吃一口家乡的味道TASTES THAT BIND
潮州蒸鱼、粤式点心，这些新加坡人熟悉的美食，也是不同籍贯的名菜。先辈们当年下南洋到新加坡，不同籍贯的佳肴，是对家乡的记忆，今天却联系着各籍贯新加坡人的味蕾，成为共同的味道。The classic dishes from different Chinese dialect groups now form a common food heritage that Singaporeans can be proud of
桌时，必配上酱碟佐食。例如 推荐广东粤菜：老火靓汤。（Photo: 翡翠皇宫）品潮轩的五香拼盘（猪脚冻、五香枣、卤鸭和肝花）上桌时，侍应生会在餐桌上摆放不同酱料如蒜茸白米醋、甜酱等，加以提味。
他较倾心的，是“贴近民心”的荔枝肉、糯米排骨、芥兰炒猪肝等。其中，芥兰炒猪肝是福州人家喻户晓的菜肴，洪宝兴说说：“猪肝切片厚度很讲究，要刚刚好，熟度才恰到好处。” F rom Hokkien Singapore Foochow fried prawn Association’s Vice-president Hong Poh Hin mee to Hainanese （Photo: 龙国雄） chicken rice to Hakka preserved vegetable braised with fatty pork, you can find a wide spread of delectable dishes from different Chinese dialect groups in Singapore.
ZBBZ asks representatives from three dialect groups to pick their favourite dishes that best represent their heritage.
Chua Kee Teang President, Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan
Recommended Teochew dishes: Countryside free-range chicken, steamed pomfret, ngoh hiang platter Mention Teochew cuisine and most people would think of the clean and light flavours of steamed fish and Teochew porridge. Chua says: “You might call it light but that’s how we present the original flavours of the ingredients. When you use fresh ingredients, the resulting flavours are tasty and refreshing without being greasy. Teochew cooking is light, but it is by no means tasteless. It is about the layering of flavours.”
One simple chicken dish shows just how important the freshness of the ingredients is.
Chua explains: “During the rearing process, the chicken is allowed to move freely and this makes its flesh sweet and firm. The chicken is steamed with salted vegetable and eaten with preserved soya bean sauce from Puning. Simple ingredients perhaps, but the dish is highly savoury, aromatic and so tasty.”
When Chua entertains visitors from abroad or wishes to have a meal with friends or family, he heads to the Teochew restaurant at the Chui Huay Lim Club, which is part of the Jumbo Restaurant Group. Director of the Group Ang Kiam Meng is also one of the vice-presidents of the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan.
As one Teochew saying goes, “there is no banquet without seafood”. Seafood is the main star here. The cooking methods used are related to the climate of the Chaoshan region in China. As the area is highly humid, locals like to steam their prawns and fish.
Technique is important when it comes to the seasoning. The key is to accentuate the fresh and sweet flavours of the ingredients without being heavy-handed. Steamed pomfret is a well-loved favourite. This tasty and healthy dish is made by steaming a fresh fish with tomato, spring onion, mushroom, pickled plum and salted vegetables.
Says Chua: “The timing of the steaming process needs to be highly precise to ensure that the fish is served tender. This is a real test of the chef’s skills. It is said that Teochew cooking is about applying great care to simple dishes. The great care applied also makes for a greater variety of dishes.”
Another feature of Teochew cuisine is that the dishes usually come with various sauces. For instance, the ngoh hiang platter at Chui Huay Lim — which includes pig trotter jelly, braised duck and spring rolls with prawn or minced meat — is served with various condiments, such as a garlic-and-vinegar mixture and sweet fermented bean sauce.
Pig trotter jelly is a traditional cold dish in winter for the Teochews. The trotter is first cleaned, deboned and stripped of its fat. Then, it is cooked for more than 10 hours together with pig bones and other ingredients. After it is cooled, it is chilled in the refrigerator. Braised duck and goose are also typical Teochew dishes. Spices like star anise and cinnamon are used to flavour the braised meat, which is comfort food for many when eaten with a hearty bowl of Teochew porridge.
Ho Kwok Choi President, Kwangtung Clan Association Recommended Cantonese dishes: Roast suckling pig, slow-cooked soup, dim sum
Cantonese cuisine is one of China’s eight major cuisines. Close attention is paid to the selection of ingredients and the cooking process. Most Chinese restaurants overseas serve Cantonese cuisine and Singaporeans have no lack of choices here either.
Ho, who ventured into the food and beverage industry in the 1970s, had established a number of well-known restaurants before retiring. Asked about classic Cantonese restaurants in Singapore, he cited Crystal Jade Palace in Ngee Ann City, where he dines often.
Roast suckling pig is the most famous dish to come out of Guangzhou. It is also one of the star dishes of the Manchu Han Imperial Feast, billed as one of the grandest meals ever documented in Chinese cuisine. As early as in the Western Zhou period, this dish was named as one of China’s eight culinary treasures. At that time, the dish was known as pao tun.
Ho says: “For many years, roast suckling pig was used as an offering by the Cantonese in ancestor worship. After the worship ritual, the family consumes the meat. It was also a mandatory item during Chinese New Year and other major festival celebrations.”
At Cantonese restaurants, this dish is a test of the kitchen's meat roasting skills. The skin of the suckling pig should be crispy while the flesh remains tender. Ho says you can tell how good a roast suckling pig is by its appearance and texture.
If the roast pig takes on an overly-dark colour, it means that the heat applied was too strong. On the other hand, if the colour is too light, it means that the heat applied was not strong enough. The meat of suckling pigs that have been over-roasted will be dry and chewy, while insufficient seasoning will result in blandtasting meat.
Another favourite dish is slow-cooked soup, which the Cantonese say nourishes both the body and soul. In fact, a common Cantonese saying goes: “One may go without dishes but not soup”. Singaporeans, Cantonese or otherwise, are familiar with soups like watercress with pork rib and lotus root with peanut.
Slow-cooked soup is soup that is simmered for a very long time, Ho explains.
“We alternate between a strong fire and a moderate one when cooking the soup. When you cook this way, there is a natural sweetness in the soup, which has absorbed the essence of all the ingredients used,” he adds
Many Singaporeans are also fond of dim sum, another great Cantonese culinary treat that offers a spread of tasty treats in bite-sized portions.
“Pan-fried radish cake, water chestnut
Chua Kee Teang, President of the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan. （Photo: 叶振忠）
Ho Kwok Choi, President of the Kwangtung Clan Association （Photo: 翡翠皇宫）