100 Sichuan Delights, 1 Gastronomic Feast!
Available from now till 15th October 2016, Sichuan food lovers would definitely want to check out Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant 四川豆花饭庄 for their a-la carte buffet featuring a mind-boggling selection of 100 dishes that aims to showcase the true essence of Sichuan cuisine.
Wait. True essence of Sichuan cuisine? You mean there is more to its trademark 'mala' 麻辣 flavor?
Yes!!! The commonly held perception of Sichuan Cuisine as being predominately spicy and tongue-numbing is broken!
Before we go further, do keep in mind that though Si Chuan Dou Hua has 3 outlets in Singapore, only the one at PARKROYAL on Beach Road offers the Sichuan ala-carte buffet special.
The other two restaurants at PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road and TOP of UOB Plaza have slightly different concepts.
Being a Sichuan food lover myself, I naturally have high expectations of the buffet spearheaded by Chengdu-born Sichuan Executive Chef Zeng Feng, and eagerly look forward to the variety of dishes offered.
"Each dish its own, 100 flavours in 100 dishes". This is finally a break from those typical mala steamboat joints or mala xiang guo stalls that are sprouting all over our island.
Navigating through the menu is simple as the 100 dishes are grouped into 26 categories according to the predominant flavor or core ingredient. There are both warm and chilled dishes.
Here's giving you a full idea of what to expect:-
- Chili Oil (红油味) - Chilled Diced Chicken, Sliced Pig Ear, Crispy Purple Potato Chips, Minced Meat Dumpling
- Garlic & Chili Sauce (蒜泥味) - Eggplant, Sliced Pork, Enoki Mushrooms, Bittergourd
- Tomato Sauce (茄汁味) - Fresh Prawns, Deep-fried Beancurd, Stir-fried Fish
- Sweet & Sour Sauce( 糖醋味) - Chilled Sliced Radish, Chilled Cucumber Strips, Stir-fried Fish Fillet, Stir-fried Pork
- Sesame Sauce (麻酱味) - Chilled 'You Mai' Vegetables, Sliced Fish Maw, Sichuan Noodles
- Sichuan Minced Pepper (椒盐味) - Diced Beancurd, Diced Cod Fish, Sliced Chicken, Crispy Soft Shell Crab
- Sichuan Pepper & Minced Spring Onion Sauce (椒麻味) - Fresh Scallops, Sliced Chicken, King Mushroom, Boiled Fresh Sliced Fish
- Strange-flavored Sauce (怪味) - Shredded Chicken, Crispy Pork, Cashew Nuts, Mini Octopus
- Spicy & Sour Flavor (酸辣味) - Chilled Jelly Fish, Homemade Fine Beancurd, Vermicelli, Seafood Soup
- Ma La Flavor (麻辣味) - Sliced Beef & Tripe, Diced Beancurd, Chilled Chicken in Spicy Bean Paste, Boiled Sliced Beef, Sliced Fish
- Vinegar Sauce (醋溜味) - Stir-fried Sliced Chicken, Stir-fried Chinese Cabbage, Stir-fried Fresh Scallops
- Sweet Bean Sauce (酱香味) - Stir-fried Bittergourd, Stir-fried Sliced Pork, Braised Beancurd, Sichuan Minced Meat Noodle
- Chinese Rice Wine (香糟味) - Marinated Bamboo Shoots, Marinated Sliced Pork Belly
- Homemade Sichuan Sauce (家常味) - Sliced Pork with Leek, Braised Sea Cucumber, Braised Beancurd, Stir-fried Sliced Carrots, Leeks & Celery
- Sichuan Bean Paste (豆瓣味) - Braised Fresh Fish, Braised Pork Knuckle, Stir-fried Winter Melon
- Sweet & Salty Flavor (甜咸味) - Braised Pork Belly in Honey Sauce, Braised Pork Knuckle in Honey Sauce
- Mustard Sauce (芥末味) - Shredded Chicken, Green Beans, Shredded Cucumber, White Radish & Carrot
- Lychee Flavor 荔枝味 - Stir-fried Fish, Braised Sliced Pork, Stir-fried Prawns, Stir-fried Pig's Kidney
- Garlic & Chili Sauce (鱼香味) - Stir-fried Chicken, Stir-fried Prawns, Stir-fried Shredded Meat, Vermicelli, Eggplant & Minced Meat
- Sichuan Pepper Flavor (糊辣味) - Diced Chicken with Dried Chili & Cashew Nuts, Fresh Prawns with Dried Chili, Fresh Squid with Dried Chili, Stir-fried Chinese Cabbage with Dried Chili
- Plum Sauce (陈皮味) - Chilled Diced Chicken, Diced Crispy Chicken
- Five Spices (五香味) - Smoked Fish, Dried Beancurd, Sliced Beef
- Salty Flavor (咸鲜味) - Fresh Prawns, Stir-fried Fish with Onion & Ginger, Shredded Pork with Sichuan Vegetables, Stir-fried Sliced Pig's Kidney, Stir-fried French Beans with Minced Meat, Stir-fried Shredded Potato with Green Chili, Braised Beancurd with Shrimp, Minced Meat Dumpling in Superior Stock, Steamed Pork Belly with Sichuan Beansprouts
- Onion Oil (葱油味) - Braised Sea Cucumber, Black Mushrooms, Pan-fried Pancake, Sichuan Noodles
- Ginger Flavor (姜汁味) - Spinach, Green Beans, Stir-fried Fish, Stir-fried Chicken, Braised Pork Knuckle
- Sweet Sauce (甜香味) - Steamed Pork Belly with Glutinous Rice & Red Bean Paste, Stir-fried Fresh Egg & Sugar
We were utterly astounded by the variety! Usually we base our dining decisions on the type of food (for instance pasta, steak, sushi), however this time round the flavor takes priority. This change in perception certainly forces us to rethink the way we approach food.
