It’s almost that time of the year again on the Chinese culinary calendar which will get many people excited and gives them something to look up to. The Dragonboat Festival ranks second after Chinese New Year, but it is still a big thing in my family as we would normally make our own dumplings at home or purchase from reputable shops and restaurants.
This year, I had the opportunity to taste an array of mouth-watering rice dumplings from Park Palace, a Cantonese restaurant at Grand Park City Hall hotel where they introduce three new rice dumplings to celebrate the Dragonboat Festival (端午节).
Singaporeans love local food, and there’s certainly a lot to love. The most familiar and well-loved dishes in Singapore are likely Chicken Rice, Chilli Crab and Bak Kut Teh. The culinary team at Park Palace will be introducing three new “Singaporean” rice dumplings this year, in addition to their traditional Hong Kong style Guo Zheng Zhong Dumpling which is back by popular demand.
Hainanese Chicken Rice Dumpling served with Minced Ginger and Spicy Chilli Sauce (海南雞飯粽 $8.80)
Making the first entrance is Master Chef Chan Kung Lai’s take on the highly popular hawker favourite – Hainanese Chicken Rice. The dumpling is a remake of the chicken rice dish by marinating the raw glutinous rice with garlic, onions, ginger, pandan leaves and lemongrass before dry-frying, and infusing the ingredients flavours into the rice.
The glutinous rice is then stuffed with tender steamed chicken thigh meat and wrapped in bamboo leaves before leaving it to boil in chicken stock for four hours.
I was able to taste the crowd-pleasing flavours of the local chicken rice in a dumpling and not missing out the house-made dipping sauce of zingy chilli and spicy ground ginger with chopped chives. At $8.80 per dumpling, the price of this novel creation is very affordable as compared to most five star hotels’ restaurants.
Singapore Chili Crab Dumpling (星洲辣椒蟹粽 $8.80)
Second in command, a lip-smacking combination of shredded crab meat and whole claw stuffed in a soft, pillowy dumpling makes this rice dumpling a must-try for seafood aficionados.
Everybody has their own way of eating chilli crab, but for this unique chilli crab rice dumpling, I would recommend you to drizzle the chilli crab sauce over the dumpling or simply dip the dumpling into the gravy with wisps of egg white and crab meat to discover new tastes.
The new Singapore Chilli Crab rice dumpling is also priced friendly at $8.80 a dumpling.
Bak Kut Teh Dumpling (古早肉骨茶粽 $12.80)
Another well-liked hawker favourite is this Bak Kut Teh rice dumpling featuring a whole, juicy and meaty pork rib jutting out of the glutinous rice. The pork rib has been lovingly simmered for two hours in a broth with over ten spices and Chinese herbs like wolf berries and “dang gui” are used as key ingredients for the herbal kick.
A bowl of bak kut teh is served together with the dumpling, you can either savour on its own or drizzle over the dumpling, however I dipped the dumpling into the broth after finding it a little dry and tasted somehow separated without the meat inside the flavourful pork bone tea.
Nevertheless, this Bak Kut Teh rice dumpling is still a good take on the iconic Singapore dish and its priced at $12.80 per dumpling.
Traditional Hong Kong Guo Zheng Zhong Dumpling (香港粿蒸粽 $18.80)
Diversity and authenticity are the key that Park Palace is trying to attract guests from different generations over a shared table. Making sure that there’s a favourite dumpling for everyone, this hearty traditional Hong Kong-style rice dumpling will be a favourite for those hitting middle age and older generation.
True enough, I liked this wildly fragrant and flavoursome traditional “bak chang” generously stuffed with ingredients such as roast duck, roast pork, dried chestnuts, salted egg yolk, lotus seeds, dried shrimp, dried scallop, chinese mushroom and green beans.
Oh did I just disclosed my age range (I’m not that old) when I said I liked the traditional rice dumpling. But of course, I enjoyed the other three Singaporean rice dumplings, especially the Hainanese chicken rice is definitely another unforgettable favourite.
You can savour these unique festive creations from 18 May 2015 to 20 June 2015. All dumplings can be available for dine-in, as well for take-aways. Pre-orders can be made through phone (Tel: 6432-5543) or email (park email@example.com). All prices stated are subject to prevailing GST (for dine-in and takeaway) and 10% service charge (for dine-in).
Park Palace – Grand Park City Hall
Address: 1- Coleman Street Singapore 179809
Nearest MRT: City Hall (EW13/NS25)
Tel: (65) 6336 3456
Opening Hours (Daily)
Lunch: 11:30am to 2:30pm
Dinner 6:30pm to 10:30pm