Summer Palace presents an exquisite 8-course feast inspired by imperial tales spanning five major dynasties in Chinese history, transporting diners to the ancient times.
Enthralled by the luxuriant landscapes of the famed royal gardens in Beijing, China – which Summer Palace was named after – and fascinating fables passed down through generations, Executive Chinese Chef Liu Ching Hai crafts a regal feast while still staying true to centuries-old traditional Cantonese preparation methods. Marvel at how his culinary interpretation of Chinese history unfolds in each course.
Before the meal commences, delight in the highly addictive salted egg yolk-coated lotus root that’s been sliced and deep-fried to crispy perfection. The pickled celery embraces refreshing and palate-cleansing properties.
Drunken Dong Po Pork
Chef Liu puts an innovative spin on the famous Dong Po Pork by frying chunks of breaded and well-marinated pork belly till crisp and fragrant. It is tender, positively unctuous with a good balance of fat and meat, without being overly greasy, served on a nest of delightfully crunchy deep-fried mee sua (wheat noodle) that does not deserve to be neglected.
Double Boiled Treasures Soup
Predecessor of the iconic “Buddha Jumps Over the Wall”, this nourishing double-boiled gem was said to be crafted by an official of Fuzhou in the 1800s to impress the then-governor of the Fujian province. Chef’s Liu’s rendition comprises succulent fish maw, conpoy, sea whelk, black mushrooms, cordyceps and wolfberries, steeped in a deeply flavoured superior broth.
Peach Blossoms in the Snow
The anecdote goes that when Emperor Tang Gaozong was bedridden with sickness, the early spring scene of beautiful peach blossoms in the snow lifted his mood. Heartened by his optimism, Empress Wu Ze Tian instructed the imperial chefs to whip up several dishes, among which was a simple scrambled egg white topped with plump shrimps. The emperor took delight in the dish so much that he inquires the name of the dish, to which the Empress remarked “Peach Blossoms in the Snow – just as you saw in the window.”
Beautiful as a painting on a plate, Chef Liu’s interpretation of the tale harmonises the rich creamy texture of scrambled egg whites with succulent sweet chunks of lobster, crowned with ribbons of conpoy (dried scallop) fragments. This triumphant creation will win many hearts, as it has won mine.
Fried Lamb Loin with Spicy Sauce
Chef Liu tosses slices of lamb loin in an intensely flavoured spicy black bean garlic sauce that penetrates deeply into the meat, masking the inherent gamey lamb odour. I was immediately impressed by the sheer tenderness of it.
This dish was said to have been created by accident when enemies attacked Yuan Emperor Kublai Khan unexpectedly while his chefs were in the midst of preparing his favourite meal of double-boiled mutton. Short of time, the imperial chefs stir-fried the mutton speedily with a touch of basic spices to relieve his hunger.
Deep-Fried Imperial Beancurd in Claypot
Arriving in a claypot are tender nuggets of sesame seed-studded homemade tofu that are stuffed with century egg and diced water chestnuts that add a crunch, laid on a bed of judiciously seasoned spinach.
This dish was inspired by Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang who was the son of a poor farmer and beancurd seller. As a child, he once begged for food from a restaurant and was given stuffed beancurd, which left a deep impression on him. He loved the dish so much that when he became emperor after leading a peasant revolt against the Mongol-ruled Yuan dynasty, he invited the restaurant cooks to become his imperial chefs.
Tea-Smoked Soy Chicken
Smoked in a wok with brown sugar and fragrant jasmine tea leaves, this version of soy chicken was first made famous by Zhou Gui Sheng, an entrepreneurial official from Jiangsu province who decided to introduce his hometown cooking methods to Guandong after he lost his posting in a revolution. He improved on existing soy chicken recipes in the province to create a new dish that grew increasingly popular.
Chef Liu lays out chicken pieces and accompanying components to illustrate a phoenix spreading its wings –a striking presentation fit to serve the royalty. The chicken is tender, juicy and exudes a subtle floral aroma. It is great on its own, but don’t be shy to add a smidgen of Summer Palace’s XO sauce for bolder flavour.
Longevity Noodles with Sea Cucumber and Abalone
A visually enticing dish comprising silky smooth strands of longevity noodles topped with abalone and sided with a springy stuffed sea cucumber –a culinary retelling of Emperor Qianlong’s encounter with an old woman at the beach who drank a secretly-guarded recipe of Abalone and Sea Cucumber wine daily for longevity.
Lychee Ice Cream with Bird’s Nest
Reflecting famous Imperial Concubine Yang Gui Fei’s delicate beauty and love for the seasonal lychee, this faultless dessert combines the fruity sweetness of lychee with the mild flavours of the lavish bird’s nest harmoniously. The smooth luscious lychee ice cream is a joy to have. Bringing up the flavour profile up a notch, this dessert is enlivened with candied orange peel.
This luxurious 8-course feast is priced at $1080++ for a table of 10 ($108++ per person), available for dinner on Mondays to Sundays, and lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
For reservations, call or email .
Level 3, Regent Singapore
1 Cuscaden Road, Singapore 249715
Lunch: 12pm – 2.30pm (Mon-Sat), 11.30am – 2.30pm (Sun)
Dinner: 6.30pm – 10.30pm daily