Monday, 24 January 2011

Binge - Impress-Your-Guests Chinese New Year Takeaways

Xin Cuisine's yu sheng with gold leaf

Put on the brakes! CNY is coming upon us too soon and I had just spent yesterday morning in Chinatown picking up all the necessarily red and gold paraphernalia to ring in the season. I am now suitably armed with pussy willows, my ‘ang chye’ or red cloth door banner, plastic ‘ong lai’ and all other CNY essentials. Just brought a good friend to Glory Catering at 139 East Coast Road, where you can find a really massive range of CNY confections including nostalgic cookies and stuff you don’t often see these days such as those golden agar rabbits and karas karas. It’s definitely worth a go.

Man Fu Yuan's glutinous rice stuffed chicken

For the formal dinners, though, I have been trawling through the high end offerings ‘cos I’m not in the mood to cook. Some are pretty quirky, others have impact, and most are creative traditional dishes which, at the end of the day, will probably prove the most popular. See what I saw as potential picks for your reunion dinner….

Min Jiang, at Goodwood Park Hotel
The Golden Fortune Treasures Egg (S$198 for 6, left) sounds interesting if you want a central focus for the meal with a memorable ‘wow’ factor. ‘Give-face’ ingredients like pork knuckles, whole abalones, dried scallops, dried oysters, black moss and black mushrooms are wrapped up in lotus leaves, encased in an egg-shaped salt crust, and oven-baked for four hours. I guess you’ll have to knock real hard to hatch it. I love duck, so must mention the Prosperity ‘Fa Cai’ 8 Treasures Duck (S$168 for 8-10). This boneless bird is stuffed with ‘eight treasures’ of fresh mushrooms, sea cucumber, dried scallops, lotus seeds, fox nuts, black moss, chestnuts and water chestnuts, and braised. Both available for dine-in and take-away at Min Jiang and Min Jiang at One-North with one day advance order. If you have a dentally challenged relative for dins, or wanna give her some nice goodies, pick the steamed Carrot Cake with Preserved Meat and Steamed Yam Cake with Dried Shrimp set (S$50.80, feeds 20; or sold separately at S$28.80 for 10 people; takeaway only).

Min Jiang Tel: 67301704
Min Jiang One-North Tel: 6774 0122

Man Fu Yuan, InterContinental Singapore
The bestseller here, I am advised, is the Deluxe Treasure Pot, or poon choy, featuring eels, sea kelp, sharks fin, among the layers of 20-plus fancy ingredients. Fork out the $318 and they’ll also give you a plate of yu sheng for good measure. Regulars also go for their glutinous rice stuffed chicken ($88), the unique yam cake with chunks of roast duck ($13.80) and double boiled sharks cartilage soup with five head abalone ($318 for 5 people, right). What’s cute too is their takeaway sets so you pick up a whole package for an entire meal – like the double boiled Buddha jump over the wall, wok fried glutinous rice and yu sheng ($688 for 5).

80 Middle Road
Tel: 6825 1062

Xin Cuisine, Holiday Inn Atrium
Not in the most fashionable parts of town, nor perhaps the prettiest hotel either, but Holiday Inn Atrium has Xin Cuisine, a stalwart of a Chinese restaurant that has consistently served up good and innovative foods quietly and steadily. It always felt it deserves more recognition than it enjoys. Good to get from here are its roasted suckling pigs ($298) – a nice change from the usual abundance of rich seafood – and its yu sheng with gold leaf, which comes with Japanese Sweet Prawn, Geoduck, Salmon, Japanese Cobia or Tuna (from $59). If I was going to give away a poon choy (from $238, above), theirs come prettily plated and packed in a silk bag. And the best thing is, they prices are very attractive. They too offer a luxurious takeaway set menu: poon choy, salmon yu sheng, sucking pig and nian gao at $800. My guess is, you can probably feed 8-10 exceedingly well with that!

317 Outram Road

Tel: 6731 7173


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