Ginger Truffle

I know what you’re thinking … ginger in a mooncake?! But trust me, the ginger flavour in this snowskin mooncake isn’t overpowering. In fact, the slight hints of spiciness actually complements the thick, smooth and sweet mung bean paste very well. A must-try!

Price: $60 for a box of eight (comes with four assorted snowskin flavours)
Where to buy: Singapore Marriott Hotel, 320 Orchard Road, Tel: 6831 4708

Yuzu Vodka Snowskin Mooncakes from Bakerzin

Bakerzin Moon Rabbits Mooncake 2013 - Heavenly Collection

Fans of this delicate citrus fruit from Japan will love this snowskin creation from Bakerzin. Sweet without being cloying, each bite is a harmony of different flavours – from the citrusy yuzu to crunchy white chocolate to the elegant nuances of vodka.

Price: $52 for a box of eight (comes with four assorted snowskin flavours)
Where to buy: All Bakerzin outlets

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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Hidden picture!

Hidden picture!

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