A Contemporary Cantonese Christmas At Hai Tien Lo
Executive Chef Lai Tong Ping builds his modern Cantonese cuisine on a firm classic foundation.
01 December 2017
The year-end always brings to mind family gatherings and Yuletide feasting in the form of traditionally Christmassy dishes like roast beef and maple-glazed ham. But what if grandma isn’t that big a fan of turkey? At Hai Tien Lo
, executive chef Lai Tong Ping has come up with menus celebrating Winter Solstice and the Festive season showcasing his brand of contemporary Cantonese cuisine.
Chef Lai has spent more than 20 years honing skills in the Chinese kitchen, mastering the intricacies of the cuisine. His passion for experimentation in the kitchen has allowed him to develop a unique style of modern Cantonese cuisine.
“These days, cooking Chinese dishes is not as simple as using Chinese ingredients,” he explains. “Diners are looking for modern Chinese dishes that use Western or Japanese ingredients, so I am constantly pushing the boundaries of my cooking.”
“While I stand firm in the traditional Chinese cooking methods in my cuisine, I occasionally create fusion dishes utilising Japanese ingredients, combined with the flavour of Chinese cuisine and plated in a Western style,” says chef Lai. He points to Hai Tien Lo’s Steamed King Prawn with Inaniwa Udon in Egg White and Chinese Wine as an example of this seamless marriage of styles.
The Winter Solstice menu features a French-inspired duck confit
For December’s Winter Solstice menu, the chef created a six-course meal in his signature style, the star of which is a rendition of the classic French duck confit. The Fragrant Duck Confit with Chef’s Speciality Red Wine Sauce appears alongside an otherwise traditional Cantonese set menu of Steamed Sea Perch Fillet with Assorted Garlic and Seasonal Green Vegetables, Stewed Noodles with Crispy Barbecued Pork Belly and Tang Yuan. He says: “The inclusion of a Western classic dish is one way of putting a contemporary spin to traditional Cantonese recipes.”
He was also excited to share a new dish he created for the Oriental Festive menu that will be served during the week of Christmas to New Year’s day: the Steamed Lobster with Green Minced Ginger Sauce. He was inspired by the quintessential Singaporean dish of chicken rice. “I personally find that using the green minced ginger sauce changes the flavour of a dish immensely and when paired with seafood, provides a truly distinctive taste that complements the sweetness of the steamed lobster,” he says.
In the Oriental Festive menu, the steamed lobster is dressed with fragrant minced ginger sauce
When asked what he will be up to this festive season, he acknowledges that Christmas and New Year are especially busy periods at Hai Tien Lo. “But I make up for this time by before the peak seasons to hang out with my family and children, enjoying simple movie outings or trying new restaurants.”
The family-man hopes that this season will draw diners and their families to come and spend time with each other over his food. “I hope diners will enjoy the creative dishes and that the experience will be a memorable one.”
Winter Solstice Menu
1-22 December 2017
Lunch and dinner
$108 per diner
Festive Set Menus
23 December 2017-1 January 2018
$108, $138 and $188 per diner (minimum of two)
Hai Tien Lo
7 Raffles Boulevard, Pan Pacific Singapore