For any Chinese restaurant, the lead-up to Chinese New Year is always a busy one, with each establishment attempting to outdo the other with uniquely attractive menus the whole family can enjoy. Be it doing a classic well or reinventing them for the modern diner, it truly is the season of eating.
In the case of the recently refurbished Grand Shanghai restaurant, they’ll be applying a combination of the two, bringing both traditional Shanghainese dishes of the 1930s and reimagined dishes in their sumptuous spread lined up for the Year of the Rat. At a recent tasting, we got a chance to celebrate Chinese New Year early – before Christmas even, with an 8-course Chinese New Year menu. Each of the dish corresponds to an auspicious saying in Chinese, and as with all reunions, we started off with the restaurant’s Prosperity Yu Sheng.
Corresponding to the saying 风生水起, signifying an overall rise in luck, the meal got off to a good start as we got to work tossing the freshly shaven vegetables (with poh chui crackers of course), along with coin-shaped salmon slices, for a prosperity-filled starter to whet our appetites. While our version didn’t include it, when you come dine at Grand Shanghai, you can also opt for ingredients such as Australian Lobster and 3-head abalone to amplify this dish further.
Next up, we were served the Double-Boiled Shark’s Cartilage soup, with fish maw and bamboo pith. Signifying 竹报平安, or safety and protection, the milky soup was thick with flavour and collagen, with each ingredient served in full pieces, making for a filling and tantalising soup that packed a punch in every spoonful.
With the Steamed “Soon Hock” fish, signifying 年年有余, or surplus every year, the fish was soft and tender, and the superior soy sauce it was served in complementing the meat well. Especially tasty was out favourite part – the cheeks, which easily came off the bone when we picked at it.
Grand Shanghai is known for its innovative creations too, and the signature Grand Shanghai Crispy Smoked Duck happens to be one of their specialties. Lifting up a cover, we saw the beautifully presented smoked duck atop a clean white plate, smoking gently while the scent of osmanthus flowers filled the air. While it isn’t exactly a phoenix (凤凰于飞), with crispy skin, succulent meat and juicy fats, this smoked duck was probably close enough to being divine.
No doubt though, the pièce de résistance of the entire meal with the Grand Shanghai Fortune Pot. Living up to the ‘grand’ in the restaurant’s name, the rich stew comprised of ingredients such as abalone, sea cucumber, scallops, prawns, and pork knuckle. It truly was 包罗万有 (full of countless fortune), with every ingredient well-cooked, and each adding its own unique flavour to the pot, making every spoon heavenly. This is one dish you’ll be hard-pressed to share!
With the meal coming to a close, we followed up with the much milder Stir-Fried Japan Inaniwa Udon Noodle, a welcome respite from the richness of the previous dish, and with generous servings of crab meat. The meal ended off with two desserts: the Pan-Fried “Nian Gao” with cane sugar, specially hand-pounded and symbolizing increasing prosperity each year; and a Sweetened Red Bean Soup with glutinous rice balls or ‘tangyuan’ to wrap up the meal sweetly, and symbolically as a show of reunion.
With Grand Shanghai’s Chinese New Year Menu, the dishes are varied and many, and promises a reunion with difference, bringing together a classy mix of CNY favourites and reimaginations, plenty of prosperity, entertainment and good cheer to start the new year on a high note.
Grand Shanghai’s Chinese New Year Menu will be available from 17th January to 9th February 2020. For more information and reservations, visit www.grandshanghai.com.sg or call 6836 6866.
Grand Shanghai is located at 390 Havelock Rd, Level 1 King’s Centre, and is open on Tuesday to Friday, 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch and 6.00pm to 10.00pm for dinner, Saturday & Sunday, 11.00am to 2.30pm for lunch and 6.00pm to 10.00pm for dinner. The restaurant closes on Mondays.