Celebrating the Lunar New Year (2017) ahead at Pan Pacific Singapore's award-winning Hai Tien Lo is definitely a great idea. The hotel is running a number of dining promotions across the various restaurants during the Chinese New Year Period (09 January 2017 to 11 February 2017) so be sure to check out the festive offerings to find something that suits you.
Hai Tien Lo's Yu Sheng is one of my personal favourites each year - in fact, my family and I actually enjoys their version more than the other Chinese restaurants. During the media tasting we sampled the adorable (but very auspicious!) Flourishing Wealth Yu Sheng with Boston Lobster, Norwegian Salmon and Surf Clams. Even though I am generally not a fan of yu sheng (I really eat it just for tradition), Hai Tien Lo's version strikes the best balance of sweetness in this dish - nothing more upsetting than an overly sweet dish to start the dinner.
One dish I really do look forward to each year is the Double-boiled Buddha Jumps Over the Wall with Maca and Wolfberries. While the dish varies slightly over the years (they used Matsutake Mushroom last year which I personally prefer), this is always a comforting dish to enjoy - in fact, a simpler version is also available during the weekend dim sum brunch which I go back for from time to time.
Another protein type that the restaurant does consistently well is seafood. The Steamed Fillet of Sea Perch with Dried Scallops and Minced Garlic Crumble this year was firm to bite but yet fresh enough to slide apart. I love the natural sweetness from the flesh of the sea perch and honestly, the dish requires nothing else - except maybe a bowl of rice to soak up all that delicious sauce underneath.
The Premium Wealth Treasure Pot from Hai Tien Lo is probably a more refreshing rendition of the traditional treasure pots (otherwise known as pen cai) sold in other restaurants. This version comes with whole abalone, pork knuckle, roast duck and fresh prawns so you really do get the best of all worlds (meaning to say land and sea). I love the consistency of the braised sauce and Hai Tien Lo seems to perfect it every single year so three cheers to Executive Chef Lai Tong Ping!
In celebration of the upcoming year of the fire rooster, Hai Tien Lo has introduced a brand new dish for 2017 - the Steamed Farm Chicken with Minced Ginger. While the dish is not an overly complicated one, the sauces that went with the chicken was delicious (make sure you try the special minced ginger sauce)!
One interesting dish served during the tasting was the Stewed Inaniwa Udon with Seafood and Truffle. While it is not uncommon to see fried (or even stewed!) udon in Chinese cuisine, it was the first time I actually see the incorporation of this highly-regarded udon from the Akita Prefecture in a delicious braised stock. I personally think that the truffle was unnecessary and the dish was already great the way it is but to each his own!
Finally for dessert, a light and refreshing bowl of Auspicious Eight Treasures Tea with Snow Swallow that just seems to be the perfect end to a great and hearty meal.
This was an invited Media Tasting session, though all views expressed are my own.