Finally everyone’s back to work after the long long weekends and office is finally filled with more people coming in and out! Although it can be noisy sometimes, but the feeling that you are not working alone is awesome!!!
All geared up for CNY 2013 to celebrate the Lunar Year of the Water Snake, I am very privileged to take part in a few invited food-tastings this new year.
The first tasting that I did for this year is the Old Hong Kong Legend – the most upscale restaurant of the Old Hong Kong group! The group spots other restaurants including the one that I’m sure many of us are familiar with, the 24-hours Old Hong Kong Tea House at Katong .
Photo Credits: http://ylyn-journal.blogspot.sg
While I still hang out in the east-coast area in my younger days, I regret that it is a whole lot lesser these days due to work and school. The photo of this place brings back a lot of fond memories.
Look at my lovely name-tent prepared by the really thoughtful management of the Old Hong Kong Group.
Lo Hei is definitely something very unique to the Singaporean Chinese community here. It’s a tradition of tossing to success for the new year and I’m proud to see this tradition of ours spreading its influence to other chinese communities around the region!
Our lovely table for the Lo Hei session. Really love the size of this table and the long chop-sticks provided.
Problem of short chop-sticks: all the vegetables will be guey-messy on your hands by the end.
What’s so unique of the 富貴撈起 yu-sheng (a.k.a Lo Hei) at the Old Hong Kong Legend?
- The vegetables used are organic, very similar to those that you spot in western greens (salads)
- Macadamia nuts are used instead of the less healthy peanuts and sunflower seeds
- Sauce used in this yu-sheng is slightly more citrus (lemon-ey), thus it is less “jerlat” (i can’t find a better english word for this!)
- Instead of one, two fishes (Salmon and 西刀鱼) are used in this dish
Look at these huge and crunchy macadamia nuts peppered with spices of yu-sheng. Other than the familiar turnip and carrot strips, the japanese cucumber slices and western green coupled with the citrus sauces gives this dish a very refreshing taste.
When it comes down to choosing the type of fish for the yu-sheng, it’s always a battle between Salmon (more popular among the younger generation) and 西刀鱼 (more popular with grand-mothers and mothers). I faced similar discussions in my family many years back which often see our older folks giving in to us.
What I like about this 富貴撈起 yu-sheng (a.k.a Lo Hei) platter at the Old Hong Kong Legend is that it gives us the best of both worlds all in one beautifully laid-out platter with a generous serving of fish slices.
The lady in black – Victoria, is the boss of the Old Hong Kong group who joined us during this media food-tasting session. Present at the tasting also included members of the media from the newspapers, online portals such as InSing, and fellow bloggers.
Finally the much anticipated activity of the day began – “Lo Hei”!
We had the privilege of having the manager of the outlet perform the “rites” for us, beginning with the squeezing of lime, and finally concluding with the sprinkling of the “golden chinese shrimp crackers”.
The translucent fish slices peppered with the specially prepared spices and sauces sure makes it look alluring!
Ready…. Get… set… GO!!! Let’s see who can toss the highest….. 恭喜发财… 万事如意… 年年有余…
My nicely decorated palate of yu-sheng… I always love to decorate my food when I can. =)
One of the nice surprise was non-other than the chilled plum-tea. It was served right after the Yu-Sheng and is said to have a “開胃” (appetizing) effect.
What I really love about this tea is that it is very light and refreshing. It tastes as though it was freshly brewed in the tranquil of the high mountains with fresh flowing mountain spring.
黄金滚滚来 | Roll in the fortune and prosperity ($10)
This dish originally known as “流沙百花釀蟹鉗”, is garnished with prosperity Chinese phases to help us usher in to a good year ahead. This can be spotted in all other dishes that made it into the Chinese New Year (CNY) set this new year!
Looking ordinary like just another ordinary fried crab-ball dumplings, this power-ball is packed with a lot of goodness – fresh “flower crab” claw meat and crab roe in the heart of it. Dipping it with the mango sauce adds a new dimension to this dish.
You might be wondering what is the water-melon slice doing there? It is for diners to clear their tongue to prepare for the next dish. A really thoughtful gesture from the inventors of this item!
瑞雪迎春 | Usher in spring with the auspicious snow ($30)
A very rare cantonese classics, the Stir-Fry Fresh Milk Egg White with Crab Meat and Scallops (蟹皇帶子炒鮮奶) is definitely my favorite item during this tasting. In order to cook up this dish, the wok will first has to be heated at a high temperature, before oil is added, and the mixture of egg white and fresh milk will then be poured in to be quickly stir-fried. The control of temperate for this dish is critical to it’s success – too hot for too long will char the eggs, while a lack of heat will ruin the dish.
