Why You Have To Revisit Man Fu Yuan
This stalwart Chinese restaurant has overhauled its menu to offer both contemporary dishes and updated classics rooted in Cantonese cooking traditions.
Today’s generation of food lovers have grown more discerning, their palates sharpened by constant travels and exposure to different cultures and cuisines. And long-standing Cantonese restaurant Man Fu Yuan, which opened with Intercontinental Singapore on Middle Road in 1996, recognises this growth. To adapt, it has overhauled its menu and injected modern touches into its latest offerings.
Executive chef Eric Neo leads the brigade, and, not surprisingly, took inspiration from his globe-trotting trips. “My travel experiences play a central part in my cooking, and encounters with food never fail to jolt my imagination and creativity,” he shares.
This is evident in the rejuvenated menu where classics dishes and contemporary spins sit next to one another, and they're all cooked with premium ingredients using authentic Cantonese techniques.
The trio of appetisers, to start, includes the quintessential pork belly, elevated using the Kagoshima kurobuta bara. Chef Neo caramelises and smokes the meat; this lends the dish an undeniable sweetness that contrasts nicely with the slight smoky aftertaste.
Accompanying it are the mango passionfruit prawn, a cleverly re-imagined version of the wasabi prawn, and the deep-fried pork shoulder dumpling, which satiates one's appetite with a crisp coating that hides the meaty minced pork shoulder and shrimp filling.
Soups are a hallmark of Cantonese cuisine, and the double-boiled chicken stands out in our book. The smooth and milky broth, which doesn’t use superior stock and is made only by boiling the chicken bones, has a great depth of flavour and is as heart-warming as it gets. In the soup you'll find tender chicken, shredded dried scallops, fish maw and wolfberries.
Perhaps nothing on the menu shines as truly contemporary more than the baked cod, which chef Neo admits is a 2.0 version of the restaurant's all-time favourite miso fish. The new dish still retains its Japanese inflections; the seafood is marinated in miso and shoyu before it’s baked and garnished with Japanese mayo and miso that is lightly torched.
It’s even served with scrambled egg whites, which looks like your average breakfast staple, but is actually wok-fried with chicken stock. Not only does the dish look visually appealing, especially with the addition of edible flowers sourced from Cameron Highlands, the fish remains juicy and the topping gives it a rich creaminess.
This is, without a doubt, still a Cantonese restaurant. Hence, vermicelli with a gigantic, pan-fried prawn is a must. The noodles are bathed in an aromatic prawn bisque enhanced with hua tiao wine, just the way chef recommends guests enjoy it.
To finish, dessert is a chilled coconut with aloe vera jelly, served in a coconut shell, and it's a delectably refreshing alternative to the traditional suspects. It's also a clear nod to a more measured approach, one which diners today appreciate.
Subtle changes have also been made to the restaurant alongside this menu refresh, such as new staff uniforms and doing away with white tablecloths for less of that fine dining stuffiness.
To boot, there are now nine premium teas to choose from, with the fragrant leaves presented in what looks like a treasure chest box. Suffice it to say, such attention to detail never gets old.
Man Fu Yuan | 80 Middle Road, S(188966) | 6825 1008 | InterContinental.Dining@ihg.com