1. Soya Chicken and Braised Peanut Dumpling, $6.90; feeds one pax
Available till May 30 at Peony Jade@Keppel Club, Level M Keppel Club, S109918. Tel: 6276-9138, 6375-5562.
Eat This Instead Of: Soy Sauce Chicken Rice (hello Hawker Chan).
Are you a fan of Peony Jade restaurant’s signature Soya Sauce Chicken dish? Well, here’s a compact version of it, in bak chang form. Chunks of soy-braised chicken thigh meat, sweet braised peanuts, chestnuts and shiitake mushrooms are wrapped in Thai glutinous rice that has been stir-fried with dark soy sauce. While the grains are tasty enough to be eaten on their own, the chicken is a tad bland — perhaps that’s why it comes with a side of house-made soy sauce. The bird becomes quite yummy after being drenched in the lightly sweet, mellow sauce. Pretty comforting, though we think Peony Jade’s other older offerings like the spicy Nyonya Nasi Lemak Dumpling (see main pic) and yummy Hokkien-Style Rice Dumpling are more worth the calories.
2. Wagyu and Matsutake Mushroom Rice Dumpling, $48; feeds 2-3 pax (8 DAYS PICK!)
Available till May 30 at Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant, Sheraton Towers, 39 Scotts Rd. Tel: 6839-5623.
Eat This Instead Of: Wagyu Don
We had our doubts about this large, slightly soggy-looking parcel. More often than not, luxury Cantonese-style bak chang leave us underwhelmed. ’Cos it usually comprises an overpriced, not particularly delicious random mishmash of pricey ingredients trapped in a mushy rice hut. And we thought this would be the same: our first two bites yielded only soft glutinous rice studded with too much starchy stuff like potato, kidney beans, chickpeas and chestnut (oddly, we couldn't detect the prized Matsutake mushroom in this). But all is forgiven when we get to the two large hunks of fat-striated Australian wagyu short rib tucked in the middle. The beef has been marinated in a soy sauce-sugar-garlic blend overnight and is dreamily tender and toothsome. The meat and carbs pair as beautifully as Fann and Chris, especially when drizzled with Li Bai’s blend of umami soy sauce. This feeds two comfortably, or if you are greedy like us, then, er, one.
3. Roast Duck Salted Egg Rice Dumpling, $7.80 (feeds one pax)
Available till May 30 from www.crystaljade.com/e-store, all Crystal Jade restaurants and bakery outlets.
Eat This Instead Of: Roast Duck Rice
The filling in this dumpling is great: a flavourful chunk of roast duck mingling with pieces of fatty pork belly, chestnuts, salted egg yolk and mung beans. The soft, slightly smoky bird — a Crystal Jade classic — is reliably good. It goes nicely with the braised pork and briny, crumbly egg. The beans add a pleasant bite, too. Our only grouse is the bland cloak of sticky rice. But otherwise, this makes quite a satisfying meal.