Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lan Ting Cuisine and Wine - An Exquisite Dim Sum Restaurant in the East

Cantonese dim sum eateries are pretty common these days, but to get quality renditions of dim sum dishes is much harder than you think.

Between the coffeshop variants like Swee Choon and the restaurant settings of Crystal Jade, you are not likely to find anything else in between.

The thing is, the cheaper dim sum places are actually not that affordable. Notwithstanding the overhyped old school dim sum praises pasted on by ignorant social media buffons, the more expensive restaurant dim sum joints are equally guilty of churning out decent but boring plates of dim sum.

That leaves the market ripe for a restaurant like Lan Ting to fill the dim sum void with some exquisitely executed plates of hand crafted plates of bite sized gems.

Located near Siglap, Lan Ting looks deceptively like a wine bar from the outside with its English only signage and its classy decor filled with rows of glass cabinets lined up with wine bottles. Indeed, stepping inside, you are not going to be lambasted with typical Chinese muzak. Instead, a cool jazzy vibe ensues.

The decor and dining ware are equally stylish with well chosen plates and eating utensils to go along with its modern and more western setting. With all this Euro sense, the food that is served up is authentic Cantonese fare.

Peking Duck

The Peking Duck is very well priced, especially for a full duck. The skin is as you would expect, impossibly thin and crisp complete with a typical set of condiments. I would have preferred the popiah wrap though to the egg one.

And it is also missing the half stick of spring onion for the sharp counter to the fat and sweetness from the plum sauce. Otherwise, it is a very enjoyable dish.

Crispy Taro Puff

The Wu Kok, or Taro Puff is nothing short of a revelation. I have had some good ones before, but I was not prepared for this stunning ball of yam. The crust looks amazingly crisp and flaky and biting into it, it quickly broke apart with a gastronomic burst of deliciousness.

The yam filling was wonderfully seasoned with that classic Canto touch and engulfed in a heady mix of savoury, sweet and starchy. Nothing to fault really, and everything to enjoy during every bite of this superb dim sum.

Trio of Steamed Dumplings and Bao

Elsewhere, the steamed dumplings and baos were equally delectable. The Xiao Long Bao has one of the thinnest skins around and coupled with a very fulfilling broth based filling, it ranks as one of the better dragon buns around as well.

The Abalone Siew Mai is also a particular standout. The housemade wanton skin was beautifully thin that retained a sensible bite, and the tiny abalone resting on top looks inviting from the get go. The prawn and pork filling was exemplary and classic all at once.

Even the more gimmicky Mushroom Liu Sha Bao was actually quite good for a salted egg yolk bun. Not too oily, and just the right balance of eggy saltiness mixed with a touch of sweetness. And the bun pastry itself had a nice bouncy chew to it.

Fried Udon

Apart from the dim sum, their traditional Cantonese dishes are also worth checking it out. Whilst they do not deviate much from the usual path, they are adequately handled and most diners should find easy favour with these familiar favourites.

One dish that is somewhat more creative is this fried udon with bell peppers. I have had a couple of udon dishes in Chinese eateries, but none has impressed me so far. This would prove to be the exception.

An excellent tinge of wok hei lights up the dish with its more robust flavours powering and coating the noodles. For a carb dish at a Cantonese restaurant, this is very good.

Fried Rice

What was even better was this superbly executed fried rice that has a touch of bacon to go along with the classic ingredients of lup cheong and prawn. The wok hei was again evident and the true mark of a great fried rice is how each grain of rice is still singled out properly and every grain is beautifully coated with all the flavours of the ingredients within.

More than just flavourful, that combination of skillful technique and well chosen flavours reveals the true master of a chef that made this dish. I can have this every day and not get tired of it.

Despite the rather challenging location, Lan Ting to me promises an exciting culinary journey to the East. With all its cool atmosphere, the food is surprisingly very authentic and very classic. That slight additions of creativity is certainly welcomed, but neither does it try to be overbearing at the same time.

As for the dim sum, it is perfectly exquisite to the point that other dim sum joints need to learn a thing or two from. And man, that taro puff ......

Lan Ting Cuisine and Wine
01-02 Springvale
907 East Coast Road

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