When it comes to classic Cantonese cuisine, Man Fu Yuan will be one restaurant possibly known to many diners around Singapore. After my 5 month hiatus in the United States, I thought this would be the perfect place to have a belated Grandmother’s Day lunch with my maternal grandmother. It was also a great opportunity to once again meet Chinese Executive Chef Kwan Yiu Kwan with whom I’ve the pleasure to have met since 2011 when he was the Executive Chef at Xin Cuisine, Holiday Inn Atrium. After hearing that he has moved on to Man Fu Yuan, Grandma and I were keen to try out Chef’s creations once again.
My last visit to Man Fu Yuan was way back in 2011. It certainly carries a quaint and elegantly charming ambience.
After we were seated at the table, I noted that each of us had a simple cherry tomato appetizer to start with. Stuffed with diced dried meat and glutinous rice, this was a little perk me up to whet the appetites for the dishes to come. A nice touch!
I specially requested Chef Kwan if he could prepare for my grandmother some Longevity Peach Buns since it was a special occasion after my arrival back home. Here’s to a long life and good health for everyone!
It is interesting how part of the Chinese culinary culture is to give dishes names that invoke prosperity and well wishes. Thus to accompany the peach buns, chef also prepared a dish of Longevity Noodles with an abundance of seafood. I enjoyed the savoury, slightly smoky flavours intensified by the sweet seafoods and fragrant omellete. Simple but excellent.
The Roast Pork.
The Char Siew Buns are a worthy recommendation. Soft and fluffy, with a generous sweet savoury stuffing of slightly fatty pork meat.
This serving of Mango Chicken Tarts was an interesting recommendation as it combined the paradigms of sweet and meaty together. While the chicken provided the grounded, robust flavours, the slightly crisp mango shell on the top contrasted the taste with its sweet notes. Having that with the buttery and flaky pastry shell was sheer delight. Wonderful goodness.
Deep Fried Prawns with Sugar Cane sticks.
As I made the reservation a couple of days back, I asked Chef if he could whip up a serving of his 8 Treasure Duck which I so enjoyed during the Xin Cuisine days. A wholesome dish in one if I may add. Stuffed with chestnuts, salted egg yolk and other goodies, the duck meat was tender and beautifully accompanied with the slightly golden sauce.
With age settling in, Grandma’s diet these past few years has not been the best. Therefore, when we had our extended family dinners at Xin Cuisine, Chef Kwan and his team would always prepare something soft, delicious and healthy for her. This time round, it was a very finely executed Steamed Cod with Egg White Custard. I initially thought it was cream, but as I sampled a bit from Grandma’s plate, I was amazed by the flavours that very custard could carry. Savoury, bold, yet reminiscent of clean tones, this was beautiful.
Grandma also had a special soup just for her. Made with black chicken, abalone and an assortment of seafood, this dish was crisp and clear, yet calming to the soul.
For the rest of the table to share, we called for a serving of Salted Egg Yolk Prawns. A big thumbs up goes to this dish. The salted egg yolk flavours were a key highlight that stood out clearly with each individual prawn. Layered like a crisp shell enveloping the meaty and juicy prawn within, this was one dish that was a clear favourite for everybody. The bits of almond chips added just that amount of textural contrast. Now, if only there could be some visual element that spiced up this dish, it would have been perfect.
Dong Po Rou. The layers of meat and fat are simply stunning in this picture.
Chef surprised me when he dished out a serving of Coffee Pork Ribs (or what I suspect it could be) for me to try. Markedly different from the Dong Po Rou from earlier, the flavours here were distinctly bitter sweet with just that right amount of smoky aromatics from the coffee grounds. The meat was also exceptionally tender and well complemented with the overall tone and flavours. A classic.
Home brewed Sour Plum juice to cleanse the palate.
For desserts, Chef prepared for each of us a collection of two beauties. The first was a bowl of hashima and thinly sliced gourd. The presentation was simple yet exquisite with a colour contrast that was rich in hues. I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet ending.
The other element was a unique take on the traditional Liu Sha Bao. The orange yellow flowy custard notwithstanding, the shell was contrasted with brown and purple. My guess would be chocolate and perhaps yam. Still, I found this dessert a touch too sweet for my liking.
Grandma was so happy!
Chef Kwan, Me and Grandma
Dining at Man Fu Yuan with Chef Kwan around was like visiting an old family friend. When you know you have an excellent chef behind the scenes, lunch with the family can be so much more memorable and enjoyable. Grandma definitely had a great time.
Most of the dishes prepared for the lunch were thoroughly enjoyable. Although some of them were the more regular Cantonese fare, there were moments where Chef’s creativity started to shine. I do hope that given time, he would go bold and prepare dishes that are truly reminiscent of his time back at Xin Cuisine. Still, now knowing that Chef Kwan is here, it looks like we might be making Man Fu Yuan the next family restaurant to be at – just for grandma.
|Man Fu Yuan|
80 Middle Road
Tel : 6825 1062
Daily 11am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm