Pots of fortune this Chinese New Year
These soups and pen cai dishes are sure to add flavour to your Chinese New Year meals
It does not matter if it is the Chinese New Year period or not - there are some of us who always need a soup dish, or at least something soupy, for their meal.
If you need your meal enhanced by a bowl of soup, here are some of the most memorable ones I have tasted. All are available this Chinese New Year season.
SZECHUAN COURT & KITCHEN
Szechuan Court & Kitchen (Fairmont Singapore, Tel: 6431-6156) has a soup that is both nutritious and delicious.
The soup, with superior fish maw and lobster ($58 per person), is double-boiled for more than eight hours. Its stock is made out of kampung chicken and pork bones.
The collagen from this soup should give your skin a boost for Chinese New Year. It will be available from Monday.
Carousel (Royal Plaza on Scotts, Tel: 6589-7799) will be offering a Chinese New Year buffet spread from Jan 27 to 29 with a range of dishes in addition to the usual items.
The must-try item is the Abalone Peppercorn soup, a spicy, aromatic and punchy soup that is a treat for your senses.
Prices start from $56 for lunch and from $86 for dinner.
MAN FU YUAN
When it comes to grandeur, it is hard to beat Man Fu Yuan (InterContinental Singapore, Tel: 6825-1007).
One of the restaurant's most delicious offerings this Chinese New Year is the humble double-boiled pig tripe soup with seafood ($128, serves five).
But because it is Man Fu Yuan, the seafood consists of Sri Lanka crab and prawns.
It is comfort food with a touch of luxe. Available from today.
I loved almost every dish I tried from the Chinese New Year menu at Jade (The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, Tel: 6877-8188), but the Bao Luo Wan Xiang (Chinese idiom that means "all inclusive") soup deserves special mention.
The soup, at $78 per person (minimum six people), is a pared-down Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, but it delivers an equal impact.
Another soupy option is the Stewed Claypot Chicken and Crab Meat Duo (from $68). It is made with red wine and Chinese wine.
If you want more than just soup, another foolproof dish is the pen cai.
These pots of goodness are the ultimate festive one dish meal - a combination of premium ingredients covered in a savoury sauce and slow-cooked.
Just because of pen cai, I wish it was Chinese New Year every day. Here are some recommended ones.
HAI TIEN LO
The Classic Fortune Pot from Hai Tien Lo (Pan Pacific Singapore, Tel: 6826-8240) is one of the best ones this season.
Priced from $338 for six people, it is filled with ingredients such as stewed chicken and whole abalone.
It is available until Feb 11, but do place your order early if you are planning to serve this during your reunion meal.
Cherry Garden's (Mandarin Oriental Singapore, Tel: 6885-3500) Luxurious Pen Cai is a showstopper.
A feast for the eyes, it is served in a tub with the circumference of a small table top. And it weighs about 25kg when all the ingredients have been added in.
The tub is filled to the brim with ingredients such as braised four-head abalone, lobsters, scallops, and dried oyster rolls. It is not for a family with a small appetite.
The penchai is only available as a dine-in option - imagine lugging it back in your Grab car! - as part of the seven-course Success menu ($168 per pax, minimum six diners).
WAN HAO CHINESE RESTAURANT
New at Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant (Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, Tel: 6831-4605) is the Nourishing Pen Cai with Pig Trotter and Crispy Oyster (from $688 for six people).
It has 13 ingredients, including trotter, black moss Iberico meatballs and fish maw in a broth made with Chinese ham, old chicken, and scallops.
It is available until Feb 11 and can be ordered for takeaway.