New Tastes for the New Year
Sample surprising spins that offer a taste of Spring in bloom
Issue: Jan 2012
Peony Jade Restaurant's Lo-Hei Yusheng provides a brand new presentation to usher in the year of the dragon
When it comes to a celebration as well-loved and traditional as the Chinese New Year, restaurants are challenged every year to create menus that are innovative and yet honour age-old practices.
Hence, recognition must be given to those who succeed. INSIDE brings you some restaurants in Singapore that have found novel ways of putting the “new” back into Chinese New Year goodies.
Spring in Every Bite
Chinese New Year is traditionally celebrated to mark the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring, a time for farmers to welcome the start of a new harvest. In China, it is still called the Spring Festival (春节). Because of their association with Spring, flowers feature prominently in Chinese New Year celebrations. To the Chinese who believe in the importance of symbolism, they represent rebirth, new life and growth – all the things they hope for in the coming year. This year, some restaurants have taken one step further by introducing new offerings that incorporate flowers.
Peony Jade Restaurant at Clarke Quay, which specialises in Szechuan/ Cantonese cuisine, has one special item amongst its mouth-watering array of sweets treats and special festive menu that is sure to charm. “Gather Greater Fortune” Peonies in Blossom (花开富贵) are delicately crafted peony-shaped, sugary concoctions filled with premium low-sugar white lotus and garnished with sparkly crystal pearls. This set of nine floral-themed cookies symbolises abundant health, wealth and prosperity.
Peony Jade Restaurant presents lovely edible blooms, “Gather Greater Fortune” Peonies in Blossom, that harkens back to the tradition of welcoming Spring with flowers
“The peony is one of the most exquisite flowers and they symbolize nobility and value. When in full bloom, they symbolize peace,” said Robert Han, Group General Manager of The Quayside Group, owner of Peony Jade Restaurant.
Crystal Jade My Bread outlets found in CapitaMalls Asia malls also has flower-inspired offerings to celebrate Spring. To wish all its patrons good health for the coming year, it has given a healthy take to the Chinese New Year dessert - auspiciously-shaped jelly like a golden ingot. Made with Konnayaku jelly that is low in calories, high in fiber and good for lowering cholesterol levels, "Abundance of Good Fortune" jelly is shaped like gold ingots and infused with floral tea, Chrysanthemum, which gives it a pale golden hue. Red wolfberries are also added for a burst of red. Abundance of Good Health is made with Hawthorn and Roselle, a species of Hibiscus and shaped like carp to symbolise abundant health.
Crystal Jade My Bread's Abundance of Good Fortune Chrysanthemum and Wolfberry Ingot Konnayaku Jelly is infused with floral tea and Wolfberries
The Dragon Comes to Dinner
For some chefs, “new” is defined in the presentation. To welcome the Dragon Year, Peony Jade Restaurant has two dragon inspired dishes. “Harvest Your Riches Abundantly”
Lo-Hei Yu Sheng has delightfully luxurious ingredients arranged in the shape of a dragon. 10 premium items include Australian lobsters, Australian sliced abalone, Atlantic salmon, ikan parang, sea beam, swordfish stomach, tuna fish, octopus fillets, sweet shrimps and squid fillet. Topping it all are edible golden leaves and a secret home-made sauce, making it a truly indulgent dish.
To help family bonding, Peony Jade also has a dish that requires group participation to enjoy. “Harvest Your Riches Abundantly” Golden Egg invites diners to smash and break a dragon egg-shaped crust to get to the fillings. Eight choice ingredients: whole Australian abalones, leafy sea dragons, organic black truffle, American sea cucumber, sakura chicken, shitake mushrooms, Korean ginseng and fatt choy have all been painstakingly cooked over 12 hours to bring out their natural flavours. The act of smashing the “egg” symbolises the act of warding off bad luck to welcome a safe, peaceful and prosperous new year filled with wealth, good fortune and health.
“Harvest Your Riches Abundantly” Golden Egg at Peony Jade Restaurant features a smooth crust that diners have to smash through to get at the luxurious fillings
Szechuan Court at Fairmont Singapore puts in new ingredients for a fresh take on the traditional yusheng
New Take on Time-tested Dishes
Szechuan Court at Fairmont Singapore's Golden Dragon Yusheng ups the ante on the indulgent factor with a generous drizzle of truffle oil and gold dust that is sprinkled over the exquisite ingredients like swordfish, abalone, lobster and salmon. The fragrance of the oil brings out the freshness of the seafood and adds a modern twist to the traditional must-have.
At China Club Singapore high atop Capital Tower, in keeping with the tradition of offering whole chicken, duck, fish or pork shoulder for the main course for Reunion Dinner, the chef has created a new dish named "Stewed Baby Duck with Eight Treasures". What makes this dish new is the use of a baby duck which is more tender and succulent. Eight treasured are stuffed into the duck: Vietnamese salted duck egg, barley, lotus seed, pitted red dates, black fungus, golden needle mushroom, Yunnan pickle and chestnuts to symbolise bountiful harvest. The duck is then stewed to seal in all the goodness.
With so many innovative gourmet offerings this Chinese New Year, it is easy to usher in Spring and blossoming possibilities for the year ahead.
Peony Jade @ Clarke Quay
3A River Valley Road
Tel: (65) 6338 0305
Crystal Jade My Bread
200 Victoria Street
Bugis Junction #B1- 04A
Tel: (65) 6333 0198
2 Stamford Road
Fairmont Hotel Level 3
Tel: (65) 6431 6156
Crystal Jade My Bread
9 Bishan Place
Junction 8 #B1-29A
Tel: (65) 62550889
The China Club Singapore
168 Robinson Road
Capital Tower 52nd floor
Tel: (65) 6820 2388
Crystal Jade My Bread2 Jurong East Street
IMM Building #01-83
Tel: (65) 68960377