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Dinner was a pleasant affair at Si Chuan Dou Hua. There are actually 3 outlets and we chose the one perched way at the top of UOB Plaza(60th floor) right in the heart of the Central Business District. You don't really need a rocket scientist to figure out why though. The view from the 60th floor is breathtaking. Need I say more?
Any hopes of an awesome aerial view slowly dissipates when you step into the restaurant. The windows are not floor to ceiling windows and offer a very limited view of the surroundings. However, any disappointment is soon placated by the sombre wood themed interior with its indulgent setting and classy finish. But do not write off those windows just yet. Peer through them and you get a magnificent view of the area, complete with shimmering lights of the city below. Its just a little more troublesome thats all.
Now Si Chuan Dou Hua is famous for its artful method of tea pouring. There will be a guy and a lady who will be dressed in traditional martial arts attire and armed with a kettle/teapot that has a very long snout. Water from this kettle/teapot will be skillfully poured into your tea cup containing the ingredients for the Eight Treasures Tea. Just a little background on this Eight Treasures Tea because I'm a huge fan of it. It consists of Red Dates, Wolf Berries, Dried Logans, Chrysanthemum, Rock Sugar, Dried Lily Buds, Jasmine Tea Leaves and Mai Dong, which is believed to reduce cholesterol, stimulate blood circulation and increase immunity. On a sidenote, we had the executive set dinner menu at $78.80 for 2 pax.
Two Delicacies Combination - The two delicacies in this dish refers to a serving of Dried Tau Kwa with Cashew Nuts and a serving of sliced pork with what tasted and looked like Belachan. This dish really whetted our appetites although it was way too spicy for us and we had to resort to downing glasses and glasses of iced water just polish it off. The meat was thinly sliced and had a slightly rubbery texture, which made chewing a pleasure. I did find the Dried Tau Kwa a little too hard though.
Eight Treasure Shark's Fin and Seafood Soup - This didn't really fit the bill of traditional shark's fin soup. It was almost greenish for starters due to the excessive amount of an unknown type of vegetable sprinkled on top (I couldn't really taste what kind of vegetable it was though) and the soup tasted more like tofu soup with seafood. But don't get me wrong, it was actually very tasty while not coming across as too heavy at the same time, probably due to the less starchy texture. There was a sprinkling of shark's fin but they weren't of superior quality. Then again, no complaints for the price.
Silver Cod Fish in Sweet Wine Sauce - I personally fancied this dish pretty much. The fish was fresh, sweet and nicely fried with an almost crispy exterior. Drizzle the sweet wine sauce on it and you get a burst of sweetness from the sauce melding with the natural sweetness of the fish. A simple but delightful dish to say the least.
Fried Rice with Crab Meat - How many times have you ordered crab meat fried rice only to find miniscule portions of crab meat hidden within? Si Chuan Dou Hua's version has large chunks of crab meat embedded within throughly fried grains of rice which have a distinctive Wok Hei aura. Eating too much of it also doesn't render one nauseous, which is a refreshing change from the usual MSG laden ones.
Stir Fried French Bean with Minced Meat - This is a rather uncommon dish in Singapore and many places that I've patronised don't serve it(maybe I'm just unlucky). Naturally I was excited to see that this dish came along with the set menu. Alas, excitement turned to disappointment when I had my first taste of it. The french bean was way too soft and soggy, probably a result of frying for too long. The minced meat topping was rather salty and tasted like dried shrimps actually, but it was the only thing that gave flavour to this dish.
With a name like Si Chuan Dou Hua, it isn't hard to guess what they are famous for - their Dou Hua. I'm not kidding, the Dou Hua is really a cut above the rest. Extremely smooth and quivery, the Dou Hua literally slitters down your throat with every spoonful. The syrup isn't too sweet, but sweet enough to carry the Dou Hua.
The bill came up to $103.50($83.50 after the usage of my $20 voucher), which does push the meaning of reasonable a little, but for the experience, it is still justifiable. Service is reasonably good as well, so it all adds up to a rather pleasant dining experience.
See all my pictures here.
60. The number could refer to almost anything; age, weight, people, money, time - Si Chuan Dou Hua restaurant on the sixty level of UOB plaza. 100 - a century figure of dishes at weekend lunch, offering dim sum, tea and Szechuan cuisine. 38.8 - the unbeatable price of under forty dollars. Numbers are magic: they tell a thousand things too.
The kidney, I have to say, was lovely: chewy and pinkish-coloured, swelled-looking, with the clever use of spices covered the porky smell which made so many people avoided the delicious pig kidney.
