Whopping Good Time At Wo Peng Cantonese Cuisine 和平宴!
I was pretty excited about the media invite on 7th January 2016 to taste Chef Julian Tam’s Chinese New Year offerings. I have seen some promotions of Wo Peng on Groupon deals and they were always sold out. This was a great chance for me to get acquainted with some of Chef Tam’s signature dishes as well as some bloggers and foodie instagrammers.
According to the Teasenz, this is not only a tasty beverage, but a healthy one too:
A ‘heavenly’ rare flower tea that is grown only in the Kunlun mountains, where slow flower growth results in a delicious flower taste with notes of caramel and dark red tea liquor. Snow Chrysanthemum flower tea contains high amounts of amino acids and proteins, which are beneficial to your health by lowering blood sugar, reducing high cholesterol, and preventing heart diseases.
In 2011, Snow Chrysanthemum flower tea prices suddenly increased to over 3000 USD per KG due to high demand while supply fell short.
Snow Chrysanthemum Tea Origin
Snow daisy is produced in the alpine region of the Kunlun Mountains in Xinjiang. This flower tea mainly grows at high altitudes on the cliffs and only blooms once a year in August. Snow chrysanthemum tea is rare because it only has a very short blooming season and a very small yield. It’s the only wild Chrysanthemum in the world that grows at high altitudes. This makes this tea really hard to pick, because farmers have to go up the mountains during the harvest season. Thus, it’s pricey but definitely worth all the health benefits that you can enjoy while sipping a cup of this flower.
Health Benefits of the Snow Chrysanthemum Flower
Due to 18 kinds amino acids (and 15 kinds of trace elements), researchers claim that it can prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, coronary heart diseases, inflammation, colds, and insomnia when consumed in form of tea. Wild Kunlun snow daisy has been passed down from generation to generation as a Uighur medicinal herbal flower tea.
How to Brew Xue Ju Hua Cha
Use water with low hardness and steep this flower tea at boiling temperature. A transparent glass or teapot would be the best to observe the flowers and tea liquor. The tea is ready when the liquor color turns slightly red (I think *deep orange or saffron is a accurate description). Compared to most flower teas, this Snow Chrysanthemum tea can be steeped for many brews, while maintaining its intense mellow sweet taste. To preserve the taste and aroma, store it in a dry and clean place.
I did a double take when reading “Peach Resin”. Mark asked, “Isn’t resin a kind of plastic material or sap of tree???”
Peach resin also known as “peach blossom tears” is peach tree’s secretion of resin or amber-coloured gum. Apparently, it is a common Chinese “medicinal” ingredient said to be rich in amino acids, collagen, galactose, rhamnose, etc… etc… The Chinese believes that peach resin has blood lipid, and thus consuming it can relieve stress. I don’t know how long this peach resin has been used in Cantonese or for that matter Chinese cuisine, but this is the first time I have heard and tasted it so to me, at least, herein lies the modernity Chef Julian is incorporating something “new” in his traditional menu!
Did the menu say cod fish? I have never seen a whole cod fish served. We usually have fillet or steaks since the cod (银鳕鱼) is huge! The texture of this wild cod was firmer than expected without the silky smooth bias similar to that of a gindara I had foolishly assumed. The flesh tasted very much like that of a big garoupa’s (斑鱼), firm and slightly coarse, but not in an unpleasant way. You may not be familiar but an “authentic” Chinese diner would know that a whole fish must be served with together with its head and tail intact! The person who eats the head will also eat the tail so that everything s/he does has head and tail (有头有尾), a Chinese idiom meaning “I started, so I’ll finish; to carry something through to the end; no loose ends, has conclusion.”
The first helping of Poon Choi consisted the top layers of prized ingredients as shown in the photo above. After eating those, we probed the pot and discovered roasted pork, pig’s skin, daikon, nappa cabbage, dried shrimps, etc… etc… which, although are pedestrian ingredients, they played a crucial role in overall flavour enhancement, sealing the basin cuisine with a crescendo of umami notes. By then, I was yearning for steamed rice to slurp up the delectable gravy.
Master Chef Julian Tam is a culinary master in Hong Kong-style cuisine. He began his career at the tender of of 17 which he later embark on a 9-year apprenticeship programme in a renowned culinary school in Canada. He has worked at Hong Kong’s esteemed Kowloon Club and illustrious Yung Kee Restaurant during the 80’s and moved back to Canada in 1989. He is currently based in Singapore running two restaurants Wo Peng Cuisine Furama and Wo Peng Cantonese @ myVillage.
“At Wo Peng, our philosophy is simple. We cook with love, joy and harmony.”
Chef Tam is the man behind Wo Peng Cuisine. He is also the first to introduce the famous traditional festivity “Hong Kong Wei Cun Poon Choy” dish into Singapore’s food scene as well as making it available daily his restaurants’ menu. The Poon Choi was definitely a crowd pleaser and if you aren’t planning on cooking during this CNY, you might just want to check out Wo Peng’s value-for-money CNY take-outs!
CNY Set Menu for Take Out:
$298 for 5 pax or $528 for 10 pax includes four dishes:
Wo Peng Poon Choy Braised Australian Abalone w/ Dried Assorted Seafood in Casserole
Prosperity Crispy Fish Skin, Vegetarian Salmon Yu Sheng
Wok-Fried Glutinous Rice w/ Assorted Chinese Sausages
Deep-Fried Red Bean Pan Cake
Poon Choy for Take Out (FREE STAINLESS STEEL TREASURE POT!)
$228 for 5 pax (Usual Price $298)
$428 for 10 pax (Usual Price $568)
What I liked best from this tasting were the Yu Sheng sans the mock salmon. I’ll definitely use sashimi grade fish or canned abalone to top up to their freshly prepared crisp rainbow salad. The next dish, which is also what everyone at the table agree, was the Poon Choi – strip-teasing our tongues. The next dish I enjoyed was the Superior Chicken Soup with Almond, simple yet steeped in robust flavours! The least favourite of the banquet was the Liu Sar Bao – I don’t know if our photography had taken too much time, the luke warm baozi had become a little harden and the salted egg yolk custard didn’t quite match up to those I have had in other establishments. That said, the amicable Chef Julian, the impeccable wait staff and May, the trendy bloggers at my table together with reliable Mark, my makan partner for the night, were such good spots I had a Whopping Good Time At Wo Peng Cantonese Cuisine 和平宴! Thanks to Hazel Hearts for the invite!
Wo Peng Cuisine @ Furama City Centre
Address: 60 Eu Tong Sen St,
Tel: (+65) 6534 2282
Operating hours: Daily
Lunch: 11.30am – 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm – 10.30pm
Wo Peng Cantonese @ My Village At Serangoon Garden
Address: #02-01, 1 Maju Avenue,
Tel: (+65) 6634 7666
Operating hours: Daily
Lunch: 11am – 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm – 10.30pm
Happy eating and bonding 🙂
Info credit for Snow Chrysanthmum Flower Tea, Teasenz: