Instead of eating at home for Chinese New Year Eve reunion dinner, Mom-in-law decided to dine out this year. Our celebratory reunion meal was a regular haunt near our home — Savor Rey La Mian Xiao Long Bao Restaurant, an under-rated little diner that serves more than decent north-eastern Chinese cuisine.
But the first course was a distinctly Singaporean Chinese new year dish — yu sheng or lo hei.
The raw fish slices were a little too thin and scant. Otherwise, the rest of the dish was rather predictable.
Things started to get more exciting as dinner progressed into more un-familiar territory.
The cold appetizer platter featured:
- Boiled chicken in chilli oil (very very mild);
- A light salad of chilled crunchy vegetables (quite refreshing);
- Lightly spiced fried fish cubes (quite tasty).
In recent years, pen cai 盆菜 or poon choi has become a popular Chinese New Year dish in Singapore. Poon choi is a Hong Kong custom, so this Shanghai-cuisine restaurant probably came up with their own version to provide a local festive touch.
The top layer is a spread of baby abalone, chicken, beancurd skin rolls, omelette-wrapped meat dumplings, some kind of fish cake, some kind of meat ball, prawn, fish maw, and mushroom.
Beneath the meat items are stewed vegetables like lotus root, cauliflower, broccoli, and giant red dates.
With so many ingredients, the stock was intensely sweet and flavorful. This was a very hearty and comforting casserole. We’re considering ordering this for takeaway at next year’s reunion dinner (if we’re eating at home).
Braised till uber tender, the pork knuckle fell apart with a gentle prod. The soft, smooth gelatinous
skin collagen of the pork knuckle glided down our throats — such a sinful pleasure but you’d be damned if you let such a delicacy go to waste.
The set menu actually comes with sweet and sour fish, but they gave us steamed red garoupa by mistake. Not complaining! The fish was fresh and steamed to perfection.
No Chinese meal is complete with an obligatory dish of greens.
This is Savor Rey’s signature xiao long bao or soup dumplings. Thin and delicate, the skin encased a glob of tasty minced pork and a generous amount of scalding hot broth.
Coated with panko, the exterior of these pumpkin cakes were delightfully crispy and not too greasy. The insides reminded us of nian gao 年糕 — sticky, chewy, and not too sweet. Very more-ish, if not for the fact that we were already very stuffed.
And to balance out our rich and satisfying meal, a platter of chilled watermelon and mandarin orange.
The meal cost around $228. All the items were well-executed, so we were all happy diners. The only gripe we had was that the staff was short-handed so service was kinda spotty.
This was a nice change from the usual steamboat or Cantonese-style banquet dishes that we usually have for Chinese new year reunion dinner. Hope everyone had a wonderful Lunar New Year celebration too! May you be blessed with abundance and good health in the Year of the Water Dragon!
Savor Rey La Mian Xiao Long Bao Restaurant 稻香拉面小笼包馆
3 Kampong Bahru Road
Tel: +65 6223 5038
The images in this post were shot with Sony NEX-C3 with SEL1855 lens (on loan from Sony Singapore).