Savour traditional dishes and new creations this Chinese New Year at Yan Ting, an award-winning Cantonese restaurant located on Level 1U of St. Regis Singapore.
I was recently invited to a tasting of Yan Ting’s Chinese New Year specials. Available from 1 to 24 February 2013, Yan Ting presents ten hedonistic set menus in addition to an a la carte menu featuring new creations and traditional delights.Prosperity Yu Sheng with Salmon, Abalone, Fish Roe & Snow Pear
Tossing Yu Sheng for an auspicious start to Chinese New Year has become a tradition in Singapore. Yan Ting offers two types of Yu Sheng: “Prosperity Yu Sheng with Lobster & Salmon” and 2013′s special “Prosperity Yu Sheng with Snow Pear, Fish Roe, Abalone & Salmon”. We tried the new variation of Yu Sheng with fish roe, abalone and salmon.
In this year’s special interpretation of the prosperity salad, the Chef de Cuisine Lim Chong Kai has replaced shredded radish with snow pear for a more refreshing flavour. He also added pomelo juice to the dressing to reduce the sweetness of the plum sauce. The Yu Sheng was fruity and refreshing but just slightly too sweet for my liking.Chinese New Year Poon Choy (takeaway only – serves 6 pax) @ S$428 Takeaway set includes a medium Salmon Yu Sheng & Fried Glutinous Rice
Next we were served another traditional Chinese New Year favourite known Poon Choy in Cantonese (also known as Pen Cai in Mandarin). A multi-layered stew consisting of an array of Chinese delicacies, it’s available for takeaway from 11 January till 24 February. Orders need to be placed at least 48 hours in advance.
Yan Ting’s Poon Choy features 12 luxurious ingredients such as Abalone, Dried Scallops, Fish Maw, Prawns, Roasted Duck, Soya Sauce Chicken, Fatt Choy, Pork Belly, Black Mushroom and Dace Fishball on a bed of White Radish and Cabbage. Simmered in a rich abalone sauce, the delectable ingredients have been well-infused with the flavour of the sauce and would be perfect for a meal at home with some steamed rice.
The fairly large abalone was firm and juicy, the roast duck was excellently moist with a smoky roasted skin, the Dace Fishball was given a citrusy touch with some dried tangerine peel and the white radish was perfectly infused with the flavour of the sauce. I was pleasantly surprised to note that the Poon Choy contained Fish Bladder (Cantonese: Fa Gao 花膠), which is often referred to as another type of Fish Maw. This ingredient is rich in collagen and often used in soups for its thickening properties. It is also supposed to aid with joint health, like Glucosamine. In recent years, the prices has risen exponentially, such that it has become more expensive than shark fins.. This is a Must-Try!Steamed Sea Perch Fillet with Special Coral Sauce
Next, we had another new creation, Steamed Sea Perch Fillet with Special Coral Sauce. The fresh, sweet and firm fish fillet was topped with a flavourful clear sauce that was brilliantly coloured with the bright orangey hues of carrot purée and broccoli florets. This dish is only available as part of the set menu so if you love the light and clean flavour of Sea Perch, this is a dish worth trying.
Yet another new culinary creation from Yan Ting’s kitchen, we were served a succulent King Prawn cooked with a Plum Sauce that had been fortified with fermented black soybeans known as Dou Si 豆豉 in Mandarin. The fermented black soybeans added a touch of umami to the fruity sweet sauce and worked well with the fresh, sweet flavours of the prawn. This is worth a try if you like strong flavours with your prawn.Stewed Beef Brisket 柱候牛腩煲 @ S$42 per portion
That was followed by traditional Stewed Beef Brisket in Chu Hou Sauce 柱候牛腩煲, one of my favourite Chinese stews.
The Stewed Beef Brisket was tender and perfectly infused with the flavour of the rich braising sauce that was made from soybeans, sesame seeds, garlic and ginger. I’m a huge fan of radish so I loved the stewed radish in this dish that seemed to be bursting with the rich beefy flavour of the stewing liquid. This is a Must Try!Wok-Fried Glutinous Rice with Wind-Dried Sausages 生炒腊味糯米饭 @ S$48 per portion
One of my favourite Cantonese CNY dishes is Lap Mei Fan 腊味饭, which is essentially rice cooked with preserved meats like Wind-Dried Sausages 腊肠, Liver Sausages 膶肠 (Yun Cheong), Waxed Pork Belly 腊肉 (Lap Yok) and Waxed Duck 腊鸭 (Lap Ngap). This is usually cooked in a claypot and after you’re done with the dish, some restaurants will add stock to the burnt crust and boil it for a second course.
Yan Ting’s version was a variant of Lap Mei Fan made with Glutinous Rice, Wind-Dried Sausages 腊肠, Liver Sausages 膶肠 and Waxed Pork Belly 腊肉. Jackson told us that the waxed meats were specially imported from Hong Kong. It was excellent as the glutinous rice was not mushy or sticky but firm grains that had been infused with the flavour of the preserved meats. I remember being impressed that the chef had managed to overcome the stickiness of the rice variety when I first tasted this dish here in 2009. We were told that stock was added regularly during the cooking process (like cooking Paella) so that the rice grains remain firm and unbroken. I loved the fragrant grains of glutinous rice that was dotted with diced bits of Wind-Dried Sausages 腊肠 and Waxed Pork Belly in the dish. In spite of how full I was already starting to feel, I finished my tasting portion. The Fried Glutinous Rice with Wind-Dried Sausages is a MUST TRY!
By the way, if you’re wondering why the sausages are referred to as wind-dried sausages, I was told that waxed meats were traditionally made in China during the Chinese 12th Month (La Yue) 腊月, which is the coldest winter month. The sausages and meats were apparently hung and dried by the strong but dry chilly wind that blew through the land, thus creating the variety of meats known as Waxed Meats (La Wei 腊味). The meats were not waxed but the hardened oils have a waxy appearance and texture.Black Glutinous Rice served with Ice Cream & Crispy Glutinous Rice Cake
I contemplated skipping dessert but I loved Yan Ting’s Crispy Glutinous Rice Cake too much to resist it. Glutinous Rice Cake 年糕(Nian Gao) is traditionally eaten during CNY because its name seems to refer to an auspicious Chinese phrase 年年高升 (Nian Nian Gao Sheng) which means to “Ascend to Greater Heights Year After Year”. The Glutinous Rice Cake here was not too sweet and the crispy batter reminded me of Goreng Pisang. The rice cake’s texture was soft and not too sticky, in all a perfectly balanced sweet ending to a meal. The Black Glutinous Rice, known locally as Pulot Hitam, was delicious and not excessively sweet. It went well with the ice cream however, I was way too full to finish it. Available only on the set menu, this dessert is worth a try!
Do check the website for more details: http://www.stregissingapore.com/yanting
The St Regis Singapore
29 Tanglin Road,
Telephone: +65 6506-6866
Daily: 11.45 am to 2.30pm & 6.30pm to 10.30pm
PS: Thank you, Jackson Sim from The St. Regis Singapore for the kind hospitality.