Ask anyone about Sichuan cuisine, and their impressions of it boil down to two Chinese words: 麻辣 (mala), a Chinese word that implies a heavy oily and peppery spiciness. Si Chuan Dou Hua, a premier restaurant purveying Sichuan cuisine in Singapore, aims to showcase the great variety of Sichuan flavours beyond the mala stereotype with their new ala carte buffet, ‘100 Sichuan Delights, 1 Gastronomic Feast’.
The dishes can also be categorised by whether they are cold or hot, and even hot dishes could be either spicy or non-spicy. We were served the cold dishes first, and it already looked like a complete course.
The hot dishes were especially sumptuous. Prawns were served in 3 different sauces (lychee, ‘yuxiang’, and ‘gansao’), each adding their own spin on the firm and chunky prawns. I greatly enjoyed the pork knuckle in vinegar; the meat was soft and melted in the mouth.
Another unique dish is the Steamed Pork Belly with Glutinous Rice and Red Bean Paste in Sweet Sauce. The thin pork strips marinated with sweet sauce overlaid glutinous rice and red bean paste and was garnished with sugar; altogether, this added a lovely sweetness to the savoury flavour of pork.
One cannot leave this buffet without trying something from the ‘strange-flavoured’ section. Go for the strange-flavoured chicken strips; the plain taste of the chicken provides the perfect blank slate with which to try the strong flavour of the strange sauce, which I can only crudely describe as a robust combination of saltiness, spiciness, sesame, and mala. A tastes like nothing I have ever eaten before.
End your meal with their desserts, which are of the highest standard but mainstays of the Chinese restaurant (e.g. herbal jelly with honey, glutinous rice ball with red bean paste), except for one interesting dish: Stir-fried Fresh Egg with Sugar. Unlike what the name suggests, it is not a scrambled egg per se, but a sweet and egg-flavoured dessert with the texture of thick congee. I could imagine this as the perfect warm ending to a hearty meal in a cold Sichuan winter.
As the name of this promotion suggests, a total of one hundred and four unique dishes are available on the buffet menu. Some of these dishes are familiar Sichuan staples such as gong bao chicken, mala sliced beef, and sweet and sour soup that are nevertheless prepared at the highest quality that I’ve tasted. However, the menu has even more special and peculiar surprises, perhaps best exemplified by dishes that have been marinated with what the menu calls a ‘strange-flavoured’ (怪味) sauce. In fact, the items on the menu are summarised by their sauce, of which there are 26 of them. As the head chef explained, these Sichuan flavours are created by combining fundamental flavours such as sweetness, spiciness, oiliness, pepperiness, in order to create advanced flavours of layered complexity. The process certainly led to a host of unique culinary permutations, which left us spoilt for choice. Of the 104 dishes, we were only able to sample 40; even this amount felt like an endless variety and we were more than satisfied with our dining experience, yet hungry to try the remaining 60 in a subsequent trip if possible.
This delectable opportunity to sample the myriad flavours of Sichuan cuisine costs only 48 SGD for lunch and 58 SGD for dinner. Free-flow Bavarian beer (perfect for washing down the food!) is available for an additional 10 SGD at lunch and comes complimentary at dinner. These 100 flavours will be available until 15 October, so make your bookings while you can to get an authentic taste of Sichuan food!
Thank you Si Chuan Dou Hua for the invitation.
|Si Chuan Dou Hua|
|PARKROYAL on Beach Road
7500A Beach Road
Reservations: 6505 5722
|100 Si Chuan Delights Buffet Promotion
15 July to 15 October
$48++ per person (lunch); top up $10 for free flow Bavarian beer
$58++ per person (dinner); inclusive of free flow Bavarian beer
Minimum 4 to dine