Masterchef Steven Ng, with over 30 years of experience, has created a new menu befitting of the beautiful and grand Shang Palace. As a whole, the Cantonese-influenced new dishes have a balance of tradition and innovation. The delicate dishes may be a tad healthy for people who prefer oily, salty, heavy-handed food.
A good example of balancing tradition and innovation is the braised abalone and pork belly 鲍鱼仔红烧肉 ($28/pax). While the abalone didn’t enhance the dish, the pork belly was so tender it dissolved in the mouth. The innovation was in the unique sauce: it was an epic journey from a mild sweetness to a mild vinegary, polishing off with a tangy aftertaste. An almost familiar yet elusive and complex taste, like a dream you try to remember.
My second favorite was the Masterchef roasted lamb shoulder 功夫明炉烧羊肩 ($98 for whole, suitable for 10pax). Didn’t have the gamey stench but had a wonderful caramelized char-siew tasting burnt ends. (Whisper to the carving chef you want the charred tips.)
The health conscious Huccalily picked crispy yellow croaker 掓盐黄花鱼 ($14) as her favorite. Although deep-fried, there was not a drop of grease on the plate. While I didn’t think it was as innovative as the rest, the crispy exterior and moist fresh flesh made this dish pleasing.
A worthy mention was the stewed lobster noodles 姜葱龙虾焖生面 ($38/pax). While the noodles could become soggy after some time, the dish evoked an emotion in us, as if we were in Hong Kong.
The only dish that didn’t impress me from the new menu was braised bird’s nest 红烧蟹肉燕窝 ($48/pax). Shangri-La made an ethical decision to ban shark’s fin in all its hotels but bird’s nest is a poor substitute because the soup didn’t have the texture and robustness of shark’s fin soup. However, since shark’s fin is tasteless, my judgement might be purely psychological.
Shang Palace’s Three Treasures: Chilled Fig Jelly, Baked Cashew Custard Pastry and Chilled Double-Boiled Red Dates & Apricot ($14)
But all in all, after sampling 8 dishes, I perceived Masterchef Ng’s philosophy: to retain traditional taste while moving on with the times, with modern healthy cuisine. I was stuffed by the end of the meal but because it was light and healthy, I didn’t feel bogged down or drowsy. A healthier option for those accustomed to Big Meat Big Fish.
22 Orange Grove Road, Shangri-La Hotel Lobby, Singapore 258350
T: 6213 4473
Shang Palace Menu
M-F: 12-2.30pm; 6-10.30pm
Sat, Sun &PH: 10.30am-3pm, 6-10.30pm
Rating: 3.303/5 stars
PS: Thanks, Josephine and Shubhra, for the hospitality.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.