by Qian Leung
@ 30 Jun 2017
With its Forbidden-Palace-like iron-clasped entrance, discrete rosewood partitions, ornate silk embroidery, Cherry Garden, located in the cool recesses of Mandarin Oriental Singapore is a sext, hushed cocoon where time almost seems to stand still.
When you wrap your lips around a morsel of dim sum Chef Cheung Yat Sing’s creations, however, the taste evokes memories. The drunken concubine chicken dumpling was a dish Chef Cheung had created nine years ago while the hua diao (Chinese rice wine) scented xiao long bao (pork dumpling) was created twelve years ago. Both dishes, in dedication to his wife who gave him two children. The drunken chicken is a confinement food which serves to ward off cold but seeing how Singaporeans love the dish, he decided to turn it into a dim sum. “This dish is also dedicated to all mothers,” Chef Cheung shared.
The hotel also has a lot of foreign guests and to satisfy their need for the familiar, Chef Cheung decided to take two unintimidating ingredients – potato and cheese – to create a morsel of deep-fried,crispy dim sum out of it. He named it “baby honeybee” because the shape (round with a pinched top) resembles one. In a bid to incorporate some vegetables into the diet, he took spinach along with some fried garli and salted egg yolk and turned it into a delectable dish of “sunset salted egg yolk dumpling”. The translucent chewy skin is tinted magenta so that it is an alluring sight.
The crabapple dumpling, named for its resemblance to the ruby-red, sour miniature fruit is in fact a mix of crunchy water chestnuts, shrimp and crabmeat, puckered up in a wonton skin. “Instead of going where others have gone, I prefer a trail-blaze,” Chef Cheung told us.
His originality is evident in his creations; his love for his family and his craft. Perhaps as you sample his offerings, something will awake inside of you too. QL