If you have Teochew blood flowing in your veins, the "cold fish" dish known as 鱼饭 (yú fàn) should be familiar to you. A staple dish found along the coastal fishing villages of Southern China, fresh fishes were originally salted, steamed and chilled by humble fishermen to preserve most of their precious catch. And at a time when rice was hard to come by, they had been known to substitute rice with these cold fishes to keep their hunger at bay!
This has obviously changed over the last couple of decades and fortunately for us 贪吃鬼 (greedy eaters), 鱼饭 is becoming more common in the various Teochew restaurants these days. More progressive chefs are also enthusiastic about recreating a dish that had such humble origins, and one good example is San Shu Gong Private Kitchen on Geylang Road, Singapore. We visited them for dinner recently and their owner, Roy, recommended that we give their version (made with a whole 午鱼 or threadfin, or more commonly known as Kurau locally) a try. It was an absolute stunner to start the evening with - the fish was extremely tender, flakey yet succulent with just the right amount of umaminess to make your mouth water. The fermented soy bean dipping sauce served on the side was a nice touch and a nod to tradition too.
We thought the cold threadfin went down superbly well with Champagne De Sousa's Cuvée des Caudalies Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) that was disgorged in 2008. Made from old vines that are more than 60 years old and raised in oak barrels (only a very small percentage is new), the wine displayed very very fine bubbles with a bright golden yellow colour, and exhibited plenty of ripe lemons, toasted nuts, ripe red apple flavours, and a touch of marzipan woven together by a strong mineral-driven, creamy texture. Drinking at its absolute peak window really!
One dish worth mentioning at San Shu Gong is their braised goose platter (unlike the ubiquitous braised duck) - it really shone that evening. The goose meat slices, goose webs and wings were all quite flavourful with just the right touch of chinese herbs & spices without being overly salty or gamey. The gelatinous goose webs managed to retain some of its springy texture so if you're into the flabby fall-off-the-bones kinda jelly soft goose webs, they are probably not for you. The 2011 Poulsard (by Domaine Pignier in Jura) that we brought along went swimmingly well with this dish and we drained the bottle in no time! It must have been a flower or fruit day as the wine was singing with lots of wild berries, crunchy red fruits and light sweet spices.
On hindsight, we should have gotten some of the braised pig's intestines too to see if the Poulsard can hold its fort but I guess that's a story for another time when we get out of Singapore's newly implemented "Heightened Alert" Phase 2 lockdown, hopefully in a month's time if not less! and and and #InflorescenceAsia #Singapore #ChampagneDeSousa #Caudalies #BlancdeBlancs #Champagne #DomainePignier #Poulsard #JuraWines #NaturalWines #OrganicWines #DiscoverWithMT