Fresh, down-to-earth and flavourful. Putien serves dishes prepared from the heart with traces of home and heritage that linger in every comforting mouthful, as savoured
An oriental experience that will leave you in a wonton wonderland; the musttry eateries in Marina Bay Sands; and an interview with the Pong sisters
Entering the airy interior of Putien feels like a grand homecoming. Greeted by the dulcet tones of Erhu music playing over the speakers, we are warmly welcomed and ushered into a golden wood and teal decorated interior to await our food while sipping chilled chrysanthemum tea in the meantime. Then comes the food; first up from the senior master chef Lucas Lee’s kitchen is the Putien style ‘Bian Rou’ soup with vinegar. Flower-like pork wontons swim in a clear soup generously garnished with spring onions. The wonton maker here has an interesting story, as the art of making the wonton wrappers is almost a lost one—so much so that China has awarded the master chef who makes these wrappers, and he has also been commissioned by Putien till he turns 100 to only produce these special wonton wrappers for them. Each deliciously springy wonton skin is made up of pork loin painstakingly pounded and rolled by hand for three hours to sheet-like perfection with a translucence that no normal flour-based dumpling skin can ever hope to achieve. The initial sip comes as a bit of a surprise, the taste of the vinegar refreshingly tangy, instead of sour, complementing the richness of the pork wontons. As pork might taste too heavy on the palate after a while, the ‘cleanness’ of the soup perfectly balances out the rest of the savoury mouthfuls. The second dish is Putien’s one Michelinstar winning, fried Heng Hwa bee hoon. Silky strands of sun-dried vermicelli lie in a fluffy pile, abundantly garnished with prawns, vegetables, fried pork pieces, scallions, groundnuts and crispy seaweed that still tasted of the sea it came from. Unlike machine-made bee hoon, Putien’s hand milled, manually-dried-at-the-crack-of-dawn bee
hoon are chewy bundles of wonder, especially after being infused with the full flavoured stock of pork bones and chicken that has been simmered for hours. Yams are usually not the star of the show but Putien’s stir-fried yams are simply yam-my. A special mixture of sugar and fish sauce, transforms the yam cubes into heavenly morsels of crunchy goodness. The crunch from the caramelisation on the outside is a good contrast to the soft interior of the yam cubes. As proof that Putien serves only the best to their customers, they only use the middle of their premium yams, the most tender and sweetest part of the tuber. The next dish is one that could probably convert a carnivore into a vegetarian. The restaurant’s spinach in supreme stock is an upgrade from the common spinach with salted- and century egg serving. The chef elevated the dish to such lip-smacking heights that one might seriously consider going green if only for this dish alone. Tender spinach shoots were first stir-fried on high heat to lock in the fresh flavours of the greens before
The wonton maker here has an interesting story, as the art of making the wonton wrappers is almost a lost one
being stewed in a rich supreme-stock mix of century and salted egg. And Putien doesn’t skimp on the egg either. After all the luscious flavours dancing on our palate, Putien’s final dish, a herbal loquat dessert had us begging our stomachs to make way for it. The chilled Putian loquat in herbal jelly had summery, honey sweet loquat, a Putian staple, boiled with traditional Chinese herbs for a light tasting jelly that’s not only amazing taste-wise but nutritious too. As it wasn’t the right time, we weren’t able to enjoy a seasonal favourite—the yellow croaker fish. A must-try would be their ‘100-second’ stewed yellow croaker. Stewed in ginger for precisely 100 seconds, the flesh of the yellow croaker is at its optimum level of freshness and juiciness for its subtle flavours to truly rise to the forefront. Putien succeeds at retaining the essence and philosophy of Putian cuisine and it really brings depth into each meticulously prepared dish. Precision, skill and a passion for producing only the best is what truly makes their cuisine shine.
Opposite page: Putien’s coastal inspired fried Heng Hwa bee hoon. This one Michelin-star winning dish pulls you in with its belly-warming combo of salty sea flavours and crisp veggies all topped off with the earthy crunch of peanuts COASTAL COMFORT