Name of restaurant: Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant
Type of cuisine: Szechuan and Cantonese
Steeped in Oriental décor with a modern touch, Si Chuan Dou Hua at Parkroyal Hotel is every bit the posh, luxurious restaurant that you will want to take your family and friends to.
Even so, it’s not the still, deathly-quiet sort of dining outfit where the clinking of cutlery is prohibited. Smiling waiters bid you an eager welcome and there is a friendly atmosphere. Natural light streams in the tall glass windows where you can pause from your food and look out at the Chinese garden next-door.
In short, Si Chuan Dou Hua has struck the right balance between a slick, upmarket eatery and a homely Chinese restaurant that’s perfect for a hearty meal and frank conversation.
Tradition usually trumps all when it comes to Chinese New Year, be rest assured that Si Chuan Dou Hua has all the usual table staples covered, and in a grand way, no less.
For yusheng alone, there are four varieties to choose from. There’s the Blossoming Prosperity Sakura Shrimp Yusheng ($68 for 4-6 persons, $98 for 8-10 persons), which has an added crunch thanks to the addition of tiny pink prawns and deep-fried whitebait.
Other yusheng options are the Ikan Parang Yusheng ($50 for 4-6 persons, $80 for 8-10 persons), Salmon Yusheng ($60 for 4-6 persons, $88 for 8-10 persons) and Fortune Abalone Yusheng ($88 for 4-6 persons, $148 for 8-10 persons).
Pen cai and Si Chuan Claypot Treasures
Pen cai ($388 for a premium small portion for 4-6 persons), another Cantonese Chinese New Year must-eat, is also offered here. Dig into the pen cai pot and unearth morsels of fish maw, abalone, sea cucumber and shark’s fin, steeped in a rich shark’s bone broth.
What left a lasting impression, however, were the authentic Szechuan dishes like the Fortune Fish Head ($28 for a small portion, $48 for large). Do tuck in armed with a big appetite and an even bigger glass of water. Like many Szechuan dishes, the heat will assault your tastebuds unapologetically.
Fortune Fish Head
The large, tender fish head swims in a fiery Szechuan pepper sauce and is smothered with more peppercorns and chilli oil. Springy sweet potato noodles sit at the bottom of the pot. Surprisingly, despite the heat, we couldn’t stop slurping it all up – it is fragrant, flavourful and truly unforgettable.
The Sichuan Claypot Treasures ($388 for a premium small portion) is also an interesting alternative to the pen cai. A traditional Szechuan reunion item, the star of the dish is a succulent braised pork knuckle, chock-full of soft collagen, resting in the centre of the pot. Abalone, shark’s fin, dried oysters, soya chicken, and more ingredients sit in a rich brown savoury sauce.
A value-for-money way to enjoy these tantalising dishes is to order the Reunion Set Menu ($138 for two persons). These special menus include the above-mentioned dishes, other celebratory treats and chilled homemade bean curd.
Charcoal-roasted Whole Suckling Pig
However, if your dearest wish is to beat the well-dressed crowd and gather the clan for dinner at home – numerous screaming children et al. – then consider Si Chuan Dou Hua’s quality takeaways. Their Charcoal-roasted Whole Suckling Pig ($238 for 4-5kg), is superbly grilled with a crackly fatty skin, and is packed into a sturdy, attractive takeaway box.
Another grab-and-go gem is the Prosperity Nian Gao ($32.80), shaped like a piglet with two gold ingots at its side. Encased in a resplendent red box, it also makes for a great gift.
Other gift ideas from Si Chuan Dou Hua include the grand Eight Treasures Box ($88, above left) and the Four Seasons Harmony Box ($28.80, above right), which contains four types of New Year cakes.
Traditional CNY dishes start at $50 for a small portion of Ikan Parang Yusheng, $266 for a small portion of Pen Cai and $238 for the Charoal-roasted Suckling Pig. Reunion set menus are available from $138 for two persons, and CNY sweet desserts start from $28.80 for the 'Four Seasons' Harmony Box containing traditional nian gao, carrot cake, red bean with red dates cake and water chestnut cake.
You can’t go wrong with Si Chuan Dou Hua’s CNY offerings; the classics are skillfully executed, and there’s also variety on the menu by way of the unusual, authentic Szechuan dishes.
Dine-in and takeaway orders for Si Chuan Dou Hua’s Chinese New Year specials are now available, and end on February 6. Lunch hours are from 11.30am to 2.30pm, high tea is from 2.30pm to 6pm and dinner is from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.
Si Chuan Dou Hua restaurants are located at Parkroyal Hotel on 7500 Beach Road, Singapore 199591 (Tel: 6505 5722), Parkroyal Hotel on 181 Kitchener Road, Singapore 208533 (Tel: 6428 3170) and UOB Plaza, #60-01, 80 Raffles Place, Singapore 048624 (Tel: 6535 6006).
For more information or to make an online reservation, visit www.sichuandouhua.com