Man Fu Yuan (满福苑) at InterContinental Singapore requires no introduction. The Chinese restaurant has been generally recognized as one of the best in the island for Cantonese cuisine. It is also perhaps one of the more theatrical Chinese restaurants around, with Chef Eric Neo always putting on a show with dishes surrounded by the likes of dry ice and a whole suckling pig which is the talk of the town.
It was thus a bit surprising to me that despite this winning formula, the venue underwent a makeover recently. If you visit Man Fu Yuan nowadays, you’ll notice that the tablecloth is gone and this is replaced with dark wooden tables and fine cutlery that won’t look out of place in Ash & Elm just downstairs.
Man Fu Yuan’s revamp is not just of the table setting however. Chef Eric has also come up with a number of new dishes to commemorate the new direction of the venue. Alongside traditional dishes, you’ll now find ingredients and concepts picked up from other cuisines such as Japanese and even Western. The venue has also strengthened its drinks list, with a knowledgeable sommelier to suggest a wine pairing for every dish.
I recently had the oppportunity to check out the refreshed concept of Man Fu Yuan. I’ve loved the venue ever since and was curious as to how the new direction pans out.
We started dinner with a trio of new dimsum offerings, namely Smoked Kagoshima Pork Belly Char Siew ($28 per serving for 2 to 3 guests), Mango Passionfruit Prawn ($30 for 6) and Deep-fried Pork Shoulder Dumpling ($26 for 6). Of the three, the Mango Passionfruit Prawn resonated with me the best. While most Cantonese restaurants these days put a dressing like salted egg yolk or wasabi, I particularly liked the sweet-sour combination of the mango and passionfruit. It created an extra zing on the whole that one doesn’t normally find with prawns.
Next up was the Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Fish Maw and Conpoy. The mark of good fish maw soup in my view is the quality and texture of the broth and by that measure, Chef Eric’s interpretation was delightfully thick and nourishing. The fish maw that’s included here is also not the dried type that one normally finds elsewhere.
That being said, my favorite dish of the night was the Miso Shoyu Cod ($26) with scrambled egg whites. This was the first dish I had that was in keeping of Man Fu Yuan’s new direction – Chinese but with foreign elements that come from Chef Eric’s travels. With this dish, that influence is undeniably Japanese and indeed, it reminds me a bit of how Gindara is cooked with that slippery and melt-in-your-mouth meat and the sweet-savoury miso.
One of the highlights of the venue’s revamp is the availability of several types of tea (9 types, so much that you can practically have a tea pairing with every dish). The Signature West Lake Longjing Tea Smoked Duck ($42 half / $80 whole) infuses one of the most fragrant teas available – the Dragon’s Well Tea. This tea is characterized by a delicate aroma, mellow sweetness and an enduring finish. It is believed that this tea also helps to aid digestion. The duck is then served as a wrap – similar to the Peking Duck with its succulent skin and a thick layer of fat still intact.
The Tiger Prawn Vermicelli ($14) was notably smooth and delicate, thinner than the usual ones I encounter. What makes the dish in my view is the superior broth that is poured after serving.
I suppose a meal at Man Fu Yuan would be incomplete without a dish that has dry ice surrounding it for a smoky effect. For this particular instance, it was with the Chilled Coconut Jelly with Aloe Vera ($14). This is a must-try even if you are not a big fan of coconut. I was so amazed by the coconut jelly which had such a formidable flavor that I could not distinguish it at all from the actual coconut flesh.
Man Fu Yuan
80 Middle Road
+65 6825 1008