Tuesday, 29 July, 2014

 
Published January 18, 2014
Dining
Take & go
Most restaurants are already fully booked on the eve of Chinese New Year by now but if you still do not want the hassle of cooking your own reunion dinner, the best bet would be takeaways that taste just as good in the comfort of your home. By Jaime Ee
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MODERN TAKE VS TRADITIONAL
Bar Roque Bar & Grill's version of yusheng (above) and its rotisserie duck  with delicate honey and five-spice fragrance. - PHOTOS OF BAR ROQUE BAR & GRILL BY YEN MENG JIIN

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Blue Lotus

31 Ocean Way, Quayside Isle, #01-13

Tel: 6339 0880

THIS new kid on the Chinese restaurant block is making a good impression this Chinese New Year with a small but solid range of takeaway items from Spanish-style roast suckling pig to new-fangled yusheng that has you tossing sweet marinated cherry tomatoes and smoked salmon in a mountain of shredded greens, deep fried silver bait and crisp salmon skin in a lemon-honey dressing. The yusheng ($68/$98) is a creation of chef Emmanuel Stroobant and is one of the few non-Chinese versions of yusheng that tastes enough like the real thing but still offers a nice twist. Same with the suckling pig ($188) which is air dried and with a thinner layer of fat than usual and crisp skin which stays that way for a good three hours or so.

Check out also the rib-sticking lo mai kai ($38), which features a whole chicken stuffed with savoury glutinous rice and wrapped in lotus leaves. Unwrap and give it a good sniff before spooning out the melting soft meat contrasting with the chewy broth-infused rice. And if that doesn't fill you up, order the homestyle pencai ($288 for six people or $388 for 10) that's stuffed with abalone, sea cucumber, fish maw, pig's trotter and other gelatinous goodies.

Bar Roque Bar & Grill

For takeaways, order at its website:

www.barroque.com.sg or at 165

Tanjong Pagar Road, #01-00

Tel: 6444 9672

HE'S not Chinese, but that's not stopping French chef Stephane Istel from putting his own spin on the reunion dinner. He's even got his own yusheng ($88), which is like a giant salad of shredded carrot, celery, candied walnuts and crisp lotus root chips dressed in a ginger sesame dressing. But if you'd rather bet on a sure thing, then you can't go wrong with his rotisserie duck ($98) with its delicate honey and five-spice fragrance, juicy meat with a lightly crisp skin, and perfectly roasted tender butternut squash on the side. Other options include crispy pork belly or pork knuckle and whole suckling pig stuffed with chestnuts.

Sichuan Dou Hua Restaurant

PARKROYAL on Beach Road.

Tel: 6505 5722

PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road.

Tel: 6428 3170

TOP of UOB Plaza. Tel: 6535 6006

ONE of the best suckling pigs in town can be found in Sichuan Dou Hua and if you never thought of having it at home because you're worried about losing the crispiness, this version holds up pretty well even when cold. Priced at $258, you get the whole animal sliced in neat juicy pieces and re-assembled into shape, with shattering-crisp skin, thick layer of fat (unfortunately for the health-conscious) and juicy meat. It tastes perfectly good on its own and doesn't really need the accompanying goose liver sauce which is thick mixture of liver mixed into a creamy, nutty paste.

Also excellent is the fried glutinous rice with waxed meat which offers different levels of chewiness and crunch in a claypot. The rice is studded with cubes of sweet Chinese sausage, streaky pork and crunchy puffed rice on top. The rice is part of the restaurant's takeaway dinner set menu priced at $380 for four to six people or $580 for eight to 10.

Peony Jade

Blk 3A Clarke Quay #02-02. Z6338 0305

Bukit Chermin Road, Keppel Club.

Tel: 6276 9138

PEONY Jade's lychee roasted duck ($48.88 for half/$78.88 for whole) hits you first with its deep yet delicate fruity scent and then its juicy meat that's accented with a sweet-savoury lychee sauce or regular brown gravy. Thick chunks of meat are moist and don't dry out quickly, and there's a top note of lychee that lingers as you chomp down. Also pretty ingenious is its suckling pig ($238), which takes its cue from Peking duck and is served in slices atop a layer of savoury glutinous rice and light chewy pancake. Call it a suckling pig blini if you like, but the combination of soft yielding white pancake, chewy mushroom-flavoured glutinous rice and the thin layer of crisp and lean pork and skin makes for a festive mouthful of joy.

Hua Ting

Orchard Hotel Singapore. Te: 6739 6666

IF the celebratory yusheng usually fills you up before you start digging into your reunion meal proper, Hua Ting has come up with an alternative that will satisfy your tossing requirements but still leave enough room in your tummy. Its healthy fresh fruit and seasonal greens yusheng ($48 for small/$88 for large) offers sweetness from shredded chilled sweet melons, salad greens, familiar garnishes and crispy crackers all tossed together in a mild, mustardy dressing that is light and refreshing. Purists may balk at the sight of lettuce leaves and the thought of mustard, but it all pulls together quite well. Perhaps to placate traditionalists, the restaurant might want to consider offering the option of a traditional plum sauce dressing instead of the mustard version. If you want to luxe it up, opt for the version that comes with a generous amount of thinly sliced toro sashimi ($208 for small/$388 for large)

mezza9

Grand Hyatt Singapore. Tel: 6732 1234

MEZZA9 may not strike you as a place for a reunion meal, but it doesn't mean it can't hit the right traditional notes with its takeaway options. Chinese cuisine gets a modern twist with its creations such as a sustainable yusheng ($48 to $98) featuring the traditional toss up with South Australian yellowtail kingfish and Irish organic Atlantic salmon. The classic salad is refreshing and sweet, with the clean flavours of the eco-friendly fish upping the appeal. A nice change from the norm comes from the plump Spencer Gulf prawn and Canadian scallop dumpling in a lightly thickened, Oriental-style pumpkin soup ($28 a portion). Other creations include lemon grass roast duck with turmeric sauce ($38/$72) and home-made steamed spinach tofu with black moss and wolfberry ($32).

Min Jiang

Goodwood Park Hotel. Te: 6730 1704

No 5 Rochester Park. Tel: 6774 0122

THIS faithful fallback whenever you want a fuss-free reunion has come up with a couple of new entrants this year. One of them would be the braised chicken with sea treasures in claypot ($198) which features a whole steamed chicken and pork belly braised with Zhuhou sauce, oyster sauce and wine for up to seven hours. The juices and gravy are thickened and assembled with abalones, dried oysters and mushrooms before being cooked for another hour. The result? Melting soft meats and tender abalones in a thick intense gravy.

Neo Garden Catering

Tel: 6896 7757

www.neogarden.com.sg

HAVING a reunion dinner at home is convenient but driving around and picking up everything you need is still a hassle. If that's too much for you, then Neo Catering does all the planning for you with reunion sets for eight to 10 people that they will deliver to your doorstep for a fee of $25 or $30. Regulars swear by their prosperity yusheng, and menus include old fashioned favourites such as deep fried yam ring, sea cucumber and braised duck, chestnut chicken, ee-fu noodles and pumpkin rice. Priced from $328 for eight to 10 people. If you need to feed an entire clan, they can do that too.

jaime@sph.com.sg