The dining experience was also made more fun especially when dining in larger groups whereby blind taste-tasting amongst friends can lead to hilarious findings. Best to come with at least 3 or 4 people.
If there is a flavor which particularly caught our attention, it had to be the 'Strange-flavored Sauce'. Strange? How strange? Our interest was piqued.
The Cashew Nuts with Strange-flavored Sauce turned out to be crunchy, fragrant and strangely addictive with its coat of salty, sweet, numbing, spicy, sour flavors converging in each chomp. This will be so perfect with beer!
'Lychee flavor' was quite a surprise as no lychees are used in the sauce, but the sweet and sour flavors combined to form a lychee-like taste that's refreshingly sweet.
Both the peppery-saltish Diced Bean Curd and Crispy Soft Shell Crab Deep-fried with Sichuan Minced Pepper was nothing fancy, but immensely enjoyable. The Sliced Pig Ear in Chili Oil was a cold and refreshing dish with crunchy tendons paired with mild spiciness.
Of course there are spicy and numbing 'Ma La' dishes to tickle our tastebuds. Favorites include the Chilled Chicken in Spicy Bean Paste, Boiled Sliced Beef in Sichuan Pepper Sauce and Sliced Fish in Spicy Chili Sauce. Do you know that capsaicin, a bioactive ingredient that provides the spicy kick in chili and pepper can increase metabolism, thus providing slimming effects? PinkyPiggu should eat more lol.
The moreish Sliced Pork in Garlic & Chili Sauce is also not to be missed.
Another noteworthy mention goes to the Fresh Scallops with Sichuan Pepper & Minced Spring Onion Sauce which is light yet full of refreshing flavors from the ginger peppercorn powder and minced spring onion.
For pork belly lovers, not only is there the sweet-savory Braised Pork Belly with Honey Sauce, there is also a sweeter variant, Steamed Pork Belly with Glutinous Rice where sliced pork belly is steamed with a thick spread of red bean paste and glutinous rice, then sprinkled with sugar before it is served. Quite funky I must add.
Desserts are more conventional as we concluded the evening with classics including Crispy Glutinous Rice Ball with Sesame Paste, Glutinous Rice Ball with Chinese Rice Wine and Herbal Jelly with Honey.
Our tummies were filled to the brim due to the sheer volume of dishes being served! Though the quantity is high, the quality remained top-notched. We were told that each dish was individually prepared upon ordering.
Fans of Sichuan food or Chinese food in general will enjoy the dishes offered, with many familiar as well as lost flavors to be savored. Other diners who would like to understand and explore the art of Chinese culinary will not be disappointed too with the wide variety of cooking techniques and flavors that are being showcased.
A total of 100 Sichuan dishes will be featured in 100 Sichuan Delights, 1 Gastronomic Feast ala-carte buffet.
This is available exclusively at Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant 四川豆花饭庄 @ PARKROYAL on Beach Road, for $48++ per person or $58++ per person with free flow of Bavaria Premium beer.
The promotion will run from 15th July to 15th October 2016, with UOB cardholders enjoying 20% savings.
Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant 四川豆花饭庄
Address: PARKROYAL on Beach Road, 7500 Beach Road, Singapore 199590
Contact: +65 6505 5722
Opening Hours: Lunch 11.30am-2.30pm / High Tea 2.30pm-6pm / Dinner 6.30pm-10.30pm
Prices are (1) Stated in Singapore dollars (2) Subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST (3) Correct at point of published date.
* Written by BFF, a guy who is desperately trying to find a balance while lost in the world of sights, sound and taste.
* Edited with additional inputs by PinkyPiggu
* Photos by PinkyPiggu