“The mythical gourmand, Tao Tie, weaves its magic”
The word TAO from the Tao Seafood Asia is drawn from the legendary, Chinese mythical gourmand known as “饕餮” (tāo tiè) in Mandarin. It is believed that this mythical creature watches over this restaurant and weaves his magic on Tao’s gastronomic nouveau creations. It seems that Chef Lee Tong Kuon is the physical embodiment of Tāo Tiè.
For the year of the Wood Goat, Tāo Tiè has decreed that the offerings from Tao Seafood should be based on a marriage of the Thai-Teochew influence.
Tao Supreme Prosperity Yu Sheng ($128++).
The Yu Sheng is almost a mandatory order in Chinese New Year dinners. The Tao Supreme Prosperity Yu Sheng ($128++ for up to 10 pax; 1-day advance reservation for dine-in/take-away) differentiates itself from other mundane recipes with its 18 unique ingredients from 4 categories, namely seafood, greens, fruits and nuts.
The Thai influence in Tao’s Yu Sheng lies in the presence of the nuts and dried crispy fish skins. The compendium of items gives this Yu Sheng different layers of taste and textures.
The sauce has a zesty scent of basil and a sweet-sourness of plum. South African abalone, crispy fish skin and salmon roe provide the textural chewy-crunchiness while a combination of sweet mango slices, sour blueberries and strawberries impart a different layer of taste.
House of Golden Riches Yaowarat Pen Chai ($318++/$488++).
House of Golden Riches Yaowarat Pen Chai ($318++ for 6 pax, $488++ for 10 pax; 2-day advance reservation for dine-in/take-away) is made in the same tradition as the Teochew Pen Chai.
The taste reflects the yearly expectations of lavish ingredients such as abalones, conpoy (dried scallop), smoked premium sea cucumbers, sea prawns, dried oysters and fish maw.
Of course, at Tao, there is a specially hand-made, proprietary Thai-Teochew green chilli paste that you must add (a scoop or two) into the Pen Chai. Try one or two scoops of the Pen Chai without it; then, add on the green chilli and be thrilled by a completely new dimension of taste that this magical green paste imparts to the Pen Chai. Try this, if you dare – be forewarned, the green chilli paste is exquisitely spicy.
Abundance of Wealth Golden Soon Hock with Mango Slices ($9.80++ per 100g).
The next dish is Chef Lee’s nouveau creation – the Abundance of Wealth Golden Soon Hock with Mango Slices ($9.80++ per 100gram; 2-day advance reservation for dine-in/take-away). This wonderful dish is borne out of his penchant for sweet and sour dishes.
The Marble Goby (Soon Hock) is a premium freshwater fish, chosen for its ability to retain its texture when deep fried. It is then dressed with Tao’s secret sauce and topped with slices of mango, green apple and onions. This dish is a rather bold move by Chef Lee as it requires culinary skills of the highest degree to deep fry the soon hock and yet retain its premium texture.
Continuous Success Thai-Teochew Curry Crab ($6++ per 100g).
Tao’s signature White Pepper Crab was rated the best white pepper crab in Singapore last year (by yours truly). Naturally, when Chef Lee presented his Continuous Success Thai-Teochew Curry Crab ($6++ per 100gram; 1-day advance reservation for dine-in/take-away), he did not disappoint.
Laden with coconut milk, herbs and spices, the huge wok-fried Sri Lankan crab is bathed in a swathe of Thai basil leaves, small green and red chillies, coriander and kaffir leaves that give this crustaceous dish its rich, spicy flavour. This is the pinnacle of the Yaowarat (Bangkok’s Chinatown) style of cooking, ladies and gentlemen.
Lap of Luxury Sautéed Prawns with Macadamia Nuts ($32++).
The Lap of Luxury Sautéed Prawns with Macadamia Nuts ($32++, for 3-4 pax; 1-day advance reservation for dine-in/take-away) is a prime example of having less is more! It is simple and yet presents your taste buds with its savoury taste and crunchy textures of the nuts. The breath of Chef Lee’s magical wok works its magic on this wonderfully simple dish.
Nian Gao Ondeh-Ondeh.
As a tribute to their diners, Tao presents them with their very own dessert creation for the Lunar New Year – the Nian Gao Ondeh-Ondeh. Chef Lee’s culinary repertoire extends to even the desserts! My Instagram followers liked its traditional looks, I loved its creativity and everybody adored its taste!
Tao’s Thai-Teochew Yaowarat Chinese New Year creations are available from 3rd February till 5th March 2015. Prices start from $32++ for à la carte dine-in dishes and $48++ for take-aways. For enquiries and reservations, please kindly call Tao Seafood Restaurant at 6844 9969.
Related Article: Tao Seafood Asia Food Review
Expected damage: $80 – $150 per pax