Welcoming the year of the Rat in the coming Chinese New Year (CNY) is perhaps best done by dining in some of the best Chinese restaurants in Singapore, and it definitely pays to know which restaurant to visit for some of the main dishes for your upcoming Reunion Dinner. From the best Yu Sheng this Rat season, to Panda’s favourite Pen Cai, and other highlights from our previews across various Chinese restaurants, here’s a list of the dishes which left an impression on us.
This is a must-have in every Chinese New Year meal, and for the many who know, this locally created dish is a culture we should hold on dearly. As with each passing year, many Chinese restaurants will work to incorporate the zodiac sign into the Yu Sheng design, and this year is no exception.
Where? We have 4 recommendations for Yu Sheng this year, with our favourite being Min Jiang Restaurant’s Joyful Abundance Yusheng at Goodwood Park Hotel. Instead of just shredded vegetables, Min Jiang’s rendition takes a form of a salad, with the usual dressing and mixed with cheesy deep-fried chee cheong fan strips – yes, you read it correctly. Most foodies will agree with us that the Yu Sheng here deserves the top spot this year. Other notable Yu Sheng includes Jade’s Gold Rush Salmon Yu Sheng with Champagne Jelly, Olive Oil, Honey Pineapple Dressing and Cranberry Cheese at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, the traditional Teochew Style Yu Sheng at Paradise Teochew, and the recently renovated Thai restaurant Thanying’s Thai Style Salmon Yusheng with Chicken Curls at Amara Singapore Hotel.
One of the most signature dish in every Chinese meal is the soup, particularly at a Cantonese restaurant. Other than double-boiled soups, another of Panda’s favourite way of enjoying soup will be through a steamboat meal.
Where? Head over to Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza for its Chinese restaurant Wan Hao’s Bird’s Nest Dumpling with Crab Roe Superior Soup. The broth is indeed superior, with top quality ingredients which has been synonym with Wan Hao since. Otherwise, snag a table at Paradise Group’s Beauty in The Pot and enjoy steamboat with its popular Beauty Collagen Broth. Not a typical soup dish per se, Summer Pavilion’s Poached Iberico Pork Glutinous Rice Dumpling and Cabbage in Superior Chicken Stock delight us this year.
Similar to Yu Sheng, we only get to enjoy Pen Cai during the Chinese New Year. This classic CNY dish basically throws all the top quality ingredients such as scallop, fish maw, abalone, prawns, oysters, sea cucumber and of course fa cai for that good luck in the coming new year.
Where? It has never disappoint, Intercontinental Singapore’s Man Fu Yuan always get it right for every single meal we had here. Go for their Abundance Treasure Pot, which is nothing short of spectacular. Another winner for us this Chinese New Year is Mitzo’s Pen Cai at Grand Park Orchard Singapore. Instead of it being braised, the Pen Cai here is a dry rendition, with each item done separately and served together in the pot.
We were told that we need fish in every Chinese New Year meal, for a year of abundance ahead. Though we are sure our fellow diners will welcome other seafood to be served as well.
Where? This year, Crystal Jade Palace impressed with its Hakka Yam Abacus Seeds with Boston Lobster, dazzles with strong flavours with fresh and juicy lobster meats mixed with abacus seeds. Another lobster dish by Fairmont Singapore’s Szechuan Court, their Sauteed Lobster Meat, Coral Clams, Jumbo Asparagus with XO Chilli Sauce does the trick for us. If fish is a must, Yan’s Steamed Star Grouper with Yunnan Preserved Vegetables and Cordyceps Flower is one you should not miss.
Not always a must, but if you are in restaurants which are capable of preparing delectable meats such as Roast Duck, you are in safe hands to impress your guests. For the Pandas, spotting Braised or Roast Duck as part of the meal is a big plus.
Where? Back again to Man Fu Yuan at Intercontinental Singapore, their Signature Smoked Duck with Superior Chinese Herbal Stock is well-seasoned and you might not stop at just one slice of it. If you are as keen on roast meats as we are, do include Jiang-Nan Chun’s Signature Roasted Duck at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore in your must-eat list.
