I have been asked by the Smart Local folks to contribute to a list of signature dishes at restaurants all across Singapore. Requirement is mid-end to fine dining. This is a tough one.
2013 has been an amazing year in terms of food. As a food blogger, I feel the need to at least try some of the most recognised and awarded restaurants in Singapore. That brought me to Iggy’s, Waku Ghin, Jaan, Brasserie Les Saveurs, Guther’s, Tippling Club and Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck.
Not trying to show off because all of which comes with a big price tag, lots of savings needed and a hole in the wallet, and it takes time and finding the right occasion. (Those left on my wish-list for 2014 include Andre, Shinji, Burnt Ends, Osteria Mozza and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon.)
These signature dishes have become my personal favourites for 2013 for a reason, they create that ‘WOW’ sensation after you take your first bite, releasing a bolt of happiness within the body, and makes you stand amazed at the crafts of the people in the kitchen.
Some come from fine end dining restaurants, while some staying unassuming and humble.
Waku Ghin’s Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin and Oscietra Caviar
Waku Ghin can be considered Chef Tetsuya’s dream ‘playground’, a 10,000 square feet expensive space, meant to serve maximum of 25 customers at one time. Its signature dish, the Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin and Oscietra Caviar, is mind-blowing delicious. Every spoonful of the uni just melts in your mouth sensationally, and you feel transported to a gastronomic dreamland. (Read: Waku Ghin, Marina Bay Sands)
Tsukada Nojo’s Bijin Nabe
Tsukada Nojo is best known for their Bijin Nabe ($25 for 1 pax) – a “Beauty Pot” of collagen-rich organic chicken broth, and ingredients of prawns, fresh organic vegetables mushroom and chicken meatballs. The Jidori chicken is a valuable ‘brand chicken’ in Japan, raised organically with stringent quality standards. The soup which melts from an initial lump of white smooth silky pudding, tastes nutritious, rich and extremely flavourful. (Read: Tsukada Nojo, Chinatown Point)
Summer Palace’s Drunken Dong Po Pork
Summer Palace’s new “Imperial Tales” menu features a feast inspired by stories from the palace from the different Chinese dynasties. My favourite was the first dish, a ‘Drunken Dong Po Pork’. While deep fried golden brown pork topped with gold foils look nothing like the familiar ‘Dong Po Rou’ – usually dark, oily and very fatty. Executive Chinese Chef Liu Ching Hai basically took the pork belly and deep fried it. The results are crispy cubes with the inside half-meaty, and half-tender-fatty. (Read: Summer Palace, Regent Hotel)
L’Atelier Tiramisu’s Lychee Tiramisu
L’Atelier Tiramisu at Clarke Quay Central offers just a four flavours of tiramisu – classic, lychee, dark cherry, pandan and matcha. A slice is at $6.80 while and entire cake is $48. I am not that a fan of tiramisu. But one spoonful, one spoonful of that very moist cake sponge, creamy mascarpone and a slight explosion of Liberty’s expresso and liqueur with Marsala wine got me almost in cloud nine. (Read: L’Atelier Tiramisu, Clarke Quay Central)
Candlenut’s Chap Chye
My grandmother used to cook traditional nonya dishes, some taking days to prepare when I would help pound chilli in the kitchen. Candlenut’s simple dish of Chap Chye ($12) gave me a quick flashback of those sweet nostalgic memories. The braised crunchy cabbage comes with mushroom, sweet dried bean curd and pork belly, and it is the prawn stock gravy that shows that the simplest things can be hardest to recreate.
I know this list looks skewed to the Asian palate. While I did have some memorable European and Western dishes in Singapore, I think my taste buds are ‘spoilt’ by some astonishing restaurants overseas, so most experiences locally just pale in comparison.
What is your personal signature dish of 2013?
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