Tag Archives: Chinese

Crystal Jade Golden Palace @ Paragon

Crispy Peking duck skin pancakes

My mum was visiting us in Singapore recently and it coincided with my parents 45th anniversary. With dad not being able to come because of his work schedule (boooo), we took mum out to celebrate at Crystal Jade Golden Palace.

We’d been here several times before and always loved it but for some reason it was this time I seemed to really notice just how good this place is.

Perhaps it was because we ordered our usual favourite dishes – Peking duck and roast pork – and that simply gives the opportunity to compare. I’m not saying other places we’ve been to were at all bad, just that Crystal Jade was really very very good.

The Peking duck was presented to us whole before it was taken to a side table for the skin to be deftly sliced off in impressively uniform rectangles, then served to us in delicate, thin handmade floury crepes, with a slice of spring onion and cucumber and a smear (that doesn’t sound too appetising but I really can’t think of a better description) of hoisin sauce. I’ve raved about how much I love this dish before and this evening it just seemed so wonderfully delicious and light I wished they never ran out – I could have just carried on eating them all night.

We asked for the second course of the Peking duck – where the duck meat from the whole duck is cooked with noodles – to use rice noodles instead of the usual flour noodles, and again, this was just spectacular. Served with a drizzle of vinegar to cut through the richness of the duck, this was another dish where I would go back to the restaurant and just order this one dish.

Perfect three layer Chinese roast pork

Of course there had to be space for the roast pork. Similar to other restaurants, it comes as a square of three layer pork (crispy skin, thin layer of tender fat and meat) and they must have really selected the best quality pork where the fat was nicely layered so it left the meat juicy and tasty, while maintaining that all-important crispy skin. Dipped into the hot mustard that was dotted on the plate each mouthful was a delight of porky goodness.

Just go prepared with some warm clothes – it’s so cold there the restaurant offers patrons blankets !

Crystal Jade Golden Palace
290 Orchard Road
#05-22 The Paragon
Tel: 6734 6866

Mon-Fri 11.30a, – 3.00pm, 6.00pm – 11.00pm
Sat:  11.00am – 3.00pm, 6.00pm – 11.00pm
Sun and public holidays:  10.30am – 3.00pm, 6.00pm – 11.00pm


Tung Lok Classics @ Chinese Swimming Club

The insanely good suckling pig served on doughy pancakes with sweet sauce and cucumber

Going to Chinese restaurants is, to me, still a bit of a treat. Perhaps it’s because growing up I always ate in Chinese restaurants with my family, so going without my parents feels like a really “grown up” thing to do – even though I am now older than my parents when they migrated to Sydney !

Of course living in Singapore I have ready access to a multitude of great Chinese restaurants, and one of our regular restaurants is Tung Lok Classics at the Chinese Swimming Club on Amber Road.

It serves a lot of your standard Chinese dishes, and they also serve a delicious range of Chinese herbal soups. I love that the soup comes out in a huge earthenware pot where they ladle out individual soup bowls. The tradition of cooking soup in the claypot somehow makes it feel almost fortifying.

Paper-wrapped chicken baked in rock salt

We’ve tried some of their more unusual dishes like paper-wrapped chicken cooked in rock salt, and while it was tender and delicately flavoured from the rock salt, we couldn’t quite put our finger on why it wasn’t a firm favourite. I couldn’t work out the flavours that were with the chicken in the bag.

Peking duck – slices of crispy duck skin in thin pancakes with shallot and cucumber

Our favourites: Peking Duck – whole (or half but why eat in halves ??) duck that has been seasoned with five spices and then roasted and hung in special ovens so the fat renders, leaving the skin super thin and crispy. At the table, skilled staff then cut away the skin, and this is served in pancakes with a sweet hoisin sauce, cucumbers and spring onions for a fresh zing. The meat that is left on the duck is then removed and you can have it fried with thick noodles or rice.

The other favourite is suckling pig. Similar to the Peking duck, the skin on the pig is roasted till crisp, and this is served with a slightly sweet doughy slice of pancake and sweet sauce. The combination of the salt and sweet, crunchy and soft textures is just pure bliss.

Any recommendations for great Chinese food in Singapore? I’m definitely keen to expand my repertoire, and until I get to try those, Tung Lok Classics remains one of our go-to’s for our Chinese food-fix. I’m also keen to check out their dim sum menu during the day.

Tung Lok Classics 
Chinese Swimming Club
21 Amber Road
Singapore 439870
Tel: +65 6345 0111

Opening Hours:
Mondays to Saturdays
Lunch: 11.30am – 3.00pm
Dinner: 6.00pm -10.30pm

Sundays & PH
Lunch: 10.00am – 3.00pm
Dinner: 6.00pm -10.30pm

Dim Sum @ Victoria Peak

Quail’s egg and pig’s trotters stewed with black vinegar and ginger 

Orchard Central is a really odd shopping centre. In a city where shopping is a heritage and a true pastime, you would think that whoever is going to develop a shopping centre on prime location at Orchard Road, would be in tune with the psychology of shopping – make it easy for shoppers to spend. Mind you, Ion just down the road is also a similarly horrendous labyrinth of shops and that’s always packed, but perhaps it’s the type of stores they have there (for example, flagship stores of high-end brands) that draws the crowds.

