We were bowled over by the Dong Xing Garoupa Rice, Crispy Rice in Superior Stock at Hua Ting Chinese Restaurant at Orchard Hotel in Singapore. It was simply introduced to us as “Pau Farn”. It all happens in a heated stone bowl with a small mound of rice topped by slices of garoupa. Small dishes of crispy rice, toasted flat sole, spring onions and fresh coriander are tipped into the bowl, then a teapot of superior fish stock is poured over the rice. The milky broth starts bubbling in the hot bowl, the rice becomes porridge, to savour slowly and deliciously.
“Pau Farn” is said to have been inspired by the Korean Bibimbap but with subtle flavours and textures contributed by each ingredient. There’s the crunch of crispy rice with a toasty aroma, flavourful bites and bursts from the small pieces of flat sole or chor hau yue, and freshness from the spring onions and coriander. Of course there were the firm and sweet garoupa slices and the lovely broth that was full of umami.
Lunch began at this Michelin-recommended restaurant with an elegant amuse bouche of a translucent momotaro tomato dusted with sour plum powder. The sweet tomato burst on the palate, the sour plum powder infusing it with complexity.
Steamed Bamboo Clam with garlic, ginger and glass noodles and Sweet and Sour Pork with lychees, red and yellow bell peppers (Ko Lo Yoke) stood out as main courses. The bamboo clam was perfectly steamed, the meat springy and tender, with the glass noodles soaking up juices of the clam.
The Sweet and Sour Pork had balanced flavours but what tipped the scale for us were the lychees in the sauce which gave it oomph.
A complimentary dessert was served – waterchestnut jelly and a Teochew-style pastry with yam paste inside. I bit through the light layers of the pastry into the rich yam filling. It was sublime. The Ma Tai Ko was studded with crunchy and sweet waterchestnut.
New signature dishes at Hua Ting also include Chilled Marinated South African Baby Abalone with Japanese Sake, Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Sea Whelk, Spike Sea Cucumber and Organic Black Garlic, Steamed Fresh Crab Claw with Egg White, Spring Onion and Ginger Puree and Stuffed Sliced Crispy Suckling Pig with Prawn Paste and Foie Gras.
We were in the private four-seater room at Hua Ting, and service was superb. Hua Ting Restaurant is on Level 2, Orchard Hotel, 442 Orchard Road, Singapore 238879. Tel: +65 6739 6666 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm ( Mon – Fri), 11am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm (Sat & Sun). Visit also https://www.millenniumhotels.com/en/singapore/orchard-hotel-singapore/hua-ting-restaurant/