Sizzling, tempting and always comforting, Regional Chinese Cuisines have been satiating gourmand palates in Singapore for a long time and the variety continues to surge. TNA visits five of the nation's most renowned Chinese restaurants in the second part of a two-part bulletin.
the gourmet bulletin
Jewel, 78 Airport Blvd., #01 - 219 to 222 Singapore Changi Airport, 819666 https://shangsocial.com/
Cleverly planted right at the landing, and exiting, zone of Changi Jewel, Shang Social is as close to destination dining as one gets in tiny, condensed Singapore. Whether one braves the perennially horrifying parking situation at the airport supermall for its inventive menu crafted out of diversity, or heads there for a hearty departure feast, which should satiate a penchant for Chinese comfort nosh if one should be headed somewhere devoid of much good options. On the casual end there are the delectable dim sums that commonly tug at one's gut-strings whereas the elaborate fares, which comprise of skilfully rendered regional favourites like Jiang Nan Wok' Braised Marbled Pork, Braised Golden Chicken Broth with Chinese Lettuce and Parma Ham and Braised Lobster Ee Fu noodles, to name just a few, would make that trip to Singapore's rather far-flung aviation hub pretty worthwhile.
Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant
80 Raffles Place #60-01, #1 UOB Plaza, Singapre 048624 www.sichuandouhua.com
The brand that has taken decades to develop now comprises a string of restaurants that are renowned for comforting Szechuan cuisine elevated for fine palates and refined expectations. At the primo end is its UOB Plaza branch, perched 60 floors into the stratosphere of Singapore's glitzy downtown district, doubtlessly capitalising on the endless rounds of wining and dining food-mad Singaporeans have long melded with the art of business in the city. Just the views alone doth maketh the businessman, and brings him so much closer to clinching deal after deal. The food should be, and happily is, the restaurant's top draw with masterfully rendered Szechuan classics like Mapo Tofu, Chong Qing Diced Chilli Chicken and Boiled Sliced Fish in Szechuan Pepper Sauce bona fide crowd pleasers. A good selection of Cantonese and regional favourites have also been spliced into the menu for good measure, and the Smoked Sparerib with Lychee Wood Crumbs is an absolute winner.
127 Kitchener Road Singapore 208514 www.putien.com/
A one-star establishment since the Michelin Guide was incepted in Singapore, Putien's mothership at Kitchener Road has been largely packed day in day out with hordes of aficionados clocking in regularly for their gourmet fixes that comprise of the highly comforting yet slightly unfamiliar Fukien dishes like Stewed Yellow Croaker, Deep Fried Pork Trotters and Chilled Jello Worms. The rich bounties of coastal Fukien has made the regional cuisine more ingredient-centric with comparably more delicate (read - subdued) flavourings to compliment the 'fresh' tastes of the ingredients, which are usually taken from the sea and brimming with character. If you are averse to ingesting say, worms, don't, because they are gastronomically fabulous at Putien at least. For an initiation into such seemingly untamed profferings, a selection of braised abalones, braised bamboos and tofu, iced bitter gourd and crispy oysters would beget happy bellies and probably keep one coming back for more.
Imperial Treasures Fine Teochew Cuisine
Orchard Turn, #03-05 ION Orchard, 2, Singapore 238801
Another one-star evergreen on the Michelin Guide, Imperial Treasures Fine Teochew Cuisine at Ion Orchard was the one-stop Teochew haven that spawned a veritable business empire that has branched out into anything Chinese (Shanghainese, Hot Pots, Cantonese etc) on the island. While I bemoan the days where the Teochew tag was taken less seriously and they served the best roast goose, charsiew and duck, there are still comforting classics aplenty today, like the incomparable Pig Stomach Soup, Braised Trotters with Tofu and Smoked Chicken with Tea Leaves. It's just slightly melancholic when one remembers the better days where the oyster omelette was fresher and more satisfying, and the Thai Style Claypot Goose Web that would be forever missed. It must be said that the dim sums here are still some of the best in Singapore, and the Mushroom Dumplings, Beancurd Skin Rolls and Steamed Crispy Rice Rolls have all maintained their winsome finesse.