If you are in the mood for the finest Cantonese fare such as expertly crafted dim sum, nourishing double-boiled soups and roast meats with well-guarded recipes and meticulous methods of preparation, these Cantonese restaurants might whet your appetite. They are luxurious in both decor and ambience and the food they put on the table.
1. Yan Ting
At The St. Regis Singapore’s Yan Ting, the beige and pale-gold decor with floral wall art exudes a quiet elegance, and tables are often filled with regulars. The food is refined with memorable signature dishes and luxurious versions of Cantonese classics. From their long list of long-boiled soups, the Buddha Jumps Over the Wall (orders should be placed in advance) is packed with nourishing and deluxe ingredients such as abalone, fish maw, dried scallops, Jinhua ham, pork tendons, mushroom and bird’s nest. Dim sum selections are varied too, and top choices include the steamed lobster dumplings and the pan-fried rice roll with dried shrimp and XO sauce. They serve a weekend Dim Sum brunch buffet ($128++ onwards) and their semi-private dining alcoves are just right for intimate family meals.
The Ritz-Carlton’s one-Michelin-starred Summer Pavilion serves modern Cantonese fare with finesse and artistry. The food is excellent, but other draws are their special menu of artisanal tea blends, six private dining rooms, and exquisite hand-painted tableware. Chef Cheung Siu Kong’s signature dishes include the popular poached rice and Canadian lobster meat, where steamed and crispy rice are soaked in an umami-rich broth poured over generous chunks of lobster. There is also the double-boiled sea whelk soup with fish maw and chicken, a delicate and comforting broth that is served in a whole coconut. Apart from these, all of the menu mainstays of a fine Cantonese restaurant such as dim sum, double-boiled soup and roast meats are executed with the finest of skills and a touch of flair.
A meal at Jade is a feast for both the taste buds and the eyes. The restaurant was revamped in 2017 to its current soothing decor to incorporate shades of white, mint and green, complete with specially commissioned wallpaper. Running the kitchen is Chef Leong Chee Yeng, whose mastery is in everything from double-boiled soups and dim sum, to roast meats and novel renditions of traditional favourites. From their dim sum menu, do try the Okinawan black sugar char siew bun which has a lovely caramelised sweetness. There is also the moreish deep-fried prawn with wasabi mayonnaise, served with mango salsa to offset the heat. Jade has a popular dim sum set lunch ($50++ per person) and even special set menus (from $48++ per person) with a wide variety of chef’s signature dishes.
4. Lei Garden
For a traditional Cantonese meal that would suit multi-generational family dinners or lunches, Lei Garden is an obvious choice. They have been serving Singapore’s discerning diners since 1989 (from the old Orchard Road location) and are known for authentic Cantonese fare served in an elegant European atmosphere. Their bright and elegant restaurant within historic CHIJMES has been awarded a Michelin Star, and meals here are consistent and classic. Signature dishes here are family favourites and well-executed, like the roast pork which boasts crisp crackling and tender flesh, and the hearty claypot rice with preserved meat.
5. Wah Lok
Wah Lok at the Carlton Hotel is a stalwart Cantonese restaurant that has been serving diners since it opened in 1988. Wah Lok’s interiors offer a grand dining experience and most of the tables are situated in a rotunda-style dining area complete with polished marble, lacquered arches and a beautiful chandelier. Signature dishes include traditional favourites like a double-boiled mixed seafood and yellow melon soup that is served in an actual hollowed out melon. There are also some memorable and unique dishes like the baked cod with barbeque cauce and pan-fried wagyu beef. The food is consistently good and it is a popular choice for weddings and celebratory meals, weekend dim sum lunches and more.
A meal at Marina Bay Sands’ Mott32 is a glamorous experience. Right from the dark and sexy interiors of wood, marble and mood lighting, to the creative cocktails and the inventive Cantonese fare. At the helm is a chef with more than 35 years of experience, Hong Kong-born Executive Chef Chan Wai Keung’s specialities include the Apple Wood Roasted Peking Duck with Mott 32’s “Signature Cut” ($108, advance orders needed). They use only 42-day old Malaysian birds, that go through a 48-hour preparation before being carved tableside and presented as crispy skin (to be dipped into raw cane sugar) and tender flesh to be rolled into pancakes. Other menu highlights are the Iberico Pork and Black Truffle Siu Mai ($9 for two) where the meat is wrapped around a perfectly cooked quail egg where the yolk is runny upon first bite. For lunch, they serve an expanded dim sum menu, and are happy to cater to diners with dietary restrictions.
7. Man Fu Yuan
Located in InterContinental Singapore, the highly rated Michelin Plate awardee has been a stalwart in the Chinese fine dining scene for years, and is known for its modern and creative interpretations of comforting Cantonese fare. Its new menu, conceptualised by Executive Chinese Chef Aaron Tan are equal parts innovative and delicious. Dishes never stray far from what you’re used to as they are underpinned by traditional culinary techniques. The kung fu soup is a hearty, moreish broth made of double-boiled sakura chicken, abalone, maca and morel mushrooms served in a tea pot, while the chilled Fanny Bay oysters in hua diao wine, ikura, and bonito is a delight, arriving in a tea-infused smoke presentation akin to floating clouds. While there, pair your dishes with Man Fu Yuan’s selection of quality wines and premium teas.
The elegant Yàn is where you can get visually attractive Cantonese fare that is familiar and gratifying. Situated on level 5 of National Gallery Singapore, the menu boasts of both innovative pairings and comfort food. The steamed black cod fillet with truffle oil and minced garlic is aromatic and light, while the braised hot and sour broth is hearty and fun, with flower crab claw, scallop and prawns served in a whole coconut with a glass of coconut juice and crispy breadstick on the side. The usual Peking roast duck and crispy roast suckling pig is available for a grand feast, or you could go for a dim sum platter that’s an assortment of six different offerings, including steamed pork and prawn dumpling with mini abalone and crispy fried scallop and mixed fruit rolls. Yàn also has palatable five-course set lunch menus for the busy professional ($38++ per person, minimum two people) that includes a dim sum trio platter, soup, a seafood dish, either poached noodles with clams or rice with soya chicken and barbecue honey pork, and a dessert.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.