Last week, I was invited to try out 店小二 Dian Xiao Er's Chinese New Year menu for year 2015 at the Junction 8 branch.
Let me share their brand story with you.
Dian Xiao Er symbolizes a pit-stop for travelers (customers) to rest and replenish their energy fully before setting off to continue their hectic journeys again. Dian Xiao Er not only provides to the travelers a place of warmth, satisfaction and happiness as they indulge in the delectable dishes, it is also a place for them to interact and build relationships with one another. Dian Xiao Er also symbolizes an element of blessing and fellowship as everyone is brought together in Dian Xiao Er.
What a lovely description for a chinese restaurant. The idea of 'reunion' is important to the Chinese folk and no matter how busy, it is important to congregate and be together during festive periods. And this Chinese New Year, it is important to pick a place where you and your family members can eat and come together in joy and fellowship. Dian Xiao Er's the place to visit.
For the first dish, we had the Prosperity Salmon Yu Sheng.
A dish believed to have been 'created' and made popular by 4 chefs in Singapore in the 1960s, a colourful variety of items are put together, and condiments are added over the dish by the server with auspicious words and phrases.
To symbolise a sweet year ahead, plum sauce is used as an important ingredient in the dish.
It is then mixed by everyone around the table, 'throwing' and 'tossing' the dish as high as possible, while saying auspicious phrases of what they wish to see happen for themselves in the coming year.
The adding of condiments are complete with the small, rectangular crackers poured over the dish, which symbolises 'gold' which are all 'over the floor' (lit.).
Why Yu Sheng?
Yu Sheng, literally means 'raw fish' in Mandarin. But as deep as the language goes, Yu Sheng also has a another meaning, which is prosperity and abundance. And that's why it is so important to have this dish during the Chinese New Year.
FYI - Norwegian raw salmon is being used for the Yu Sheng in Dian Xiao Er.
Let us toss to prosperity!
The result is a really really sweet and lovely 'salad' that we all swooned over!
Shark's Fin Broth with Crab Meat and Conpoy
Smooth, thick broth with rich, generous servings of crabmeat and conpoy (dried scallops). Environmentalists can opt to have Fishmaw to replace Shark's Fin. But do inform the restaurant earlier so that it can be prepared for your table.
Signature Herbal Roast Duck with 3 Flavours (Angelica Herb, Ten Wonders, Wild Ginseng)
Their signature roast duck is my must-have whenever I visit this restaurant. We were lucky to try all 3 sauces. Unfortunately, you will only be limited to one choice of the 3 sauce flavours for this dish.
The reason is simple. Because the duck needs to be marinated right. Dian Xiao Er provides fully marinated ducks in the respective sauces they have. For example, if you choose Angelica Herb Roasted Duck, not only the sauce that comes with the duck would be Angelica Herb, but the duck will also be stuffed with the herb to ensure the meat completely absorbs the essence of it.
The sauces are labeled from 'Mild' to 'Heavy'. However, for me, even their 'heavy' sauce isn't really that heavy. It's not overbearing to that extent where you have to stop breathing for a second to regain composure.
Angelica Herb 当归: Mild
Ten Wonders 十全: Medium
Wild Ginseng 泡参: Strong
Honestly, I liked all 3 sauces. But if I had a choice, I will go for wild ginseng as I do like a stronger taste. Not many people like Ten Wonders as it is made using 10 herbs combined. While its flavour is complex, it is definitely palatable for this dish.
Wild Ginseng Sauce
Sauteed Baby Lobsters with Pumpkin Sauce
I loved this dish. the meat of the golden baby lobsters were well cooked and easy to eat, and the sauce is heavenly too. Cooked with thick salted egg sauce sweetened with pumpkin, it is a little sweet and slightly spicy as well. Best enjoyed with rice as you'll probably enjoy the sauce so much you can just eat it with rice! A must-try!
Prosperous Braised Trotters
Braised for a few hours, this dish takes much effort to prepare. The long hours of braising it also results in a tender, soft meat that its flavours has penetrated thoroughly. With dried oysters, shiitake mushrooms and crunchy broccoli, this is a truly flavourful combination, and is also a dish which definitely tastes better than it looks. There's also Fa Cai (or Fat choy) in it, which is the popular black moss, literally meaning 'hair vegetable'. It is eaten as a sign of prosperity due to its name, which also be translated as 'to become rich'.
Hongkong Style Chinese Pomfret
The most prized grade of pomfret, Dian Xiao Er steams the entire fish with their recipe which makes it a smooth eat. Though light, the meat was delectable and tender.
Luxurious Abalone Treasure Pot
Another dish you should eat with rice. This was supposed to be served in a claypot, but for photo taking purposes, they carefully laid it out on a huge round plate. Also a braised dish, the savoury sauce is made with the restaurant's secret recipe, which will see you grinning from ear to ear. The abalones are also chewy and a joy to munch on!
D-Boiled Hashima (served cold)
Double boiled hashima! One of my favourite Chinese desserts. This light and refreshing dessert is just right to end a heavy meal. The hashima was soft and light, and the red date was crunchy. Definitely need to eat more of this for good skin!
Prices for Chinese New Year set menus start from $128+++ onwards, available at all outlets from 30 January to 5 March 2015.
Overall, we enjoyed the meal and had so much fun during the food tasting session. Indeed, you need good food to accompany good company and that's what Dian Xiao Er has to offer!
This is an invited media tasting session.
Date of Visit: Jan 26, 2015 Other Ratings: