Letting Your Tastebuds BLOSSOM at Marina Bay Sands!

Usually, when you’re looking for Chinese cuisine, there’s two ends of the spectrum to pick from. If you’re trying to please the more traditional elders in the family, you’d be advised to err on the safe side: think good old dishes that have been done to death. Delicious, but not quite adventurous. Or, you can go experimental. But that’s not always a good option when it’s a large group.

Nestled within these walls is a really cosy place to gather and eat!

Which is why I was very pleasantly surprised when I recently dined at BLOSSOM, a fairly new outfit at Marina Bay Sands. It’s located in the lobby of the hotel area: I admittedly had some misgivings about noise, thinking it might be a little too bustling. But the design of the restaurant put me at ease quite quickly. Nestled along the side, with tasteful partitions, the high ceilings of the lobby dissipated noise while allowing a wonderful amount of light to come in. As the evening went on, the light faded, setting a wonderful atmosphere around the table.

What the interior of the restaurant looks like. All that natural light.

But of course, ambience only brings you so far. The purpose of visiting a fine dining establishment like this one is to eat, and there is not much point if the food’s not up to scratch.

Luckily, it’s more than up to scratch: it will probably satisfy the older generation with its quality, and pique the tastebuds of the more adventurous with its subtle twists! I began my meal with two appetisers: Crispy Silverbait with salt and pepper ($12++)  and the Deep-fried Fresh “Huai Shan” (a carrot cake of sorts) topped with pork floss ($10++).

This silverbait is good. Really.

The silverbait disappeared quite quickly: it was crispy with punch, and definitely very more-ish. It came with a light batter, with bits of spice embedded in it. Altogether, while it’s a type of dish you can get elsewhere, there was something I quite enjoyed about this version.

The carrot cake with pork floss, on the other hand, was definitely unique. The carrot cake bits were crisp, but still moist and crunchy inside. The pork floss added a burst of flavour that really came out nicely, and the taste just keeps growing on you. I started by eating more of the silverbait, but kept taking the carrot cake subconsciously. Definitely something to try!

Next up was the combination platter, with 3 items: the Golden Pear Stuffed with Minced Pork ($5.80++ for 3 pieces), BLOSSOM’s Signature Steamed Prawn Dumplings ($7.80++ for 4 pieces), and the Steamed Siew Mai with Quail Egg ($7.80++ for 4 pieces).

Combination platter for the tasting; you’ll have to order each item dimsum-style!

Do not be fooled by the appearance of the golden pear: it merely resembles one (beautifully so, in its presentation). But it’s actually a semi-savoury dough that is slightly gooey, with minced pork inside and a crispy stem. The dough is made from tapioca flour, with that elusive QQ texture that’s quite the rage in Chinese cooking. I know your parents taught you not to play with your food when you were growing up, but I think the chef had a lot of fun playing with the food he makes here!

The prawn dumplings were interesting as well, with a bit of squid ink. Firm bite of prawns, though this wasn’t as unusual as the other dishes. What I enjoyed though, to my own surprise, was the combination of siew mai and quail egg. The siew mai has crunchy prawns, and the quail egg has a gorgeously soft centre that goes with the texture. Have a bite of each together, and you’ll get quite the flavour explosion!

After the dimsum, came the Baked Chilean Cod in Chef’s Recipe ($26++). This was a real highlight for me: soft, milky cod, with a tangy sauce that goes excellently with the fish. Usually, you’ll find that cod can be rather limp, and the sauce dominates a bit too much, with the fish providing just texture. Here, the sauce managed to balance the flavour explosion of the tang with the opening for the fish’s fragrance to come through. I’m told there’s a mix of Japanese soy sauce and mirin here, but Chef was rather discreet about his own secrets! Definitely try this!

Unassumingly stellar cod: this was great!

The next dish came out rather interestingly: shrouded in a glass cover all steamed up. Naturally, curiosity got the better of me and I got rather excited!

As it turns out, it was the Smoked Chicken with 15-Year Old Pu Er Tea Leaves and Chrysanthemum ($50++ per portion). This was really quite the surprise for me, and ended up being a real highlight. Most chicken served in Chinese restaurants can be a bit boring: dependable, tasty, but boring. And I’ve sat through enough Chinese banquets to associate them with the last bits of the meal: it comes out, people eat it, and the rice course comes out after.

This was different. This was very different. Somehow, they’ve managed to smoke the chicken to have it still be juicy, but with incredibly fragrant tea aroma in each bite. I am not kidding: this dish had me baffled in how wonderful it was. Each piece had a luscious bite to it (gently coated in the natural oil from the cooking), and a wonderful head of the pu er.

Look at how glorious this isGorgeous. Just gorgeous.

There is nothing I can say about this dish that won’t fall short of the mark. Just order it, and experience it for yourself. It’s a real winner.

Last dish of the night: Crispy Rice and Lobster in Lobster Soup ($24++). After the excesses of the previous dishes, this was a nice comforting note to close on. The soup had a sweetness from the crustacean that counterbalanced the richness of the meal prior, and lobster bits had just the right amount of bite to it. The addition of the crunchy bits of crispy rice (popped and then fried) gave it a nice texture in the mouth: this is not your usual lobster soup dish! Overall, this was a simple dish, but evocative of the colours and home in its complexity. I can imagine coming here just to have this on those days when you need something simple to relax with.

