REBRANDED: Paradise Teochew, Vivocity: (Hor) Fun Teochew Classics and Unique Creations

EDIT: Paradise Teochew is now at Scotts Square at Orchard Road. At Vivocity, it is now rebranded to Paradise Seafood

After Scotts Square, Paradise Teochew has opened its second outlet at Vivocity, offering unique creations as well as many well-loved Teochew classic dishes by Chef Cheng Fa Kwan.

The Teochew Style Roasted Suckling Pig ($198) is a bit of a spectacle. They literally go whole-hog here – face and feet included. Make no mistake, this is oily. And by that, I mean that all the fat’s been slowly rendered and in the process, the skin has been ‘slow-fried’ in it to a deep brown crisp. You catch that perfectly balanced spice blend just under your nose but not on the tongue. Lovely.

The Teochew Style Braised Duo Combination Platter (Sliced Irish Fat Duck, Sliced Pork Knuckle) ($26, small) feels truly Teochew-authentic, i.e., very light on the seasoning with a focus on allowing the natural flavours to shine. I especially like the duck with a little fat under its skin, and tender with just enough fibrous bite to its flesh. It’s complete on its own but if you like, a dab of the light house-made vinegar-based chilli sauce (not spicy) really brightens things up!

The Pan-fried and Braised Live Soon Hock (Seasonal Price) is one of my favourite items at this tasting. It’s so easy to mess this up. Fry it a moment too long and the delicate fish flavour is lost. But do this right and you get depth in the braise and delightful flavour layers: the outer pan-fried crispy bits offering a contrast to the soft, delicate, flaky centre like it’s a different animal altogether. There is voodoo in the broth: a chalky seafood richness that’s balanced with the aromatic lift of onions and leek and sweetened with radish. You want to add rice to this and properly soak up every last drop.

The Paradise Teochew Stir-fried Assorted Vegetables and Cuttlefish ($28, small) is no simple tossed salad. They don’t tell you this but it’s a dish requiring some expert level wok dance. You get a minute or less to work with this and fires raging so high, stock and sauces vaporise on contact with the wok. There is umami delivered in spades from the sizeable dried shrimp, strong wok-hei, nuttiness, char in places and sweet vegetable crunch. This is as tasty as it is pretty. Must order!

These days, I see deep-fried batter and I immediately expect it to be salty. But the Paradise Teochew Pan-fried Seafood and Yam Pancake ($24) is thin, crispy and surprisingly light on seasoning. You get chunks of seafood, prawns in particular, that still retain their crunch and grainy, nutty bits of yam that kind of holds everything together. The crispy edges are the best!

Another must-order item is the Wok-fried Hor Fun with Kai Lan and Preserved Turnip ($18, small). I cannot decide if I like this better or the fish. Probably this! Let me put it this way: You know how it’s possible to ‘accidentally’ sleep with a guy you’re not normally attracted to because you’re too sad or too drunk, but who turns out to give you some of the best sex you’ve ever had that you cannot talk about? This hor fun is that guy. Not much to look at but so good. You cannot talk about the guy because you’re embarrassed, the same way you want to resist raving about this hor fun because it’s not exactly the finest thing on the menu! I mean, what audacity?! Just kway teow, chai po and charred kai lan? But this is savoury, slippery, crunchy, smoky, so unexpected and totally unforgettable!

Despite appearances, the Crispy Pumpkin, Yam and Sweet Potato Strips ($16) is not overly sweet. But it’s a little tough texture-wise and I find it’s stacked a little too thick to be readily enjoyed and I have a big mouth! I have to rip it apart to eat it and to me that kind of defeats the purpose.

The Tau Suan with Gingko ($4.50) is done nicely and traditionally with no surprises. It’s less viscous than expected and not so sweet. The Mashed Yam with Gingko ($5) is silky smooth & it’s purely yam with just some shallot oil without any coconut milk.

The food is pretty good here and the ambience is lovely, whether you choose regular seating, you’re in one of the VIP rooms or if you have friends visiting and you would actually like to be outdoors enjoying the view. I would certainly order any wok-fried item with confidence. And even as I write this, my mouth waters for that hor fun.

Paradise Teochew
VivoCity #01-53, 1 Harbourfront Walk, Singapore 098585
Tel: +65 6221 0159
M-F 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 10.30pm; Sat, Sun & PH 10.30am – 3.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm

Food: 7.5/10
Price/value: 7/10
Decor/ambience: 7.5/10

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Written by Pierre Goh.

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