Honouring A Rich Culinary Heritage At Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine
In line with the celebrations surrounding ION Orchard’s 8th anniversary and conceived in collaboration with Singapore Tatler Dining, Signature Indulgences is a specially curated series of dinners held as part of the ION Orchard Culinary Creations 2017 programme.
Featuring some of the mall’s finest dining establishments, it is an opportunity for chefs to showcase new creations or demonstrate their finely-honed mastery of traditional dishes, with grace and elegance.
Often compared to its neighbouring Fujian and Cantonese cousins, Teochew cuisine shares dishes with the Fujian region due to their geographic proximity and is influenced by Cantonese culinary techniques such as poaching, steaming, braising and stir-frying. It is a delicate cuisine that is widely perceived as healthy owing to its predilection for seafood and vegetarian fare. It eschews the use of large quantities of oil and exercises a lighter hand with seasoning, relying more on the natural flavours of the produce it uses.
These are practices that Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine assuredly respects, evident in the kitchen’s skill, attention to detail—they cut no corners sourcing and importing premium and exotic seafood and ingredients—and wholesome preparation methods.
The restaurant on ION Orchard’s third floor also offers wonderful views of Singapore’s most vibrant retail district with floor-to-ceiling windows basking the main dining hall in ample natural light during the day.
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The softly elegant interior perfectly complements the menu, offering no distractions and buttressing these heritage recipes by planting them firmly in the present.
Kicking off the Signature Indulgences menu is the deep-fried minced prawn ball and barbecue pork belly in honey sauce. A childhood favourite in many Teochew households, the prawn ball is a combination of finely chopped prawns, minced pork, water chestnut and vegetables. Its golden crisp texture makes it the perfect foil for the glisteningly moist and toothsome pork belly, an obvious crowd-pleaser the moment the honey glaze hits the tongue.
The second course is a perennial classic in the Teochew food cannon: steamed pomfret fillet with salted vegetables and tomatoes. Simplicity is key here, and the elements on the plate work together to yield a gentle symphony. The salted vegetables lift the entire dish just enough to bring out the fresh characteristics of the succulent fish, which is steamed in a broth complemented by sweet tomatoes.
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Up next is an Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine signature, the steamed “shi liu” ball with abalone. A “shi liu” ball typically refers to a “money bag” filled with minced meat that is deep-fried in a tofu skin wrapper. In this elevated version, freshly diced abalone is incorporated with chicken, prawn, ham and Chinese mushrooms, before it is encased and steamed in an elegant parcel made out of a homemade egg white sheet, and set on a dainty bed of poached spinach.
Another mainstay of this regional cuisine, the Teochew-style marinated duck combination presents the familiar fowl in different guises. Whether it is marinated in soya sauce and spices or brined, this selection is a testament to the chef’s astute understanding of flavour.
Speaking of which, in another exquisite example of the kitchen’s aptitude for time-honoured techniques, braised Wagyu veal cheek is first seared then stewed slowly, resulting in a dish that truly does melt in the mouth.
The humble wok-fried hor fun with diced kai lan and preserved radish is a seemingly uncomplicated plate that masks the experience and dexterity necessary for exceptional execution. The flat rice noodles are boiled then flash-fried at very high temperatures to create a light crust and the coveted “wok hei”, a fragrant char that has become an essential quality for all wok-fried dishes.
Lastly, the dish of sweetened mashed taro with gingko nuts, more popularly known as orh ni, is the traditional treat to bring this gustatory adventure to a smooth and velvety finish. It closes a meal marked by refined flavours that evoke memories and a warm familiarity, while perpetuating an extraordinary heritage in a timeless and contemporary setting.
This year also marks ION Orchard’s eighth anniversary and a delectable array of delightful deals await diners. As part of the ION Orchard Culinary Creations festivities from June 9 to July 31, diners can savour 1-for-1 Holideals, via the ION Orchard Mobile App, from several well-loved restaurants. What’s more, ION Orchard is offering eight continuous months of free lunchtime parking from Mondays through Thursdays (noon to 1pm, excluding public holidays) from March 17 to October 29. Shoppers can also redeem complimentary refreshments at The 1872 Clipper Tea Co. and shopping vouchers, which are part of the ION Orchard 8th Anniversary Spending Rewards. Visit ionorchard.com for details.