The dish is topped with fresh crab meat and crab roe before serving, and as you savor the dish, you will find traces of scallops too. One of the interesting facts of how food is prepared at Old Hong Kong Legend is that food served must be convenient to eat, even for the young.
I always found the fried rice noodles to be nothing more than decoration in chinese dishes. However, I will strongly urge you to savor this steamed egg dish together with the fried rice noodles – it further adds texture to the dish as it slowly melts in your mouth.
花開富贵 | Blossoming to good fortune ($29)
Who would have thought that this dish is all vegetarian? For all you vegetarians out there, you are in for a good treat. Composed of broccoli, white fungus and vegetarian abalone, this dish is showered with a generous serving of specially prepared pumpkin gravy only to leave you yearning for more.
This is definitely my first encounter with mock abalone slices and if you are just like me (no prior experiences with vegetarian abalone), you can expect it to be really smooth and soft, giving you an easy bite without leaving traces on your teeth.
Here I go again with trying to art-ify my palate. Doesn’t it look like a chinese painting? *shrugs*
鳯翼藏珍 | Treasures beneath the Phoenix wings ($10)
On the outside, this looks like a simple dish to prepare – just grilling the chicken and stuffing it with glutinous rice. However, in order to prepare this dish (糯米釀雞翼) well, it requires quite some skill and experience. What differentiates a good from the great lies in the 1) crispiness of the skin, 2) tenderness of the chicken, 3) the glutinous rice being moist yet reserving a grainy texture and of course 4) a flavorful both to come along.
I’ve to say that I’m really impressed with the distinction in skills that the chefs at Old Hong Kong Legend has accumulated. The chefs at Old Hong Kong Legend have achieved it all and this is another special dish that I highly recommend.
另有新春糕点 | Cake in the New Spring ($4.80)
From the looks of it’s name, 檻仁馬拉糕 sure sounds like it’s something from Malaysia. Guess what? You are right. While it’s something that was eventually popular in the Guang Zhou and Hong Kong region, this snack dates back a long way to native malays in the malayan region.
Unlike what we normally see (and still see) on the streets of Singapore, the ones served at Old Hong Kong Legend does not use any pork lard, and opts for a healthier mix of sesame and olive oil instead. This is definitely the best I have tried in many years. I am someone who hates to eat dry stuff for breakfast (I don’t eat bao or any similar sorts), but for this, I am sure I can eat it every morning without getting sick of it!
Putting great emphasis on the distinction in culinary skills, chefs in Old Hong Kong Legend are very experienced chefs specially flown in from Hong Kong. So you can be sure to savor the best of Hong Kong within just a stone’s throw away.
If you are looking for a restaurant which beautifully harmonizes old and the new to celebrate this new year, Old Hong Kong Legend is definitely a good choice! They are opened on all days, including the chinese new year period. Do make your reservations early to avoid disappointment.
Old Hong Kong Legend (Raffles City)
252 North Bridge Road
#02-18/19 Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel: 63363038 Fax: 63370796
Daily: 10:30 – 22:30
City Hall MRT / Esplanade MRT station
Buses: 14, 16, 36, 77, 106, 111, 128, 130, 131, 133, 140, 162, 162M, 167, 171, 190, 502, 502A, 502B, 518, 518A, 518B, 578, 579, 581, 587, 590, 598, 700, 700A, 857, 960, 32, 51, 61, 63, 80, 195, 851, 961, 980, 7, 14, 14e, 16, 36, 77, 106, 111, 128, 131, 162, 162M, 167, 171, 175, 190, 700, 700A, 502
Other fine cafes from the Old Hong Kong Group:
Raffles City Shopping Centre #02-18
Opening Hours: 10.30am to 10.30pm Daily
Square 2 @ Novena #02-80
10 Sinaran Drive
Opening Hours: 10.30am to 11.00pm Daily
myVillage @ Serangoon Gardens #02-01
1 Maju Avenue
Opening Hours: 10.30am to 11.00pm Daily
Oasia Hotel @ Novena #02-05
8 Sinaran Drive
Opening Hours: 10.30am to 10.30pm Daily
Katong Village (Next to I12 Katong)
86 East Coast Road
Operating Hours: 24 Hours
National University of Singapore, NUS U Town #01-12
1 Create Way
Operating Hours: 10.00am to 12.00am Daily