It’s not difficult to find a decent Cantonese restaurant in Singapore, there’s one at every corner of the street. But finding one that offers an inventive, exciting and delicious menu that’s a little different from the usual can be quite the challenge.
Man Fu Yuan (满福苑) sets itself apart with its modern, revamped style of Cantonese cuisine. Located in InterContinental Singapore, the place is beautiful and elegant, perfect for a birthday celebration or a date night.
Chef Eric Neo, the executive chef at Man Fu Yuan, has incorporated his favourite dishes into the new menu, combining modern culinary methods with traditional Chinese cooking.
The menu features 10 stunning dishes, starring premium ingredients, such as Kagoshima pork belly, codfish and more.
In particular, the Deep-fried Pork Shoulder Dumpling ($26 for six pieces) is an excellent appetiser choice. It appears deceptively like siew mai, but it is quite different.
Inside, the pork shoulder was firm to the bite and carried an intense umami flavour. The exterior was crisp and light, and a dollop of wasabi mayo injected a fiery excitement to the dish, whetting my appetite with each bite.
Another splendid option is the Smoked Kagoshima Pork Belly Char Siew ($28). Wonderfully aromatic, this dish features thick slices of pork belly, smoked and slathered with a sweet, silky sauce. The pork belly was equal parts fatty and meaty; a combination of melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and meaty juiciness.
Each bite came with a gentle sweetness, as well as a lingering smokiness that tied everything together. Although I’m not the biggest char siew fan, I would eat this any day.
There must always be an ascension from appetisers to mains, and Man Fu Yuan manages this expertly. Indulgent and exciting, the Miso Shoyu Baked Cod with Scrambled Egg Whites ($26) features a premium fish, further elevated by using Japanese flavours and a play on texture.
A shoyu-based marinade is first used to infuse a light, savoury flavour to the cod. Artfully drizzled over the fillet and torched, the miso mayo lends the dish an intense, smoky flavour with notes of nuttiness, which accentuated the sweetness of the fish. Scrambled egg whites act as a fluffy cushion beneath the cod, adding a layer of creaminess to the dish.
The cod itself was cooked flawlessly, sporting a luxuriously flaky inside, and a beautiful sear on the exterior. When eaten all together, it is a tantalising combination of taste and texture that you’ll hardly get anywhere else.
For something a little more unique, perhaps try the Tiger Prawn Vermicelli in Superior Broth ($14). A harmonious combination of three different ingredients, this dish features a magnificently large battered tiger prawn and a handful of soft vermicelli, over which a prawn bisque-like soup is poured over.
The recommendation is to eat the prawn first, so that there’s time for the vermicelli to absorb the soup and become flavourful. No doubt, the prawn was fresh and succulent, but it was a little lacking in flavour. If only its taste had matched its wonderful texture.
The broth, which was cooked with Hua Diao wine, boasted a rich and powerful prawn essence with the wine adding layers of complexity and fragrance to the broth.
As for the vermicelli, its texture was quite the surprise. It looks a lot like plain ol’ beehoon, but the texture was much more like mee sua. It is incredibly absorbent; each bite a burst of flavour.
The Deep Fried Purple Sweet Potato Custard Ball ($14 for six pieces) is one of Man Fu Yuan’s signatures, and also one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
I think the name is quite self-explanatory, but to give you a clearer picture, this is a little like the traditional liu sha bao (salted egg yolk custard bun), but instead of a regular steamed bun, the liu sha is encased by a two-layered sweet potato ball. The inner layer is a smooth sweet potato paste, while the outer layer is deep fried and perfectly crisp.
When you bite into the ball, you’ll first experience a satisfying crunch from the crispy exterior, before biting into a warm, gentle sweet potato puree, followed by a golden explosion of sweet, creamy, buttery liu sha.
Each flavour blended seamlessly into the next – the rich, decadent liu sha was grounded by the mellow and more rustic sweet potato. This is a creation that can only be described as glorious, and you would be a fool to miss out on this.
Man Fu Yuan is truly reaching new heights by incorporating modern techniques and flavours into traditional Cantonese cooking. What you’ll get there is a gastronomic experience that’ll both surprise and satisfy you. Perhaps consider going to Man Fu Yuan for the next family birthday gathering!
Expected damage: $30 – $50 per pax