Dragon Phoenix was started by Ipoh-born Chef Hooi Kok Wai, one of the four 'Heavenly Kings' of Singapore's restaurant scene in the 1970s . He, together with Chefs Sin Leong, the late Tham Yu Kai and the late Lau Yoke Pui, introduced the "yusheng" (that raw fish dish which has become an indispensable Chinese New Year staple in Singapore & Malaysia) back in 1963. Chef Hooi first came to Singapore at the age of 16 to join his father, a noodle-maker. At 18, he started cooking at The Cathay - then the best Chinese restaurant in town - where he met and became firm friends with the other three chefs. In 1963, they left the restaurant and each chef opened his own eatery, which became the biggest venues for wedding banquets in Singapore in the 1970s. Chef Hooi's restaurant, Dragon Phoenix, started in Maxwell Road and is now in Novotel Clarke Quay hotel.
Very tasty consomme derived from slow-boiling chicken and Chinese herbs.
The chicken was prepared Cantonese-style: marinated in Chinese white wine or "pak chau" (白酒), before being roasted. One of the best renditions I'd tasted in Singapore.
I didn't quite like Dragon Phoenix's rendition, which had a chewier texture than I'd have liked, and not as subtle in flavours as the version served at Taste Paradise @ ION Orchard.
This dish was invented by Chef Hooi in the 1960s and practically copied by virtually all other Chinese restaurants in Singapore since then. The mashed yam had a light texture, cloaked with a crisp crust. It's filled with braised prawns, cashewnuts, carrots, red & green peppers, fresh bamboo shoots, shitake mushrooms and celery - very tasty.
Very fresh, crisp "kai lan" greens, wok-fried with finely-chopped garlic to perfection.
After 4 decades, the cooking here still holds its own against newer, flashier competitors in town.
Service was one of the best we'd received in any Chinese restaurant in town.
Dragon Phoenix Restaurant
#06-00 Novotel Clarke Quay
177A River Valley Road
Tel: +65 6238 0110