The beautiful, each piece: Oh-so-dainty, Oh-so-refine. Almost like art, delicately crafted.
O’ my dear, I love you so. Never in my heart, I stopped thinking of you. Miss sushi, and Miss tapas: both seemed to be more popular than you, but I will always put you in the first place.
It was big, no, huge! This was, one of the many, different renditions of har gau we would see today. Essentially a har gau without the skin; the crab meat dumpling. It was prawny, with a nice bite – but crabby (no pun intended) it was not, well who cares?
Rather than an-overly-thick-skin, give me a dumpling without skin.
The well-admired Steamed Prawn Dumplings had an injection of carrot purée which only served to beautify the appearance of the har gau skin.
“We protested! We protested!”
The purist camp did a demonstration on the streets, crying for the restoration of the conventional har gau which they were so used to. But for the ladies; the boost in vitamin A. What was missing however, was the carrot taste.
The novelty. The inclusion of preserved vegetables was a brilliant stroke of art; the saltiness enhanced the flavour of the pork, which brought us to the question: why didn’t anybody thought of this before? Steamed pork dumpling with preserved vegetables, siew mai.
Now this was a not-so-simple bun that was bound to turn heads. Served piping hot, the bun seemed quite insignificant until you took a bite at it. Immediately, you would realize that you just had something very special. The bun itself was soft, fluffy and light as a feather while the fillings were so, so sweet and juicy. The Steamed kurobuta char siew pork fluffy bao, was the winner for the day.
The humble har gau did an open-faced sandwich; with shark’s fin on top. Luxury, it was, wealth, it symbolized, and prestige, it presented. Sorry sharky! Steamed shark’s fin dumplings with dried scallops and shrimp.
The tinge of pink, at the top of the tri-top; pretty and so pretty. Another piece of art we seen, at the gallery of Cherry Garden. However, the Scallop and spinach crystal dumpling did came across as slightly dry.
Truffled Essence Crystal Dumplings stuffed with Assorted Fresh Mushrooms. This, was a beauty; the translucent skin, the jelly texture, the array of mushrooms, almost perfect – but it was too large!
Prawn was the main lead, and mango was the second lead. There was the accompany of the green, hot wasabi! Netted rice crispy turnover. I held you, in my arms, into the late wee wee hour: without the wasabi! My dear, the netted rice crispy turnover.
And there was the famous XLB. The voluptuous folds, the goodness of the soup stock, everything, gushing out.
Like a peacock spreading his feathers, the netted rice crispy did a peacock effect: it caught everybody’s attention. Oh my, so beautiful, was this meant to be eaten?
And oh wait, there’s something hiding below the feathers; the netted rice crispy I meant. Ah, that’s the pan-fried chives and chicken dumplings!
Unfortunately, I was not a big fan of chives – I would leave the taste of the dumpling to your own imagination. This was, a piece of art! Why don’t we turn it upside down?
This was the umpteenth time we had a make-over of the har gau, they called it, Steamed Chinese spinach dumplings. The spinach, provided the lovely lines, just like how a painting adorned the wall. The egg yolk, provided the oomph, so, so good.
This, was a poisonous pear, for snow white. The wicked witch threw in some pumpkin, a pinch of jicama, stirred stirred, mixed mixed, and finally, some vegetarian ham.
Poof! With a wave of her wand, the deep-fried potato “pear” appeared. Crispy texture checked, mesmerizing appearance checked, vegetarian (snow white is on a diet) checked. Sticky innards (to stick the mouth together) checked. Everything was present, and OH, where’s the poison?
And we took a plunge, into the deep, deep blue sea. From the land to the sea, the Symphony of live pacific grouper prepared in three different ways. The first: we have a soup, grouper fish broth with ginger, onion and Silken tofu.
Steamed grouper crystal fish dumpling. Was this a dim sum, or was this a fish? It was both, with a twist. Brilliant it was, bravo we shouted. Grouper fish meat inside a dumpling of the fish skin. It was beautiful, too beautiful to eat.
It was not all smooth-sailing, nothing was. As much as I loved the creativity, there was a snag. The use of fish skin, for the translucent was great for the eyes, but not for the mouth. It was chewy, and slightly fishy: non fish lovers, would say, no no!
Prawn and pork, were absent. I give you fish, fish for dim sum. The very first, I believed. Let there be more, say fish siew mai? This, surely, would be a great day for all the fish lovers.
One price, one fish, for the value of three. Worthy, indeed. Sautéed grouper fillet with asparagus, no parts of the fish were wasted, from the meat, to the skin.
I have always wanted to go to Cherry Garden. And I’m glad I finally did. It was a feast, for the visual senses. The dim sum, so delicately craft piece by piece, was an art, for all to enjoyed. Creativity was certainly in the air, the adventurous use of different ingredients, the details to attention for the tiniest things, the emphasize of making it look as good as it tasted. I’m sold. Praises, have to be reserved for the savvy and charismatic executive Chinese chef, Mr Hiew Gun Khong.
Cherry Garden has the weekend dim sum ala carte buffet at $45++ per head, which has a selections of 20 over dim sum, and other Chinese food as well. My appreciation to Kelly, the PR relations manager for hosting us, and Cuisine & Wine Asia for the invitation.
5 Raffles Avenue
5F Mandarian Oriental
Tel: 6885 3538
Cherry Garden is listed as one of ladyironchef’s favorite restaurants in Singapore