BLOSSOM was quite a surprise: for the location and cuisine, prices really are quite reasonable. I’d come back with the family folks for special evenings when you want to cater to a broader spectrum of tastes without sticking to the boring tried and tested. Remember to order the smoked chicken!

Thank you Blossom for the invitation.

Blossom Restaurant

Website for Reservations

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Lobby Tower 2
#01-05
2 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore 018972

Chill Gen by Xin Wang | 潮 eat 代

There are nights when you want to dress yourself and go eat fancy things. And then there are nights you just want to be simple, sitting around a hotpot with friends. For nights like that, there’s Chill Gen, by Xin Wang.

For people who grew up in the 2000s, Xin Wang is a familiar brand. Open till 2am, I have good memories of late-night suppers and heart to heart conversations at Xin Wangs across the island. I particularly recall the original Heartland Mall outlet in Kovan: it opened in 2005, a time in my life when I had close friends who lived in Kovan, and so I spent quite a lot of time there. So when I first heard about Xin Wang’s new hotpot outlet at Cineleisure, I had to go have a look for myself.

A brightly-lit yet cosy environment for you to hang out with friends.

People might disagree, but hotpot is a communal meal: it cannot be enjoyed alone, if only because you have to wait for things to cook. And it’s precisely in those moments of waiting, that the magic begins. Friends joke and banter, and people just sit there enjoying each other’s company. And so, I found myself one evening checking out Xin Wang’s Chill Gen hotpot buffet, which goes at $18.80++, and $24.80++ on Fridays, Saturdays and eve of public holidays after 5pm. Fairly reasonable, actually, which makes it easier to drag the whole gang of friends down!

A happy spread of food for the bellies.

But of course, we’re Singaporean, and a great location to chill isn’t great if it doesn’t have good food. They sure didn’t disappoint in this regard! Chill Gen offers you four choices of soup base: Signature Papaya, Korean Army Stew, Tomato, and Homemade Fragrant Spicy. I had the Tomato, while my dining partner had the Signature Papaya, so we had a nice mix of variety right there.

Chill Gen operates as an a-la-carte buffet: order whatever you like, and it’ll be brought to your table. As you can tell, we had a good selection of various meats, vegetables, mushrooms and fish items, though there were some unusual ones that you’re probably not getting elsewhere! Frozen Beancurd is one of them: I’m not sure how to describe it, but the texture was springy and I enjoyed it enough to get quite a lot more! Each diner gets one serving of the premium items as well: scallops, ebiko fish paste, and iberico pork belly. I enjoyed all of them, though the fish paste took a bit of figuring out on the cooking front! Their chikuwa and seafood cheese tofu hit the spot for me as well, so I did get quite a bit of them eventually.

Being rather saucy, really: take your pick!

In the end, hotpot buffets are really all about personal favourites, and at this age, I’m sure everyone has their own fancies. But if you take that idea further, then you really also do need good sauces with it. And that’s where I also had a lot of fun building my own sauces to go with the food: right at their well-stocked sauce station! Fried garlic bits really made it for me: I loved the crunch they added to my own secret concoction of soy sauce, spring onions, and…stop judging!

Food provided, just bring your friends.

Ultimately, there’s not much to be said about hotpot. Here, they’ve got the food on free-flow, there’s a great ambience, and there’s good HK milk tea if you want it. Perfect for a nice rainy day, just remember to bring your friends and relax over a nice steaming hotpot together. How would you get past life’s troubles, if not for your friends, right?

Thank you Chill Gen for the invitation.
This article was written by Lan Yingjie.

Chill Gen by Xin Wang
2 Jurong East Central

#01-06
JCube

Reservations: 6684 4407

Opening Hours: 11am to 10pm

Chef Chen Kentaro debuts his first English cookbook, but hurry, stocks are limited

Michelin-starred chef Chen Kentaro has released his first English cookbook, “A Dash of Szechwan”. To great excitement, I attended the launch at his eponymous restaurant, Shisen Hanten – Singapore’s highest Michelin-rated Chinese restaurant – at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore.

Continue reading “Chef Chen Kentaro debuts his first English cookbook, but hurry, stocks are limited”

Myo Restobar – Relish Traditional Kia Hiang Delicacies Besides Contemporary Dishes!

Fans of 40 year-old Kia Hiang Cantonese Restaurant at International Plaza would be pleased to know that there is now one more place nearer the Central Business District where one can get that famous Claypot Chicken! Myo restobar is the group’s latest venture in bringing both familiar favourites and delectable dim sum in addition to contemporary dishes that demonstrate attempts at innovating beyond the traditional. The best part of Myo restobar, however,  are its affordable prices within the city. With set lunches starting from $16++ and the a-la-carte menu being reasonably priced throughout, this could very well be one more dining option for either lunch or dinner.

Continue reading “Myo Restobar – Relish Traditional Kia Hiang Delicacies Besides Contemporary Dishes!”