Your reunion dinner wouldn’t be complete without this piping hot dish that is essentially a pot filled with some of the most treasured delicacies in eastern cooking, having this dish on your dinner table has been a long-standing tradition in many Chinese families and for a good reason. The symbolism behind the expensive ingredients is representative of the wealth and prosperity that is bound to be blessed upon your family in the new year. If you’re not one for the metaphor, Pen Cai is probably still the highlight and most indulgent part of your meal.
Cherry Garden returns with what is possibly the largest pen cai in Singapore, filled to the brim with everything from roasted fowl, to dace fillet, lobster, and abalone. In fact, its so big that its only available for dine-in as the main part of their “Success” menu ($158/pax, minimum of 6 pax). For takeaway, they’ve got the Cherry Garden Superior Pot, a smaller, 6-person portion that costs $408.
Mandarin Oriental Singapore, 5 Raffles Ave. Tel: 6885 3500
Jiang Nan Chun
One Michelin-starred Jiang Nan Chun has a pen cai for both 6 and 10 persons ($688 abd $888), filled with goodies like abalone, fish maw, conpoy, dried oysters, and succulent shrimp – all blanketed by a rich brown gravy.
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore, 190 Orchard Boulevard. Tel: 6831-7220
Cantonese restaurant Yan offers a lighter, more balanced option for Pen Cai with the inclusion of king garoupa fillets, lotus root, and broccoli. It’s no less luxurious though, with 18 different ingredients making up the pot, including abalone, whole conpoy, roast pork and fish maw, all braised in a hearty duck gravy. $560 for a 10-people portion.
1 Saint Andrew’s Road, #05-02 National Gallery Singapore. Tel: 6384-5585
Go all out with Xin cuisine’s Imperial Pen Cai, a $1288 affair that includes more uncommon, luxurious ingredients like entire Australian 3-head abalones, bird’s nest, deer tendon, and wild bamboo pith alongside all the usual suspects like fish maw.
For something a little more restrained, there’s the Prosperity Pen Cai, which features lobster, abalone, sea cucumber. And sea whelk with dried beancurd skin and chinese cabbage to soak up all the savoury goodness. $468.
Holiday Inn Atrium, 317 Outram Road. Tel: 6731-7173
From executive chef Mok Kit Keung comes one of the most indulgent options this year: the $700 Luxury Imperial Treasure Pot, which comes filled to the brim with bounty from both the land and sea.
While Shang Palace’s pen cai has all of the usual suspects like abalone, conpoy, and sea cucumber, the crowning glory is an entire spotted garoupa that’s deep fried and stuffed with foie gras. Other highlights in the pot include succulent chunks of sauteed lobster, and fall-apart tender goose web.
Shangri-la Hotel Singapore, 22 Orange Grove Road. Tel: 6213-4473
This story first appeared in The Peak.