Putien – Oh The Joy Of Prawns Soaked In A Bamboo Tub

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我终于在莆田吃美味的食品. Ok, as roughly my translation goes through Google’s Computerised Translation system, I meant to say “I have finally eaten the delicacies at Pu Tien.”  Pu Tien Restaurant seems to be the latest crave hitting town in the arena of contemporary Chinese cuisine with a modern outlook.

From its flagship store in Kitchener Road, the restaurant has expeditiously expanded over the past few years into VivoCity, Marina Square, Tampines Mall, Parkway Parade, City Square Mall and now Jurong Point.



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The dishes are priced reasonably, and each serving is kept simple yet decently presented. Cuisine varieties are also a stark different from your traditional Chinese restaurant as the menu features unique and creative innovations such as “Pu Tien” Century Egg, Deep Fried Pig’s Trotters with Pepper and Pumpkin Cream with Ice Cream.

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Without doubt, I simply had to order the Bamboo Herbal Prawns ($3.80 for 2 pieces in 1 bamboo canister). The picture in the menu made the dish look so tempting, as though the prawns were literally “jumping out” of the bamboo bathtub. Then again, what arrived was a stark difference as though the prawns were enjoying a good soak at the bottom in that herbal jacuzzi.

The taste of the broth was slightly refreshing, with a mild mannered infusion of herbs and seafood flavours. A tingle of sweetness, and a hint of savouriness, the herbal soup was a good pair with the fresh prawns that gave an all too resounding bite of crunchiness and tenderness.

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I would normally order Braised Pig’s Intestines at a Kway Chap stall. Pu Tien has made that side dish of a local delight into what is now a high class appetizer comprising of a pig’s innards. Not too bad with each piece brimming of light savoury goodness. Each bite was warm, not too chewy and finishable within seconds. High class for $12.00. High class indeed.

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With expectations running high, I expected the “Pu Tien” Style Century Egg ($7.00) to have been simmered in marinade for about another 100 days in addition to the natural fermentation process. However, what the chefs did was to deep fried cut pieces of century egg in a mild batter and then stir fry in a sweet sour sauce reminiscent of sweet and sour pork. A unique flavour as the sweet and tanginess of the sauce mixes well with the creamy hearty taste and texture of the century egg. Its a breath of delight though I reckon my doctor will once again get into a fit.

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I have always somehow associated Deep Fried Pig’s Trotters with that of German cuisine. Don’t ask me why, its just the way my stomach categorizes things. At Pu Tien, the dish is served up garnished with a liberal use of salt and pepper. A little peppery (naturally) but definitely porky in flavour. Its very bony interior was an interesting contrast with the crispy skin. How I wish I could polish off the whole piece on its own, deboned! ($3.80 per pc)

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Anything Pork Belly lookalike goes very well in Chinese cuisine. Just imagining that wicked amount of jelly like fat on the top will definitely please a table of non-health conscious yuppies. The order of Honey Glazed Pork Ribs ($15.00), was a mixed delight for me.

The fat was very nice and soft, and the braised sauce goes very well in enhancing the taste while making it indulgable (not a real word). Yet, the meat itself was a little tough to chew and a tad dry. Oh well, I guess the real enjoyment comes from the garnish of expensive pine nuts and juicy sweet pineapples by the side.  

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For a staple, I ordered the Seafood Fried Rice ($5.00). I was intrigued that the dish came with a mound of rice but a gaping “hole” in the middle. While doing this review, I realised that the centre was supposed to be filled with a generous portion of shredded greens. I actually asked the waiter what the “hol
e” was for, but naturally, no response. Now, I know.

On the other hand, the rice itself was fluffy and delicately fragrant. Not too strong in taste, with a decent portion of coloured ingredients such as prawns, carrots, spring onions and egg thrown in. Good enough on its own.

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The Sea Cucumber with Aloe Vera Soup ($5.80) arrived pale in presentation. Yet I enjoyed its slightly viscous broth with a nice rich stock. The bits of aloe vera and sea cucumber added a good bite with each sip. But I still feel more work needs to be done with the presentation. Add some wolfberries, throw in a stalk of parsley or two, something. And maybe if anyone is feeling generous, some shark’s fin would be good.

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Dessert Time! Mixed Fruit Delight ($3.80) comprises a jelly filled bowl together with chopped fruits such as watermelon, kiwi, honeydew and topped with a sprig of mint. Not “Wow” but nice.

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Hot Yam Paste with Gingko Nut ($2.80) was rather ordinary. It comes with only “ONE” gingko nut. Come on, at least 4-5 are given at the local food court. I know the dish looks cute with that sole nut staring straight out in the centre of the bowl, but maybe a little more. Please…?

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The Pumpkin Cream with Ice Cream was simply gorgeous for me. For $4.80, a good serving of chilled sweetened pumpkin cream is served up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and topped with a touch of berries and a mint leaf. I feel like recreating this dish. Nice =)

When it comes to Pu Tien, the setting of the restaurant is definitely relaxed, with no qualms if you enter in with your Saturday casual and slippers. The mood is light, lively and full of chatter from the neighbouring table. So I won’t recommend the place if you intend to go there for a quiet, private romantic evening. Crystal Jade, I think Pu Tien has stepped into the scene.

IMG4354Pu Tien Restaurant
6 Raffles Boulevard
#02-205 Marina Square
Tel: (65) 6336 4068


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  • Man, you should have checked out the following as well:

    1) Putien Fried Mee Suah –

    Its non-stickiness and the springiness of the mee suah will surprise you totally!! It’s nothing of the gooey and clumpy type that we have normally. All thanks to the unique texture and ingredients indigenous to Fujian Putien. Try it to believe it! 🙂

    2) Putien Lor Mee –

    Again, this stands out from the crowd, even if it’s just for the colour. You see, Putien lor mee is cooked in a white seafood broth, none of the black thick version that we have outside.

    Sounds strange? The only thing in common is the black Zhe Jiang vinegar used to “darken” the sauce. In this case, pour some into the White Lor Mee, steeped in seafood, vegetables and pork slices, and you will be slurping “thick sharks fin oodles”, in no time.

    3) Stir-fried La La –

    Over here, they have converted this simple dish to a classic, either fried plain or with chili, both bring the freshness of the sea and the sweetness of that little shell fish to perfection.
    (this dish is only available at Kitchener Road Branch)

    4) Ka Lan with Dao Kee (Layered Bean Curds) –

    The Kai Lan is crispy and the Dao Kee is soft and “plump” with all the stir-fired juices in it. Bite both together and you get quite a mouthful, literally!! Hahaha…! Superbly enjoyable!

    By the way, never order rice dishes in Putien Rest, we Heng Hua people prefer noodles to rice. Not sure what Heng Hua (pronounced “Xing Hua”) is? Ask the waitresses or the managers…?

    Happy Tasting…!

  • sounds good. hehe =) you know of other restaurants with similar classics around?