Every year, my aunt invites my family to her mother in law’s birthday celebration and this year was no exception.
Her mother in law is now 99 years old! She’s definitely a tough woman and what a great blessing it is for her to have her entire family (a whole 6 tables of them) come together on her birthday to celebrate with her.
After attending so many Chinese dinners for various occasions, most Chinese menus become predictable and you can’t really differentiate one restaurant from the other (except for a dinner at St. Regis which was truly spectacular). However, I felt that Tung Lok Signatures outdid itself and I thought that several dishes were truly outstanding!
The first dish they served as a starter was Deep-Fried Stuffed Scallop with Salted Egg Yolk served on Lettuce. This was unfortunately not a very good start to the meal as it was way too oily and overwhelmingly salty (predictably so due to the egg yolk).
Things started to pick up considerably though after this dish!
Traditional-style Boiled Shark’s Fin Soup with Chicken
Now, this was a truly stand out dish for me! Everybody at the table couldn’t stop singing its praises. My cousin told the restaurant that they didn’t want the usual starchy shark’s fin and asked for it to be replaced with this traditional-style shark’s fin. That was indeed a very good choice. The stock of the soup was rich, thick and so so tasty! They were so generous with the shark’s fin too – we had actual pieces, as opposed to shreds or strands, of shark’s fin and there was so much chicken meat in it too! Definitely one of the best, if not the best, shark’s fin I’ve ever tried!
Sauteed “Gui-hua” Clams with Salad Greens and Vegetarian Goose
This dish didn’t quite work for me as the clams and vegetarian goose had rather typical, Chinese-fry flavours. What I thought was good, but not that outstanding, were the snowpeas (are they even snowpeas?) which were light, crisp and refreshing.
Steamed Live “Soon Hock” with Minced Garlic Sauce
This is my mum’s favourite fish and we almost always order it when we go to Chinese restaurants. What made Tung Lok Signature’s version stand out was its abundance of garlic! It seems like garlic is always a winning formula, much like the garlic fried rice at Kuriya last week. However, the difference with this garlic was that it was lightly steamed such that the garlic pieces retained their natural juices, which went well with the sauce and the tender flesh of the fish. Whenever they serve this fish, I always end up drinking spoonfuls of the sauce, much to the disapproval of my brother and mum. I just can’t resist the lovely mix of fish sauce, chives, garlic and fresh soon hock! Yum!
Refreshing green apple juice – drink it fast before it oxidises!
Signatures Roasted Duck
What’s a Chinese meal without roasted meat? This was indeed very good roasted duck. Tender, juicy meat and crisp, well glazed skin. What’s there not to like? They provided us with a sweet sauce to dip the duck with, but I much preferred the natural flavours of the duck.
Braised Homemade Beancurd with “Bai Ling” Fungus
I wasn’t particularly impressed by this dish. It wasn’t bad – it just wasn’t outstanding like the others. The flavours were the typical braised flavours we were used to. The only unique point about it was the inclusion of the bai ling fungus, which I just found out is sometimes used as mock abalone.
Poached Japanese “Mee Sua” with Fresh Crab Meat in Rich Broth
This was another outstanding dish and a refreshing change from the usual ee-fu noodles that we normally have. It seems like a lot of the food that we had leveraged on the food’s natural flavours rather than heavy seasoning and it worked to their advantage indeed. The rich broth was robust and the sesame seeds added a nice edge to the overall flavour. Unfortunately, it paled in comparison to how tasty the shark’s fin was, but it was still good!
Once again, they were generous with their crab meat pieces which were fresh and sweet. Unfortunately, and this might be personal preference, I thought the noodles were too thick and would have much preferred the “mee sua” texture.
Chilled Mango and Pomelo with Sago
We ended off the meal with this dessert, which I have to say was rather disappointing. Somehow, it just didn’t work and I can’t explain why. Perhaps the pomelo wasn’t fresh?
Of course, after all this, we still had to save stomach space for the birthday cake and we had the family’s usual cream sponge cake with yam!
It was indeed a great meal and one of the more memorable Chinese meals I’ve had, especially that shark’s fin soup!
I’ve been feasting so much over the past few weeks that I’m never going to start on that healthier diet Jasmine and I have been talking about. Okay – tomorrow, I start eating healthy again.