The thought of Man Fu Yuan inevitably conjures images of theatrically presented dishes. The great thing here is that it’s not all for show – the food is consistently good and the venue is oftentimes considered as among the best Chinese restaurants in Singapore.
This year marks the second year since Chef Aaron Tan came onboard as the restaurant’s Executive Chinese Chef. I had tried Chef Aaron’s creations in 2019 during his debut year at InterContinental Singapore and loved it so I was quite curious to see what new things he has come up with for 2020.
The Chilled Fanny Bay Oysters (S$24 for 3pcs) was not only photogenic, it was addictive as well. While plump oysters can probably feature in any menu, what really did the trick here was the sauce – consisting of hua diao wine and bonito. I could not help but drink up whatever was left of the clear broth even after consuming the succulent oysters.
The Braised Beef Short Ribs (S$68) here is presented akin to beggar’s chicken with a large salted crust on the outside. For added theatricality, the crust is flambeed first before getting crushed with a hammer. Inside, the beef short ribs are presented in relatively thin slices with wild mushrooms, black fungus and spicy sauce. The flavor is further enhanced by the fragrance of the lotus leaf – rendering a slight herbal taste as well.
For a truly nourishing fix, the Kung Fu Soup (S$38) delights with its double-boiled goodness as well as herbal flavor – think: maca root, morel mushrooms with chicken and a rather succulent piece of abalone to top it off. For those who are unfamiliar, maca root is supposed to increase libido and fertility in men and act as a mental stimulant for both genders. This soup is served in a teapot and it’s best to drink it unhurriedly. Just pour a bit each time to the accompanying tea cup and relax while sipping this highly nutritious broth.
Among all the dishes I had, I thought the Flambeed Wok Fried Pork Ribs (S$24) had the most unnecessary theatrical element. It was already good on its own, with the citrus-y orange glaze and almond flakes giving it a pleasant sweet-sour fruity flavor. This is also flambeed upon serving though I am not exactly sure whether it would have tasted differently without it.
For a bit of Sichuan flair, the Poached Marble Goby Fish (seasonal pricing) blends the slightly spicy hallmark of the cuisine with exceptionally fragrant peppercorns and an adequately piquant salted vegetable broth.
While I still have extremely fond memories of their Double Boiled Premium Bird’s Nest in Almond Cream and Mandarin Orange, the Double Boiled Superior Bird’s Nest with Rock Sugar (S$56) is likewise a stand out with its honeyed syrup lending a bit of zest to the otherwise naturally tasteless bird’s nest.
Man Fu Yuan
80 Middle Road
Discounted vouchers and promotional set menus here