From 22 January – 14 February 2014, Mandarin Oriental Singapore’s Cantonese Restaurant, Cherry Garden, will be offering numerous Chinese New Year Set Menus, crafted to meet the diverse preferences in food items. Of course, all (but one) menus will include the mandatory tradition of lo-hei.
Yu Sheng :: ‘Yu Sheng (鱼生)’, being interpreted as a homophone for ‘Yu Sheng (余升), is considered a symbol of abundance in prosperity, which also explains its alias of ‘Prosperity Toss’. The Prosperity Yu Sheng comes with salmon and crispy fish skin, and also came in just the right balance of sweetness and piquant flavors. The simple addition of crispy fish skin was enough to break out of a run-of-the-mill Yu Sheng. Other renditions of Yu Sheng include prized ingredients like lobster, abalone and black truffle.
Cherry Garden Treasure Pot :: Cherry Garden’s Treasure Pot, better known as Basin Dish, or ‘Pen Cai‘, is Singapore’s largest traditional ‘Pen Cai‘, weighing more than 25kg, and about 45cm in diameter (for the fun of it, make a random guess in your head, and highlight the sentence to reveal the answer). It’s literally 过个肥年 and overflowing with treasures. The Pot brims with ingredients like braised whole 8-headed abalone, lobsters, scallops, sea cucumbers, prawns, conpoy, dried oysters, dace fillet, roasted duck, soy chicken, crispy pork belly and black moss.
At first look, forgetting the jaw-dropping moments from the sheer size of the behemoth, I was skeptical at how it’d taste, considering that all the items are soaked. Save the minimal hiccups of sogginess along the way, I was actually pretty impressed at the retention of quality. It is also a good family get-together activity of digging through the ‘Pen Cai‘ and maybe stealing an abalone or two from your relatives. The Set Menu featuring the Treasure Pot (the ‘Success Set Menu’) requires a minimum of 6 persons. The ingredients are adjusted according to the number of diners. While the restaurant does not do takeaways for the entire Pot (because you would then need a forklift), you are more than welcomed to takeaway the ingredients of the Treasure Pot in the event that you are unable to finish them while dining in.
Besides the Prosperity Yu Sheng and Cherry Garden Treasure Pot featured on the ‘Success Set Menu‘, you can also expect to be served with Glutinous Rice with Waxed Meat and Chilled Almonds & Snow Fungus in Red Dates Soup. The former was simple and straightforward, but not the most sticky. The latter made an awe-inspiring entrance with the presence of dry ice, used to chill the dessert bowl; a feast to both the eyes and taste. The 5th item on the Success Set Menu is the Chilled Osmanthus Blossom Jelly with Wolfberries. The set costs $118++ per person, and I genuinely think that it’s worthy.
The equally stimulating part of Chinese New Year is the goodies that sit on the tables of every family you visit. While my favorite goodie is hands down, the Pineapple Tart, I am quite a rubbish chute when it comes to snacks. Mandarin Oriental is taking in orders for the festive goodies that include Red Dates Nian Gao ($42/box), Green Tea Mochi with Lotus Paste & Macadamia Nuts ($48/16pcs) and the attention-grabbing Golden Piglet Shortcake with Lotus Paste ($48/box of 4). As the 4 piglets in the box comes in different sizes, we like to think them as a family of father, mother, brother and sister. It’s with a heavy heart to devour them, but to signify a bountiful year ahead, it’s worth the sacrifice of the (adorable) family. To please and impress your guests this year, if I have to choose one, I’d say to go for the hindmost. Also when you do that, please invite me over. I promise not to request for any red packets.
For the full and elaborate list of set menus and festive goodies takeaway brochure, click here.
Special gratitude to Usha, Vernia and the Mandarin Oriental Singapore team for the hospitality and hosting the media tasting session.
Address: 5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square, Mandarin Oriental Singapore, Level 4
Telephone: 6885 3500 (Takes Reservation)
Opening Hours (for Lunch & Dinner): 12pm – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 10pm