When Jiang-Nan Chun at the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore was re-introduced approximately two years ago, it brought along a wave of new dishes that combines the best of Cantonese-cuisine with a modern interpretation. One of the most memorable dishes for me personally was the Signature Peking Duck that is served with caviar even. This year, with a new chef at its helm, the culinary team over at Jiang-Nan Chun has once again reinvented itself to serve not only delicious food but one that is intricately-plated as well.
Customary to all Chinese New Year lunches and dinners in Singapore, the meal starts with a Yu Sheng which is essentially a tossing for good fortune. For all visitors to Singapore or those who are not familiar with this dish, you may think of it as a salad that is often served with raw salmon (which is essentially the 'sheng yu' - raw fish). The version here at Jiang-Nan Chun is quite possibly the most luxurious one that I have eaten this year. The Prosperity Salmon Yu Sheng with Abalone, Japanese Surf Clams and Bird's Nest comes with not only salmon but also chunks of bird's nest which everyone was very careful not to toss out of the plate.
The second dish served during the evening was a combination of appetisers. This dish was carefully-prepared to allow us to sample the three different dishes and I do not suppose this is something that you can order off the menu (even though I am sure a simple request into the kitchen will solve that). The Roasted Spanish Iberico Pork with Honey Glaze is delicious and even though I am typically not a fan of sweet flavours, the fattiness and tenderness the pork won me over. I also enjoyed the Poached Chicken in Chinese Wine completely as the flavours were not only pronounced but also there was an interesting interesting mix in textures.
One of the things that I look forward to at any good Cantonese restaurant is the double-boiled soup which is usually painstakingly-cooked over a long period of time with premium ingredients. The Double-Boiled Pork Ribs Soup with Sea Whelk, Maka and Dried Scallops is everything you would expect from a good Cantonese soup - the soup is packed with flavours that have been extracted from the dried scallops, pork-ribs as well as the sea whelk. The use of Maka (essentially a kind of Peruvian ginseng) makes this bowl of soup extremely beneficial for men but I shall not discuss this further - just Google it!
The fourth course was a sampling portion of the Wok-fried Boston Lobster in Black Bean Sauce. Once again, every good Cantonese restaurant has their own black bean sauce and while this may sound fairly uninspiring, I assure you that this is an important component in any perfectly-executed dish in the restaurant. I did like the sauce but the lobster is fairly forgettable in my opinion - perhaps because it was a tasting portion and I would have much preferred to eat the tail of the lobster as opposed to the claw.
I really enjoyed the Fried Rice with Crab Meat, Butterscotch Mushrooms and Dried Scallops in Abalone Sauce - every grain of rice was separate from each other but yet at the same time, the dish really came together with the right amount of wok-hei.
The Hot Almond Cream with Egg White is a chef's signature - he has spent months experimenting with the ingredients to create a perfect balance of almond cream and egg white. The coconut nian gao is also an interesting alternative to the usual nian gao that is eaten traditionally during the Lunar New Year period.
This was an invited media-tasting session, though all views expressed are my own.