The question of authenticity popped up during the tasting session, and Linda the director of SCDH was quick to point out although there were some minor tweaks of the dishes to suit local palates, the Chilled chicken in spicy bean paste was done exactly like the Szechuan favourite. The spicy bean paste caused a storm; hot, fiery, and simply so Szechuan!
SCDH served us many cold dishes for starters, and the Sliced beef and tripe in chilli sauce was one of them.
At first glance, it was not difficult to mistaken the Sliced duck in Teow chew style for the more commonly seen drunken chicken. Thinly sliced, I could never resist duck meat!
This one caught me by surprise - the crispy chicken puff. I wasn’t expecting something so, small and tiny, to be so good. The crispy fried skin had chicken within: it was a reminiscent of cream puff, except the pastry was fried instead of baked, and the fillings were chicken instead of cream.
Perfect. One of the best carrot cake I’ve had; every bite was flavourful with radish. The only correct thing to make a good carrot cake is to just add more radish, it’s so simple, yet many fail to get the gist of it.
The purist would protest at the sight of the Steamed siew mai with quill egg. The additional of quill egg was an innovation, and credits had to be given to the chefs for experimenting with different ingredients.
No, it definitely wasn’t St Valentine’s the last time I checked. Nonetheless, the heart shape was pretty enough to gorge at - Pan-fried shredded yam pancake with waxed meat.
I ain’t a big fan of mince meat balls, but the Steamed beef balls with seasonal vegetables won me over with the chewy and bouncy texture.
I eyed the golden dumpling, not knowing what to do. Should I, or should I not? I took up my pair of chopsticks, and dove right in, secretly praying in my heart: Sharky, rest in peace, you’d not die in vain. Steamed shark’s fin and chicken dumpling.
Despite the scary-looking-thick-oily-layer of chilli, the Dumpling with chilli oil was surprisingly, not that spicy. I had called the fire brigade to be prepared to put out any fire, and after one tiny nibble of the dumpling, it was safe. And I ate some more, of the thick and generous filling, which almost busted out of the dumpling skin.
This one was interesting. The Pan-fried fish pancake with parsley, the crispy firm pastry-like texture was evident, but I couldn’t quite make out what actually constituted in the fish pancake.
For the best creative award, I presented to you the, Pan-fried sweet corn pancake. The inclusion of sweet corn in a dim sum was a first for me: needless to say, it worked. The sweet corn, like its name, enhanced the sweetness of the pancake.
The Steamed prawn dumpling, or Har gau, had fresh succulent prawns, but I found the skin slightly too thick from what I had in mind.
Instead of the streetfood in Szechuan, SCDH decided to upmarket the Fried pumpkin cake by scoring on presentation and refining it. The delicate-lovely-looking miniature pumpkin; it was too pretty to eat.
If there was one memorable dish I had to choose from SCDH, it had to be the Steamed lotus paste bun with egg yolk. The egg yolk within the lotus bun, oh my. It was indescribable. The combination of lotus paste and egg yolk, was akin to mooncake, with a bun skin.
Balancing my chopsticks, I took a glance at the noodles. This should be easy, I thought. I grabbed some noodles using my less-than-perfect chopstick skills, and slurped the tan tan noodle. The world seemed to froze in time; I took another mouthful of noodles, putting in as much as my mouth would fit. The noodles, how should I put it: bouncy, springy, smooth, well it seems my vocabulary would be exhausted soon. It was good!
We had the following desserts: herbal jelly, mango & pamelo cream, glutinous rice with coconut milk, almond cream with fungus, chilled strawberry jelly, chilled coconut & jackfruit cream, red bean paste with lotus seed, and yam paste with ginko nuts.
Si Chuan Dou Hua has certainly opened up my narrow view of Szechuan cuisine; the impression of only hot and spicy food is wrong, there are many more variety available. Linda, the director of SCDH, who hosted us for the tasting session. And I have to conclude that Linda was the best host among the 4 restaurants which we had went to; her passion for food, and her warm & friendly smile, made our meal more enjoyable.
The 40 items which we tried for the tasting session were part of their weekend lunch which had a mind-blowing 100 items, priced at another unbelievable figure $38.8. My appreciation to Linda for hosting us, and Cuisine & Wine Asia for the invitation.
You are always welcome to visit ladyironchef for a full-up on this trip. Whatever written herein are my genuine feelings expressed in words. Food, my dear, is what they call an adventure!
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