The first of the many to come, Wan Hao Chinese restaurant at Marriott hotel.
Now what can I say? I totally love roast pork belly! The dish is often an indicator of the standard of a Chinese restaurant; Wan Hao’s rendition was nicely done – crispy top with a thin-and-nice layer of fats. “One cube definitely wasn’t enough”, I protested! But hey, there’s still thirty more dish to go!
Although I couldn’t exactly tasted which seven spices were use, but the combination was seductive to the palate, the Seven spices sea perch fillet.
And just before you are thinking Chinese restaurants are boring and served the usual-you-know-what food, the Hokkigai and salmon sashimi would certainly prove you wrong! Just look at the thickly-and-generous slices of the fresh sashimi. It-is-to-die-for.
For the tasting at Wan Hao, only Catherine of Camemberu fame and myself was present among the five of us. And she absolutely loved the Jelly fish with cucumber. Tangy and Q, it was a refreshing appetiser.
Like the no-smoking campaign slogon which asked you to say ‘No‘ to cigarettes, I could never say no to roast duck. My interpretation of a good roast duck: crispy skin with a layer of fats and tasty duck meat. This one had it all, and say it with me, Oomph-la-la!
Vermicelli with pork fillet. There wasn’t anything spectacular but this is just one, good, comfort food, which stood out among the delicacies we tried.
Beef tendon with white radish
In my humble opinion, Wan Hao has the best Ha Gau among the four places that we tried. All of them used top-quality fresh prawns, but what made the one here stood out was the the skin; some places would do it too thick, and some too thin – it was done perfectly here. Bravo!
I actually preferred the spring roll filled with smoked duck meat to the roasted duck. The smoked duck meat lived up to its name – the very smoky taste within the crispy spring roll.
While some people found that the addition of fish roe to the top only served as an adornment; I thought that it’s fine so long the tiny orange eggs wasn’t in excessive to overwhelm the taste of the siew mai.
I ain’t a big fan of asparagus – the word alone put me off; but I had to try this translucent pretty-looking asparagus dumpling, which tasted decent.
The sea perch fillet with garlic appeared squeaky-fresh; it seemed to be flipping on my plate! The golden mushrooms and tofu were integrated with the sea perch, and I love it!
I knew it was close. I could smell it. The strong alcohol scent. You can smell it from far away. The drunken prawns were as suspected, very strong in liqueur taste; the prawns were big and fresh. I must emphasized, the quality and freshness of the ingredients at Wan Hao was really what set them aside.
Bean curd sheet filled with shrimps
The presentation of the Scallop and asparagus with spicy XO sauce was faultless. Succulent and juicy scallop.
The mere presence of duck shreds greatly enhanced the flavour of the congee. And not to mention there’s sliced fish maw, squid too! All the natural goodness in the bowl of Congee.
It was sensational. Tender, let me tell you, the whole experience: the chewing and swallowing, we couldn’t speak. There was a lump stuck in my throat; I just allowed myself to quietly finished the meat, and inside I was secretly hoping there was more of this.
I was struck in awe of the flavour and texture of the meat, this was certainly my most memorable and favourite dish of the meal. And I couldn’t bear to speak of its name, Kurabuta pork, all the way from Americaaa!
The meal was a late boomer. Just when I thought that the few dishes in front were all good, it got better and better. Or maybe they were saving the best for the last, either way, the Chilli prawns with crispy buns had the “made in Singapore” brand stamped all over it. Spicy, fresh, with the mini mantao bun to dip in to the sauce, it was a superb interpretation of prawns done in our local favourite Chilli crab. A Singapore classic.
I could not, believe how tender the meat actually was. It literally melted in my mouth – I know this phase sounded exaggerating and often over-used, but trust me, it’s true for the Beef tenderloin with black peppercorns. Oh my! I would gladly go back another time just for the kurobuta pork, chilli prawns, and the beef tenderloin alone.
All right, back to the basics. Not many places can do a mean version of the Ee-fu noodles. All of us agreed that this one was just right in terms of the oilyness and bite. Not too oily, not too dry, just exactly how we liked it.
For the first time, I was actually sorry to see the desserts coming – for it signalled the end of the wonderful meal. But Wan Hao dessert did not disappoint as well, the first to arrive, the Lemongrass jelly with lime sherbet was equally pleasing in aesthetic senses. Very refreshing, and a fine finish for us.
There was a big fan of the mango pudding among us, and he was right! I took a nibble without adding in any milk for the original taste; even eaten alone the smooth and creamy texture of the aroma mango was evident.
If you know me, you must know that I’m an anti-durian person. For the sake of sharing with everybody, I popped one durian mochi inside – the mochi was very sticky, the smell of the fabled durian king of the fruits wasn’t very apparent until I took a bite of it, and that’s when I say, Shit!
I love egg tarts, and I always questioned the fact why Chinese restaurants always do their egg tarts in mini sizes. And like the manager of Wan Hao put it, the small bite was just right, anything bigger it would be too much. Crisp golden brown pastry with equally good egg fillings.
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I must admit, I’m impressed with Wan Hao Chinese restaurant. The freshness in the quality ingredients, with the management’s emphasis on this, plus the service of the staff, were all top-notch. I’m not talking about their good service because it was a tasting session, after we finished our meal, we went down to their bakery; the staff was very knowledgeable about their bakes and was very professional.
The 31 items which we tried for this tasting session was half of their weekend brunch buffet which had 70 items, priced at $55 per head. For the sheer quality and variety, the sum is fair, will I be back? Definitely, See you there!
I entered the Marriott hotel on an empty stomach, and I left with a full one; I’m a happy man. My appreciation to the folks from Wan Hao for hosting us, and Cuisine & Wine Asia for the invitation.
Read Catherine’s review on Wanhao here
Wan Hao Chinese restaurant
320 Orchard road
3F Marriott hotel
Tel: 6831 4615
Wan Hao is listed as one of ladyironchef’s favorite restaurants in Singapore