Few hotel-based Chinese restaurants in Singapore boast the flourish enjoyed by Min Jiang.
Now 38 years old, the Goodwood Park Hotel-based Chinese restaurant debuted as a Szechuan eatery but consolidated its operations with two other Goodwood Park Hotel stablemates – Garden Seafood Restaurant and Chang Jiang Shanghai Restaurant – back in 2004, emerging then as a Szechuan and Cantonese restaurant. Today, it boasts three outlets: a flagship at Goodwood Park Hotel (Min Jiang), an offshoot at Dempsey Road (Min Jiang at Dempsey) and an overseas outpost in the Royal Garden Hotel, London.
Closed since March 2020 for a prolonged refurbishment that was stalled midways by the pandemic, Min Jiang reopened in October to chirpier interiors with decidedly contemporary finishes courtesy of Argentinian designer Ernesto Bedmar.
Set in the same site in the 121-year-old Goodwood Park Hotel, its dining room now features gigantic overhanging pendant lanterns, new white polished marble top, wooden chairs with calligraphy-printed cushions and tiled-flooring instead of wood. The same design theme is echoed in the six private dining rooms that also come with hand-woven jute carpets in mustard golden hues.
The menu by Master Chef Chan Hwan Kee, a Sarawakian and 10-year Min Jiang veteran, has too been updated with new items to ring in its reopening. Whilst you will still find the garden-variety elevated Szechuan and Cantonese dishes like Honey-glazed Barbecued Iberico Pork ($28), Double-boiled Superior Shark’s Fin with Yunnan Ham and Chinese Cabbage ($68), Roasted Peking Duck ($80), Spicy Popcorn Chicken in Sichuan Style ($26/$52) and Min Jiang Hot and Sour Soup ($11.80) on the menu, its Chan’s newly-created dishes with crowd-pleasing, punchy flavours as well as on-point textures that are worthy of a revisit.
It’s not common to find dim sum dishes on dinner menus but Chan makes an exception with just one item so as to give diners a foretaste of his exquisitely-crafted new dim sum collection. Also available on the extensive a la carte dim sum menu at lunch, the Min Jiang Dim Sum Duo ($8.80 per order) showcases the chef’s creative dim sum streak – unusual for Min Jiang and rare in Singapore. First, a morsel of steamed prawn and carrot dumpling in see-through crystal dumpling skin shaped remarkably like a rabbit. Then, better still, a stunning piece of deep fried carrot-like pastry with pork char siew & pine nuts encased within mochi-like glutinous rice flour pastry skin. I am rarely drawn to dim sum, even rarer to food made aesthetically-pleasing to feed the eyes. Consider this dim sum duo an exception.
Banking on salted egg yoke’s appeal in Singapore, Chan presents his Crispy Fried Pumpkin with Salted Egg Yolk and Pork Floss ($13.80), a dish that melds the sweetness and crispiness of deep-fried pumpkin with an addictive savouriness from the salted egg yolk sauce, spiciness from chilli padi and, last but not least, a meaty umami from the crispy pork floss that crowns the dish. Simply put, it’s a flavour bomb, the pièce de résistance if you will.
It’s easy to reach out for Min Jiang’s Hot & Sour Soup ($11.80) because it’s ubiquitous in Sichuan cuisine but Chan suggests that you try his Spicy Sliced Red Garoupa Soup with Preserved Greens ($18), a triumph of salty, piquant and somewhat tangy flavours in a nourishing chicken and fish bones broth strewed with sliced garoupa fillet, preserved mustard green, semi-dried tomatoes, tofu as well as a duo of Sichuan chillies (xiao mi jiao and zhi tian jiao). Truth be told this headily-flavoured broth is not for the faint-hearted even if the flavours are arresting. If you rather defer to the tried-and-tested Cantonese soups, options are plentiful in the a la carte.
I wouldn’t come all the way to Min Jiang without ordering Chan’s heartiest new dish of Slow-braised Beef Brisket, Tendon and Radish ($32/$72). Served in a clay pot, the dish is a textural triumvirate of gelatinous beef tendons, tender beef brisket and melt-in-the-mouth radish chunks braised in a mellow house-made “zhou hou jiang” sauce of ginger, garlic and sesame. It goes without saying that it pairs perfectly with a bowl of steamed rice. If you rather not fill-up on rice, there is the option of ordering the Stewed Wanton Noodles with Argentinean Red Prawns ($18) instead. I, for one, prefer the former.
While I wouldn’t usually advocate having deep-fried food for dessert, chef’s Deep-fried Purple Sweet Potato Crispy Milk ($20) is not-too-sweet and quite irresistible – coconut milk and condensed milk encased in deep-fried purple sweet potato “dough” finished with a drizzle of gula melaka syrup. Best washed down with a pot of rose pu-erh tea.
22 Scotts Road, Goodwood Park Hotel, Singapore 228 221; goodwoodparkhotel.com
© Evelyn Chen 2020
Please note that the reviews published on this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.