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[Singapore] Retro Cantonese Dinner at Dragon Phoenix, Liang Court

klyeoh | Mar 26, 201502:32 AM

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.

Soup of the Day (Herbal chicken)

Very tasty consomme derived from slow-boiling chicken and Chinese herbs.

Crispy-skinned roast chicken

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.

Kyoto Pork Ribs

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.

Yam Basket with Prawns

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.

Wok-fried "kai lan" with garlic

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
Liang Court
177A River Valley Road
Singapore 179031
Tel: +65 6238 0110

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