Char siew pork steamed rice rolls

Anyway, I digress. On the difficult-to-get-to-if-you-don’t-know-that-the-lifts-to-level-11-are-only-on-some-of-the-floors (phew!) is Victoria Peak, presumably named after the famous mountain of the same name in Hong Kong.

Steamed BBQ pork buns

Recommended by a friend, we went today and we were impressed that at not only the range of the food available was, but also the quality. Restaurants that serve dim sum here in Singapore usually also have a la carte items available, and the actual dim sum menu is fairly limited. Victoria Peak is no different, but the range of dishes available on their dim sum menu was broader than the usual three types of dumplings, one rice roll and steamed BBQ pork buns.  Having said that, this is  dim sum, after all, so we did order the three types of dumplings, two types of rice rolls (ooh!) and the steamed BBQ pork buns 🙂  We also ordered some specialities like quail’s eggs and pig’s trotters stewed in black vinegar, soy and ginger, and fried salmon skin, which I have only ever had at one other dim sum.  The overall quality of the food was excellent.

Attentive waiters, an impressive selection of fine wines, should you fancy it (maybe at dinner time rather than with dim sum), completed the circle of good. Just remember how you got there or you might struggle to get out on to street level again.

Victoria Peak
Level 11, 181 Orchard Road
Orchard Central
Tel: +65 6238 7666

Opening Hours
Mon–Sat:11.30am–3pm, 6pm–10.30pm
Sun & PH:11am–3pm, 6pm–10.30pm

Tung Lok Classics at the Chinese Swimming Club

I had the opportunity to eat at Tung Lok Classics the other day when a family friend took my visiting grandmother to dinner.  The Chinese Swimming Club is actually two buildings – think old, and new.  Tung Lok is situated on the third floor of the new Club.

Overlooking the pool, this unassuming restaurant serves authentic, time-honoured Chinese classic dishes from Shanghainese, Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine.  Expect no surprises, but eat well !  The dishes are carefully created and complex and serve to delight your tastebuds.

We started with the ubiquitous roast pork squares, with its crispy skin and melt-in-your-mouth tender meat, followed by traditional peking duck.  The duck was served three ways – crispy skin skillfully removed, in pancakes with shallots and hoisin sauce,  roast duck meat, and then duck congee.   The soup of the day was a pork and salt fish soup with herbs that soothed the stomach and the soul, fragrant and tasty without being overpowering.

This was followed by juicy, firm, steamed fish fillets with preserved vegetables, braised homemade tofu, fried snake beans.

For dessert, I ordered the durian mochi, which was a deliciously soft intense explosion of durian it was almost shocking.  Absolutely the best way to end an evening of well-executed, classic food.

The one thing I will add is that I noticed that the restaurant also specialises in Sharks Fin Soup.  If it were up to me to choose the venue I would have gone to Szechuan Court at the Fairmont Hotel where they have taken Shark’s Fin off the menu.

Tung Lok Classics
Level 3
Chinese Swimming Club
21 Amber Road, Singapore
+65 6345 0111

Mon–Sat: 11.30am–3pm, 6pm–10.30pm
Sun & PH: 10am–3pm, 6pm–10.30pm

Szechuan Court
Level 3, Fairmont Hotel
8o Bras Basah Road
+65 6431 6156

Min Jiang with family

Really a place for large family get togethers and business meals, this restaurant is the resident Chinese cuisine restaurant at the Goodwood Park Hotel.  I haven’t had a chinese banquet in a looong time (all my friends are already married or don’t celebrate at Chinese restaurants) and gosh I miss them !  But also not having had a banquet for so long, I marvel at just how much they think people can eat in one seating.

Before I continue, why are Chinese restaurants always have the air conditioning set to “sorry, I turned down the thermostat and it got stuck” temperature?  It really spoils the experience and the food gets cold, mighty quick.  And if the courses take a long time in between each course, the patron is left drinking endless cups of hot tea to keep warm, filling up valuable stomach space and making them take frequent trips to the washroom.

After an inordinately long wait for the first course, though, the subsequent courses came quite quickly, and then came, and then came…and then came.  I had to leave after the fourth course (I skipped the sharks fin) and was already at bursting point, and there were still 5 courses to come !

Perhaps having eaten some of the best banquets I can think of, the food at Min Jiang was pretty unimpressive.  The cold meats were a bit all over the place.  Pieces of chicken and duck with char siu slices, cold jellyfish and a marinaded baby octopus that would have fit into a greek salad.  I won’t comment on the sharks fin but third course was pretty fatty duck pancakes (and I like my duck fat), followed by a slightly tough, BIG slice of fish and then what tasted like Singapore chilli prawns with a stale man tou.  I did, however, like the dessert – it was an almond jelly set in a young coconut with longans and the delicate flavours really worked for me.  Normally I steer clear of almond jelly – it’s a bit overpowering for me, but I could just taste the almond and it was as tender and soft as the flesh of the young coconut.

Not sure Min Jiang rates there with the likes of Crystal Jade Golden Palace just around the corner at Paragon, but as my parents were staying at the Goodwood Park Hotel, a convenient reintroduction to the good old Chinese banquet.