Not for the folks on keto-diet, but these are some of the best mains we had this Chinese New Year season worthy of giving up your keto-diet for – temporarily at least.
Where? Going back again to Goodwood Park Hotel, Min Jiang’s Longevity Noodles with Baby Abalones and Roasted Iberico Pork Loin is a good fusion dish, combining oriental cooking techniques with Italian Angel Hair pasta and Iberico Pork. Crystal Jade Dining IN’s Classic Claypot Rice with Duck, Cured Meat and Chinese Preserved Sausage is a very competent take on this popular Hong Kong dish. If you are looking for something lighter, but not a tad less appetising, head over to Conrad Centennial Singapore’s Golden Peony, its Prosperity Eight Treasure Congee with Black Truffle is not just a delight in terms of presentation, it is also one of the best congee we have had.
Rat Year Inspired Dishes
Whoever told you that Singaporeans are not a bunch of creative folks, just tell them to visit us during the Chinese New Year. With each passing year, the island gets transformed into mini-insert-Zodiac-sign land, and this year is no exception. From Yu Sheng coming in the shapes of rats, to red packets adorned with cute-looking rats, it is as though rats have suddenly became a national favourite pest. Having said that, there are a couple of rat-inspired dishes during Chinese New Year which we do recommend.
Where? Over back at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, Jade’s Hot Stone Silver Needle Noodles with Truffle Meat Sauce is one of our personal favourites across all the Chinese New Year tastings we have had. And what a way to welcome the 鼠 year with 老鼠粉, or also popularly known as Bee Tai Bak and Silver Needle Noodles. At Shisen Hanten, the Two Michelin-starred restaurant paired the Braised Rat Noodle with Lobster and Roasted Garlic in Superior Broth.
Chinese New Year Snacks
Perhaps the most important item for each house-visit during this season, signature snacks during the Chinese New Year period includes pineapple tarts and bak kwa. With so many brands and retailers during the festive season, here are some of our recommendations which made us happily munching away.
Where? This hotel may be famous for its durian-dessert creations, but it really is just gifted in creating some of the best snacks in town. This Chinese New Year, head to The Deli at Goodwood Park Hotel for the crowd’s favourite Crispy Kangkong with Cheese and Sour Cream, and other snacks including Spicy Salted Egg Yolk Lotus Root Chips and Grilled Pork Jerky (otherwise known as bak kwa). For pineapple tarts, Four Seasons Hotel Singapore Jiang-Nan Chun’s take on Pineapple Tarts gets our thumbs up, with a think crust and a generous stuffing of pineapple! To a huat year ahead!
Ranted by The Rantee & The Ranter
Beauty in The Pot
Available at branches islandwide, across Jewel Changi Airport, Kinex, Centrepoint, Star Vista, VivoCity and Westage
Crystal Jade Palace
391 Orchard Road, #04-19, Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Singapore 238872
Crystal Jade Dining IN
11 Harbourfront Walk, #01-112, VivoCity, Singapore 098585
2 Temasek Boulevard, Level 3, Conrad Centennial Hotel, Singapore 038983
1 Fullerton Square, Level 1, Fullerton Hotel, Singapore 049178
190 Orchard Boulevard, Level 2, Four Seasons Hotel Singapore, Singapore 248646
Man Fu Yuan
80 Middle Road, Level 2, InterContinental Singapore, Singapore 188966
Min Jiang & The Deli
22 Scotts Road, Level 1, Goodwood Park Hotel, Singapore 228221
270 Orchard Road, Level 4, Grand Park Orchard, Singapore 238857
Available at branches islandwide, across VivoCity and Scotss Square
80 Bras Basah Road, Level 3, Fairmont Singapore, Singapore 189560
333 Orchard Road, Level 35, Orchard Wing, Mandarin Orchard Singapore, Singapore 238867
165 Tanjong Pagar Road, #02-00, Amara Hotel, Singapore 088539
320 Orchard Road, Level 3, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza, Singapore 238865
1 St. Andrew’s Road, #05-02, National Gallery Singapore, Singapore 178957