Rediscover Forgotten Cantonese Delicacies At Goodwood Park Hotel Singapore
· 10 July 2023
Returning for its second year from 13 to 20 July, Goodwood Park Hotel’s ‘A Rediscovery of Cantonese Classics’ will feature ever more intricate classic dishes crafted by some of Singapore’s most venerated Cantonese chefs.
Dim sum, congee, roast goose. You’ll find these well-loved Cantonese dishes everywhere today. But ask your parents and they’ll tell you that Cantonese restaurants in the past served up much more than these. There were many fantastically plated and lavish dishes that unfortunately today, due to rising costs of labour, have since fallen out of fashion.
Fortunately, Min Jiang at Goodwood Park Hotel is taking diners back to the golden years of Cantonese cuisine with their ‘A Rediscovery of Cantonese Classics’ series.
An A-Team of Cantonese Cuisine Stalwarts
While last year saw an eight-hands collaboration between four of Singapore’s top Cantonese chefs, this year’s collaboration ups the ante with five esteemed Cantonese chefs for a 10-hands culinary event like no other.
Hailing from Min Jiang at Goodwood Park are Chefs Chan Hwan Kee and Ho Chee Hee, the former being Min Jiang’s Master Chef, and the latter, the restaurant’s expert barbecue grill master. Veterans on the team also include Chef Chan Kwok, who previously helmed Cantonese stalwart restaurant Hua Ting at Singapore’s Orchard Hotel; Chef Cheng Hon Chau, who was most recently the executive chef of Cherry Garden at Mandarin Oriental Singapore; and Chef Yim Yiu Wing, the previous executive chef of China Club at Capital Tower.
Local personality and gourmet ambassador Moses Lim also returns this year to showcase a dish crafted from his wealth of culinary knowledge.
A Celebration of Pure Artistry
Anchored by the theme of ‘手工’ or ‘craftsmanship’, this year’s exquisite menu will showcase old-school Cantonese dishes dating back at least three decades and that you’ll hardly find—or even never find—in restaurants because of the technical expertise and labour of love required to make them.
Diners can choose from a six-course or an eight-course menu. Kicking off your meal is Steamed Diced Chicken in Egg White Parcel. Immaculately diced chicken and vegetables are wrapped in a thin egg white crepe that’s bundled up into a pouch and tied with a single string of Chinese celery. Topped with crab roe and served in a bowl of superior stock, this comforting dish looks simple, but requires deft hands to execute it perfectly.
“This is by far the most technical dish on the entire menu,” shares Chef Chan Kwok about this dish that is a combined effort between himself and Chef Yim.
“Every component of the dish requires a mastery of culinary techniques. The egg white paste has to be of a right consistency so that it doesn’t break when being pan-fried, or when it’s used to wrap the fillings. Knife skills are also called integral for the fillings—nothing can be diced too big or small for textural contrast to be present without piercing through the egg white parcel,” Chef Chan Kwok shares.
Other equally technically impressive dishes include the Pan-Fried Dace Fish Meat with Liver Sausage and Orange Peel stuffed in a whole dace fish.
Created by the same two chefs, this time-honoured recipe requires hours of elaborate preparation. The flesh of dace fish, a freshwater fish popular in Hong Kong, is first skilfully removed without breaking the skin, meticulously deboned, then blended into a paste with fragrant orange peel and liver sausage. The paste is then carefully stuffed back into the dace fish and fried till crisp.
“Good Cantonese chefs always find the best way to enhance the natural flavours of ingredients,” chef Yim notes. Dace fish, which can have quite a strong flavour, was hence blended with orange peel to uplift the entire dish.
A Taste of the Past for the Present
While the menu houses wholly old-school Cantonese dishes, diners will also be delighted to find that flavours have been tweaked to suit diners’ preferences today.
“Diners these days definitely prefer lighter flavours,” shares Chef Chan Hwan Kee. His Wok-Fried Crispy Silver Hill Irish Duck with Yam Paste, developed in tandem withCchef Ho, was hence tweaked endlessly to make this deep-fried dish still feel light.
“The traditional version of this dish would utilise local duck, but because we wanted to use Silver Hill Irish duck for its juiciness and fattiness, we hence experimented with our frying technique such that both the duck and the yam pastry retain their crispness without ever becoming soggy”, the chef notes. The result is a deeply flavourful and highly textural dish that is all too easy to have several helpings of without it ever feeling too greasy.
Moses Lim’s Crispy Wontons with Pork and Seafood in Sweet and Sour Sauce too, showcases a lighter take on the usually sugary sweet and sour sauce. Inspired by his trip to Hong Kong in the 1960s when this dish was a special treat for workers receiving their paychecks, Lim’s take on the dish elevates the traditional version with an perfectly balanced sweet and tangy sauce chock-full of premium ingredients like Australian scallop, a whole prawn, pork liver, and sliced pork. The accompanying wontons, meant for dipping into the sweet and sour sauce, see succulent Iberico pork wrapped within perfectly fried wonton skin.
Diners choosing the eight-course menu will also be treated to luxurious plates like the Whole Hokkaido Conpoy Stuffed in Three-Head Abalone, created by Chef Cheng. Japanese conpoy, lauded for its rich umami flavour, is stuffed within a three-head abalone and braised for eight hours till tender. This flavourful dish is completed with a light and invigorating abalone sauce and crunchy nai bai vegetables.
A Rediscovery of Cantonese Classics is available from 13 to 20 July at Min Jiang at Goodwood Park Hotel. An eight-course menu is available for dinner on 13 July, minimum eight to 10 persons at $168/person.
Six- and eight-course menus are available for both lunch and dinner from 14 – 20 July. The six-course menu, for a minimum of four – six persons is available at $138/person, while the eight-course menu for minimum eight – 10 persons is available at $168/person. Set menus are available for dine-in only.
Text: Arista Kwek