Private home dining has really taken off in Singapore. Private home dining means going to someone’s home and she or he cooks for you. And perhaps the most famous of all private dining is Lucky House Cantonese Private Kitchen along Upper East Coast Road. When I asked Sam Wong how he learned to cook, he replied, he has been experimenting and tinkering around the kitchen since he was 10, and after almost 40 years, he is ready. By day, he is a shoes wholesaler.
There are two rooms (both air-conditioned) that accommodate 8-10 persons and 10-16 persons. It is best to come in a group of 10 persons who are served 8 dishes. But if you come in a group of 8, you only get 7 dishes. And it is $80 nett per person regardless if you’re served 7 or 8 dishes. Dinner will take about 2.5 to 3 hours.
Not really sure you can call his cuisine “Cantonese” anymore but there is a lot of sincerity in the food. He uses charcoal fire for many dishes, including the boiled soups and roasted duck. He goes to the market and get fresh ingredients, and he cooks whatever he can find, so the menu changes daily. He hand-grounds spices and desserts using the stone mill in the kitchen. And beside the kitchen, there is a garden in which he plants organic vegetables although these days, the demand is too high and his small garden cannot supply for guests.
He seldom uses salt in his dishes and allows natural flavours to speak for themselves like in the first course of eight, old hen soup with sea coconut and cactus flower 霸王花海底椰煲鸡汤. The soup—look at how cloudy it is—is boiled for 8 hours over charcoal fire. There is no added salt in the soup, but Wong adds Jinhua ham which salts the soup. This soup may come across as bland at first, but the natural ingredients shine through and it feels as nourishing as your grandmother’s soup.
The yellow chicken (蒜香黄油大肥鸡) is my favourite dish of the night. It’s a simple homely dish with a 3 to 4-month old chicken (which is slightly older than the usual chicken you purchase at supermarkets). But the deep flavour goes deep till the bone. The chicken is drizzled with shallot just freshly fried before serving. The shallot gives a beautiful pungent, bittersweet punch to the chicken.
The shifu wild-caught steamed grouper 师父蒸大深海老虎班 is gigantic and weighs 3.2kg. It was caught off the shores of Batam just the night before our dinner. So it is very fresh. The skin is thick but has a nice, mochi-like texture; the flesh is firm. But, again like the yellow chicken, it’s the fried shallots that lift the fish.
The steamed egg with la la and crab roe 鲜蟹黄啦啦蒸水蛋 has no extraneous seasoning; the flavour depends wholly on the seafood and it is good.
The lamb tajine 金瓜黄金番薯羊肉塔津 is more Middle Eastern than Cantonese. It’s stewed in pumpkin and sweet potatoes so the dominant flavour is the sweetness from the vegetables. It may be too sweet for some as a main and I wish it could be more savoury but there is also homemade preserved lemon peel and homemade lemon tea in it, which serve to undercut the sweetness.
We missed out on their speciality, crayfish omelette, because the morning market did not have it, but we did have another of Wong’s signature, roasted duck 陶然烤鸭, which is marinated for two days, and then sun-dried for another day, before getting itself into the oven that Wong made himself. The duck is wonderfully salted and succulent. It is excellent but given all the good reviews and my expectation is high, I was just a little disappointed.
The organic (chinese spinach?) 有机苋菜炒鲜蚬 from Lim Chu Kang farm is stirred fried with la la and a dash of fish sauce with no salt added.
For dessert, the charcoal-fired red bean soup with orange peel 炭炉煲红豆陈皮甘蔗糖水 is naturally sweetened with sugarcane juice. Some people said that they cannot really taste the orange peel which is overpowered by the sugarcane. I am fine with the flavour, but I think the soup uses red kidney beans whereas I prefer the small, red adzuki beans which are sweeter and less starchy.
This is an amazing experience for us. The familiar, homely environment truly makes it seem like we are dining at a friend’s place and we can behave uninhibitedly. Wong is super friendly and warm. And the food is superb. Really enjoyed ourselves here. Highly recommended.
Tip: If you’re driving, go early and park in front of the house which allows only 3 cars. Don’t be the 4th car because it means you’ll be parking at the pavement and you will be fined. If you can’t get a lot, park along Evergreen Gardens road (beside Esso Petrol) or Evergreen Ave.
Thanks to Sg Food on Foot for securing a reservation. You can read his review here.
We pay for the food we review anonymously.
Lucky House Cantonese Private Kitchen
267 Upper East Coast Rd, Singapore 466413
tel: +65 9823 7268
weekdays dinner only
Service: Na (It’s a home kitchen!)
Decor/ambience: 10/10 (It’s somebody’s home but it feels really good.)
You may be interested in…
–Chef Kang, Little India: Should Have Gotten 3 Michelin Stars
–Mui Kee Congee 妹記, Shaw Centre: Fantastic Cantonese Porridge from Hong Kong, One of the Best Casual Restaurants This Year
–Majestic Restaurant, Marina One: Excellent Contemporary Cantonese Restaurant with AMAZING Truffle Fried Rice and Durian Dessert
–Joyden Canton, Orchard: When Traditional Cantonese Food Meets Modernity
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.