What to do for lunchtime in Singapore? That was the big question. And our friend Laurence had the answer: Let’s go for authentic Cantonese cuisine. While I first thought we would hence go to a nearby foodstall (nothing wrong with that), I was pretty amazed when I discovered the setting of Lei Garden: it is more reminiscent of a glorious last century Parisian Brasserie than the (albeit clean) streets of Singapore. And more than that: it is part of a chain of Chinese restaurants whose Hong Kong affiliates have partly been awarded a Michelin Star ( I only found out later).
Anyhow, we were set to eat a few Chinese classics, but executed in such a meticulous/attentionate way I never had ‘em before. Ever wondered how the perfect Dim Sum, the wholy grail of Dim Sum, the quintessence of a good Dim Sum tastes? You got to try out those.
The Char Siew Bao (in the back), a dumpling filled with roast pork sauce was already delicious. I suspect the sauce has even been refined with some red wine (Chinese pork bourguignon filling? :P)
The shrimp dumpling (middle) called Har Gow was filled with very fresh tasting shrimp.
But the highlight of Dim Sum certainly were the Xiaolongbao, small dumplings filled with pork meat but also with a pristine broth. The way of eating is important: the dumpling has to be put on the spoon and then poked with the chopstick so that the broth runs out (into the big spoon). Then a bit of soy sauce with ginger has to be drizzled on it. When you then eat it in one bite a whole microcosm of flavours and textures appears in your mouth.
We also ordered roast duck, which was first presented at our table as a whole half and then taken away.
It arrived back at our table sliced and wrapped in small crêpes.
The way to it eat: add a little sweet black sauce and some celery. Crunchy, juicy, luscious.
Another highlight was the Sweet and Sour Pork. It was brought to the table and then cut with cissors by the waitress. And indeed, it was so tender and juicy that it tasted slightly decadent with that sweet pineapple flavored sauce.
With all that meat, some veggies are of course also important for your conscience.
That was a really well tasting lunch, but more important, also a true eye opener and benchmark for all other Chinese Restaurants and Hawker Stalls I will encounter in the future.
Lei Garden Restaurant
30 Victoria Street