Yàn Cantonese Cuisine lays new menu spread at National Gallery, City Hall

Esquire - October 2019
Esquire - October 2019

Everything you want from a Chinese banquet without having to attend a wedding.

Cantonese food is pretty slept on. We’re not talking contemporary Chinese, or even dim sum. We mean proper dining style with Lazy Susans and shared courses that remind you of traditional Chinese weddings. Understandably so, because a meal like this usually requires a certain number of people, and the ensuing coordination of dates. But here’s why you shouldn’t have to wait for an occasion to rally a visit.

The Space
Besides client luncheon-perfect seating, there are square tables for smaller groups. Or if you’ve managed to get a cosy head count that’s in-between; round booth seats with artful dividing screens. Yàn sits just below Smoke And Mirrors in its own pocket of space and a filtered view of the Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden.

Must Try
The Fried Minced Duck Meat & Cuttlefish Paste in Egg Pancake may sound like a complicated appetiser, but it’s a straightforward bite of tender meat and slightly crispy texture that finishes nicely with the mustard mayonnaise sauce. The crowd-pleaser is surely the Claypot Wok-Fried Prawns with Fish Maw and Vermicelli and Homemade XO Sauce, because it is so fragrant and frankly, addictive. The House Special Local Lobster Porridge with Clams and Puffed Rice is a dish that tastes sentimental but presented with a literal sizzle.

The Star
Given that a good 80 percent of Singaporeans like crab (don’t quote us on this), the Wok-fried Sri Lankan Crab with Homemade Pumpkin Sauce wins by default. Also that it carries an unmistakable salted egg aroma, which 60 percent of Singaporeans still love (again, don’t quote us on this). It’s disconcerting when salted egg is not on the ingredient list, but at the same time, relieving because it’s all healthy pumpkin goodness instead.

This adapted article was originally published in Esquire on October 1, 2019. 

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