There are plenty of Chinese restaurant concepts to choose from in Singapore, ranging from fiery Sichuan and unique Fujian dishes to classic Cantonese and fine Chinese meals with a twist.
Text: Alexandra Lin
Putien, which specialises in cuisine from the Fujian province of China, has come a long way since it was founded in 2000. The original outlet at Kitchener Road has maintained its one Michelin star for a few years now, while operating 80 outlets in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Philippines.
The unpretentious cuisine is light yet flavourful with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. The restaurant group regularly imports the finest seasonal ingredients from Putian in Fujian, and other parts of China. Some of these include the unique seasonal Duo Tou clams from Putian’s Hanjiang district, as well as oysters which are showcased during Putien’s oyster festival from November till March. For their Chinese New Year yusheng, one of the ingredients added is the “first batch seaweed” from Fujian. Harvested annually, the texture of the seaweed is very soft and tender.
You can’t go wrong with satisfying Fujian specialties like the 100-second stewed yellow croaker fish and steamed prawn with minced garlic. Or crowd-pleasers like the signature fried Heng Hwa bee hoon and shredded pork with sesame bun.
Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant, a pioneer of Sichuan cuisine, was established in 1996.
The outlet perched on top of UOB Plaza serves fine quality Sichuan dishes and Cantonese creations. Your meal is of course topped with panoramic views of the city’s skyline.
The restaurant is probably most famous for its Chong Qing diced chicken with dried chilli, but there are other less fiery dishes such as chicken soup with fish maw, sea whelk and morel mushrooms as well as deep-fried prawns laced with passionfruit sauce. And if you’re feeling decadent, there’s fried rice with sliced wagyu beef and truffle sauce complete with poached egg. The dining experience is complemented with a skilled tea master who combines acrobatics and dance in the traditional art of tea pouring.
There are two other outlets at Kitchener Road (refurbished in 2020) and at Parkroyal on Beach Road which offers a selection of more than 30 types of premium Chinese teas from the adjoining Tian Fu Tea Room.
Jade Restaurant is known for its refined Cantonese delicacies and elegant setting.
Dine amid lofty ceilings, warm lanterns, and gorgeous pastel wallpaper embellished with flowers and birds. There are two private rooms for those who want more privacy when dining, or to host intimate special occasions.
Executive Chinese Chef Leong Chee Yeng who has helmed the kitchen since 2008 dishes out stellar dishes. He is also a keen artist who crafts ceramic pieces which are displayed in the restaurant. Look out for his spectacular sculpted sugar and gelatine table centerpieces which he brings out from time to time. Some of his specialties include simmered egg noodles with Boston lobster and Jade’s X.O. Sauce, as well as double boiled coconut water with kampong chicken, snow lotus and dried scallop served in coconut shell.
A dim sum menu is available for lunch. Tuck into specialities like bak kut teh xiao long bao, deep-fried thousand layer radish pastry and pan-fried chill crab meat bun. On weekends, diners can enjoy Jade’s Weekend Yum Cha, which includes a selection of up to 15 items from the extensive dim sum menu alongside signature dishes.
Established in 1982, Min Jiang at Goodwood Park Hotel is a stalwart in Singapore’s dining scene. The restaurant continues to offer a host of sublime Cantonese and Sichuan creations. The elegant establishment also features a dim sum pushcart service during lunchtime – a rare sight in Chinese eateries these days. Tuck into hand-made dim sum like steamed pumpkin ball, and deep-fried bacon roll with enoki mushrooms and prawns. Mainstays to try include honey-glazed barbecued Ibérico pork and Min Jiang hot and sour soup.
The newer, more modern Min Jiang at Dempsey was launched in 2019. Surrounded by lush greenery, the restaurant boasts contemporary chinoiserie interiors, plus a bar and alfresco space. Cantonese and Sichuan creations are plated in a contemporary manner here. Among the intricate dim sum creations to tuck into include Steamed ‘Goldfish’ Prawn Dumpling ‘swimming’ in a delicate egg white sauce. Other standouts are the wood-fired Beijing duck as well as Typhoon Shelter Squid and Soft Shell Crab.
PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay’s Peach Blossoms which has been serving fine Cantonese cuisine for years recently underwent a revamp. Since early 2021, its unique progressive Cantonese cuisine has received rave reviews from many diners. Executive Chinese Chef Edward Chong confidently carves out flavourful dishes, elevated with eye-catching presentation and artistic plating.
Some of his memorable signature items include Deep Fried ‘Cigar’ Roll made of deep-fried spring roll skin, filled with black truffle, foie gras and prawn, complete with some ‘ash’ made from coloured crispy rice. There are also the juicy applewood-smoked Iberico pork char siew and stewed mung bean noodles perfumed with 10-year ‘Gu Yue Long Shan’ rice wine. Look out too for the Chef’s Hands unique menus, that change daily based on the day’s freshest seasonal ingredients. Choose from a five-, six- or eight-course menu, with each dish following special themes (like ‘Sustainable’, ‘Artisan’, ‘Grain’).
Mott 32 is well known for its progressive Chinese cuisine, executed with premium ingredients. Highlights include roasts like the applewood roasted Peking Duck, and Barbecue Pluma Iberico Pork glazed with honey. Standout dim sum items include a luxed up version of siu mai with Iberico pork, soft quail egg, and black truffle as well as the addictive hot and sour Shanghainese soup xiao long bao. New a la carte dishes in the menu include an aromatic wok fried glutinous rice with dried scallop and black bean, and delicate double-boiled Imperial bird’s nest with fresh milk in coconut.
Mott 32’s brand-new Afternoon High Tea set menu ($52 per person) is available from 3pm to 5pm on weekends. The four-course set menu comprises an appetiser platter, a trio of dim sum, stewed egg noodles with spicy XO sauce, and dessert of sweetened guava soup with sago pearls and pomelo.
The three-decade-old Hai Tien Lo at Pan Pacific Singapore offers contemporary twists to traditional Cantonese fine dining. The chef weaves a modern touch to his authentic creations such as the Signature Trio of Treasures, featuring crispy sliced barbecued Beijing duck with jelly fish, deep-fried fresh oyster with garlic and peppered salt, and deep-fried crispy prawn with passion fruit and honey sauce. There’s also unique twist to the Hai Tien Lo Style Classic Sliced Beijing Duck, which is luxed up with the addition of caviar, creamy avocado and vegetarian beancurd skin, and wrapped with homemade Chinese pancakes. Other refined specialities include baked silver sea perch fillet with kumquat chilli sauce, and stir-fried lobster with truffle sauce served in whole pumpkin.
Dim Sum lovers can score a table at Hai Tien Lo’s Weekday Dim Sum Lunch Buffet or Weekend Dim Sum Brunch Buffet Experience. There’s an extensive selection of dishes to feast on. Tip: you might want to skip breakfast before you go.
One-Michelin-starred Summer Palace at Regent Singapore is a classic Cantonese restaurant that offers consistently well executed creations that are light yet flavourful. Here you can impress your family or business associates with delicate dim sum such as shrimp dumplings with bird’s nest and deep-fried yam with garoupa, followed by nourishing chilled double boiled pear with Chinese herbs. Unique new specialties prepped with premium quality ingredients include wok-fried crocodile meat spiked with a spicy sauce and hearty steamed glutinous rice with crab served in bamboo basket.
Highly experienced Executive Chinese Chef Liu Ching Hai also offers Chef’s Tasting Menus, which are weekly menu rotations featuring his signature wok-fried dishes, dim sum and nutritious double-boiled soups. These are available for both lunch and dinner.