Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jiang Nan Chun - The Four Seasons Singapore

invited by The Hour Glass and De Bethune - an independent watch manufacturer

Dinner with David Zaneta, co-Founder of the incredibly creative De Bethune watches is always interesting. David is a livewire, with deep knowledge of the watchmaking industry...having spent many decades within, and have always wonderful insights on the people, characters which make this industry. David is an accomplished quintessential Italian gentleman...stern, and tough looking on the exterior, but a very warm and personable person inside...but with an attitude which comes from confidence, and from not having to act in any particular way other than to please himself.

But I digress. This is a food blog, so on to the food.

Dinner was held at the private room at Windows East at Level 20 of the Four Seasons Hotel in Singapore, and food catered from the famed Jiang Nan Chun - a cantonese restaurant within the restaurant. I have eaten several times at Jiang Nan Chun, and it is one of my favourites for fine Cantonese dining. And the food impresses this time as well.

First course is a trio of traditional roast pork, crispy peking duck and prawn salad.



Quite a traditional combination.



The pork was interesting. At first glance, it looks too dry and devoid of fat to be any good...but with the first bite...it was a bite sized morsel, one realises this is something special. The skin was very crispy, flakey...and the meat was surprisingly moist, juicy with (of course) no hint of fat. Flavour was all there. Shiok.



The duck was rather special too...the chef must have mastered the art of crisping the skin...the duck skin was perfect...with a touch of sweet sauce. And a special touch to improve the perception of crispiness was provided by the deep fried, but lightly so, bean curd skin, which complemented the duck skin with not only the texture, but also flavour. Again, the duck was devoid of fat.

After the duo of crispy delicacies, the prawn pales...though it was fresh, and quite nicely done with just enough salad cream to hint at richness of the prawns.

Next a soup, in the spirit of the "lai thong", or daily soup which is a mandatory component of a Cantonese meal came next. Jiang Nan Chun is famous for their lai thong, and this was no exception:



Double boiled spring chicken with fish maw, dried chanterelles and black truffles. Interesting ingredients. A kind of fusion, I think...while spring chicken, fish maw and chanterelles are traditional cantonese ingredient, black truffles are not exactly common in this cuisine. But the chef was masterful in blending the ingredients together. The predominantly cantonese flavours of the lai thong was omnipresent...but the palate was teased with the black truffles floating in the soup.

We were then served sauted lobster in salt and pepper:



Although the menu read sauted, the lobster looked like its been deep fried. The meat was fresh, sweet, succulent. What more can I say...lobster is one of the easier dishes to cook...the base ingredient of live lobster is already so tasty, either boiled, baked, steamed, or sauted, it is easy to bring out the flavours.

Finally the fried rice.



The rice was wok fried in a fierce fire...the wok hei was ever present...and fried with crabmeat and garlic. Shredded dry scallops which have been lightly boiled to re-infuse moisture is added as a topping. The rice was fragrant, with no hint of oil or richness. I found it to be a bit dry, and did not allow the crab to fully develop, but I think many health conscious diners would prefer this dry-er fried rice.

And dessert was cream of mango with sago and pomelo



Quite a traditional cantonese dessert, except the chef decided to spice it up with a few slices of strawberry. The berry complemented the pomello bits within the smooth creamy mango. Nicely done!

And of course, for those who are keen on watches...the watch David was wearing...the De Bethune Dream Watch.




Jiang Nan Chun
The Four Seasons Hotel
190 Orchard Boulevard
Tel: 6734-1110
Open daily: 11:30 am –2:30 pm
6:00 pm –10:30 pm
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