An appetizer I simply had to order : Winter Melon Marinated in Orange Juice
Note : The restaurant is now closed. I wonder what new adventure is going to take its place.
It is the start of the new year and while birds are aplenty and flowers are starting to bloom, I received a promotional email from Duo Le highlighting their start for a weekday buffet (Mon-Wed @$19.99++) and Daily High Tea promotion (3pm – 5pm).
Delving more into the details, their Daily High Tea Buffet promotion is going for a hard to believe $6.99++. Naturally, what better than to find cheap eats and yet in the Orchard district area.
There are 15 items on the buffet menu, something I expected from the very low price. But from my past experience at Duo Le, most of their dishes have been fine and exquisite. Staying true to the note on the fine art of balancing tastes and neutrality in Shanxi cuisine.
The Special Shanxi Marinated Meat in Baked Pancake surprised me upon first bite. While the pancake bun is a little dry, its lack of moist enhances the juiciness of the meat stuffing. A little salty and savoury, but delectably wholesome.
Left : Shanxi Small Steamed Dumpling (vegetable/meat) Right : Shanxi Small Steamed Pao
Dumplings and paos were rather ordinary with the pao lacking in a good need of juiciness and more stuffing. Yet, dip the dumplings and pao in the chilli vinegar dip for that extra kick.
Now these I truly enjoyed. Duo Le Signature Hand Made Shanxi Spring Roll, is unlike the spring rolls Singaporeans are accustomed to. Wrapped in a layer of fried pancake, the stuffing is a mixture of shredded potatoes and vegetables. Firm bites, crisp textures, relying strongly on the natural tastes of each ingredient. Excellent!
For the noodle glutton, there are 3 items on the menu. The Handmade noodles with special homemade tomato fried with egg (left) is unfortunately almost akin to some random mix and match of ingredients to come up with a dish. I didn’t really take to it.
The Homemade Shanxi Cold Noodle with Spicy Sauce is a mix of flat noodles with a tangy spicy chilli oil sauce. A little dry in texture, the noodles were firm and munchy munchy. From the three noodles, I enjoyed the Handmade Shanxi Cold Noodle with Spicy Sauce. The noodles were thinner and rounder from the previous dish, and it slippery texture made the dish even more heartwarming.
The Special Homemade Deep Fried Dumpling is another creation which is both bursting with juices inside and crisp and firm on the outside. I think restaurant owners are going to find it very easy to capture my heart with this winning combination =)
The Duo Le Signature Handmade Dumpling is just as nice from before, except for roughly pressed dumplings, lack of vinegar and ginger dip.
For desserts, there is a choice of Steamed Pear with White Fungus and Black Sesame Tangyuan, or you could just go for both.
We were already stuffed from the buffet, but Dad wanted to explore beyond the buffet. So he ordered the Stewed Black Chicken Soup with Almonds ($10.80). Not too strongly herbal in nature, the broth was rich in a coating of almond oils and fragrance.
As a little snack, we ordered the Winter Melon marinated in Orange Juice ($8.80). Surprisingly, the winter melon is served raw but the texture presented was soft, juicy yet crunchy. Somehow, the marinade of orange juice softened the hardy melon overnight into this fine dish of chilling, sweet and sour appetizer.
Secret Recipe Pig’s Knuckle ($12.80) is a dish with neutral tastes and none of the overtly savouriness of pork. Pair it with chilli vinegar dip for the robust flavours and hint of meaty textures.
As a final dessert, we had the Kiwi Fruit, Apple and Pear Pickled with Red Dates ($8.80). Dried Shanxi red dates were used in the process of pickling and with the juices of the kiwi, apple and pear, each piece of dried fruit swelled into juicy and creamy textures. The natural fermentation process toned downed the overall sweetness of the dates yet added a hint of sour to the dish.
As an overall feel, Duo Le has certainly remarketed itself with the introduction of buffets to their traditional A La Carte menu. Now, the delights of Shanxi cuisine is brought even closer to the people and for all you know, you might just enjoy the balance of tastes and neutrality in each dish. $6.99 for a fifteen dish buffet? That’s a steal.
181 Orchard Road
Tel : 6509 8616
Website : www.duole.com.sg Bringing the finesse of Shanxi cuisine to Singapore