The Chinese New Year feasting

This Chinese New Year, my husband and I decided to do something different. Instead of having seafood for our families’ reunion dinner on the eve, which we had done for the past couple of years, we decided not to have a combined celebration this time. We had a reunion lunch with my husband’s parents and a reunion dinner with my side of the family.

Reunion lunch was held at Canton-I restaurant at Ion Orchard. No dimsum is available during Chinese New Year period (which lasts for 14 days). But that’s ok with us since we’re there for the roast meat and fried carrot cake with XO sauce. (This is an anomaly. Though the locals call it carrot cake, it’s actually radish.)

I had pre-ordered the roast meat: a portion of sliced roast pork (烧肉), char siew (叉烧) and half a roast duck.

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I really like the roast duck at Canton-I, which is one of the best in town. The meat is tender and moist. I don’t even have to dip it into the plum sauce because it’s juicy on its own. Though the skin is not super crispy. For those who like it crispy like the Roast Peking Duck, you might find this not up to par.

We didn’t order a lot for the lunch since we’re determined not to over-eat, which is a big problem during the festive season. My husband and his parents had the shrimp wanton noodle, which my husband loves. The shrimp wantons are fresh and plump, and the noodle is chewy. The stock is also really good. My husband said he could taste the dried scallop in it. This is the best shrimp wanton noodle by far.

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A signature dish of the restaurant is fried carrot cake with special XO sauce.
It’s very tasty, has ‘wok hei’ (aroma of the wok), and there’re bean sprouts added for crunch.

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Naturally we had to have vegetables: a stir-fried broccoli with minced garlic and a poached kailan.

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The broccoli is cooked to perfection with a nice crunch. Despite being a seemingly simple dish, it’s not easy to get the broccoli cooked to a nice crunchy texture. The kailan was served to us boiled with no added dressing/sauce, which was a surprise to us. We might have asked for poached vegetable but it should at least comes with oyster sauce. We took the wait staff to return it to the kitchen for the sauce. She came back and apologized that the chef forgot to add it. The sauce was a light soy sauce with sliced chili and garlic, which turns out better than what we asked for.

I guess readers must be wondering why is this lunch a feast when we didn’t order the entire menu. A feast should not be about quantity, more importantly the quality counts. And if you’re wondering why I didn’t review on the roast meats, that’s because I try to avoid pork if possible. This also explains why I didn’t have the shrimp wanton noodle as well.

Onto our next feasting, which was at Dean and Deluca (Orchard Central 4th floor), where we had brunch on the first day of Chinese New Year. Though I’ve been there a few times, this is my first review on the cafe. But it doesn’t matter as D&D serves good food consistently. Of course they do offer food/pastries made by other bakeries like Baker and Cook, Maison Kayser and The Bread Project.

My husband and my father-in-law ordered their usual (and favorite) American Breakfast.

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The breakfast comes with a wholemeal toast and home-made sausage which is fabulous, according to my husband.

My mother-in-law also had her usual pancakes with mixed berries and cream.

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The pancakes are very dense and I like the cream, which is light and has a tinge of sweetness.

I had initially ordered a Thai Green Curry pie which is from Baker and Cook, and a Greek salad. My husband told me, “you shouldn’t order an Asian dish in a western eatery.”

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Just then I saw a waitstaff serving the D&D beef burger to a neighboring table, and it looks really good. So I got that for myself and doggy-bag the pie for dinner. Unfortunately I forgot to take picture of the burger as I was distracted by baby Alex. The patty is made using angus beef and I requested for it to be cooked medium-well. It’s thick and juicy, and comes with melted cheddar cheese on mushrooms which are yummy. Though I didn’t have the French fries while they were piping hot, they didn’t turn soggy or limp even when cold. My husband wondered if they were cooked using duck fat. Sure they’re not as good as the ones drizzled with truffle oil available at The Asian Cafe (located at Garden By The Bay), but still pretty tasty.

Our third feasting was at Baker and Cook, on the second day of the new year. We went to the flagship Hillcrest road outlet for breakfast. The food is as fabulous as ever. I had the steak pie which is so tasty; the beef chunks are so tender. The mixed roasted vegetables with herbs are amazing. My husband would love to have the recipe for it. Too bad I didn’t take any pictures.

My husband had the Eggs Benedict and it doesn’t have the raw eggy taste. For someone who doesn’t like runny egg, I find it really tasty. I mentioned earlier I had the Thai green curry chicken pie from Baker and Cook for dinner the night before. The chicken pieces are so tender that I had no problem using the provided plastic cutlery.

The bakery store was rather crowded that morning since it was a holiday. Some patrons came with their dogs, which were tied to the lamp posts by the road. One of them was a beautiful golden retriever which was tied to s post across the road. I took Alex over to say hi to Goldie. He was initially sitting down quietly, but suddenly he barked and that caused Alex to jump. When Goldie barked again, Alex jumped once more and then he scrunched up his face which turned red. (This is a sign that he is going to bawl.) A couple of seconds later, he erupted into a loud cry. Poor baby, he doesn’t like loud noise, and will cry too when someone shouts.

During this festive season, Baker and Cook is offering new products like a pineapple and almond tart. Though I’m not into pineapple tart, I still wanted to try one. Unlike the traditional Chinese New Year version that looks like a cookie, this one resembles more the western version of tart. I thought it’s pretty good, the sweetness comes from the pineapple, and so it’s not cloyingly sweet unlike the traditional. I had thought of getting the festive granola and chocolate chip cookies, but I didn’t. And now I’m regretting. In future I should just try out whatever I’m interested in.

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