Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant since 1988
Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant is one of the pioneers to introduced authentic Hong Kong cuisine into Singapore. Since 1988, this restaurant has been always associated with good Cantonese food. Located on the second level of Carlton Hotel, Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant has 8 private rooms for one to hold private business lunches or dinners; and has a bright interior, warm ambience and an elegant dining area. Its grand high ceiling and floor to ceiling glass windows are striking combined with the beautiful curtains that give you the feeling of being in a grand oriental themed palace. This restaurant is famous for its Cantonese Dim Sum and exquisite Cantonese dishes.
We started off with Pan-fried Japanese Scallop with XO Sauce. The scallops were large and sweet naturally and seared in hot oil for just a short while so it was fork tender. Many chefs produce very tough and rubbery scallops; not this one. The crust was thin and crisp and it came with dried scallops and XO Sauce. XO Sauce is usually made with scallops and therefore the topping of dried scallops further enhanced the taste of the sauce.
I have tasted Sharks’ Fin soup so many times in my life but this Shark’ Fin wrapped with Egg White Skin Dumpling served in Superior Soup was certainly a different way of serving the sharks’ fins! In most Chinese restaurants, sharks fins are typically cooked for a very long time until the shark fin separates into needles of cartilage that look like clear noodles. The fin itself has no taste, but it absorbs the flavor of the soup broth it is cooked in. At Wah Lok, the rich flavorful superior soup was a concentrated essence of taste. Instead of letting the sharks fins loose in the tasty broth like other restaurants, the creative chef had made very thin fragile wrapper of egg white and enclosed the sharks’ fins in it. The dumpling was placed into the bowl of steaming hot broth. It was certainly a parcel of taste fit for an emperor – after all sharks’ fins symbolizes wealth.
These days many restaurants make their own beancurd. At Wah Lok, the Braised Beancurd with Crab Claw was made with their home made beancurd that was not only delicious but also of medium-firm consistency, smooth textured and had a slightly sweet flavor which was pleasant. The sweetish flavorful chilli crab sauce that was blanketing the fried succulent crab claws was finger licking. The Steamed Cod Fish with Garlic and Preserved Vegetables was a combination of interesting taste and texture. The cod was fresh and flaky and the fried garlic crumbs enhanced the otherwise bland cod. The chopped preserved vegetables gave an interesting crunch and ‘salt and sour’ flavor to the fish and the broth that came out of steaming the fish.
Kataifi pastry (pronounced ka-ta-if-ee) is a versatile pastry used in the Middle Eastern countries. In the last few years, the Chinese have started using this vermicelli looking pastry as a ‘coating’ for seafood and pastry. The best way to make yours is take filo pastry and shred it into the tiniest, thinnest shreds. The Fried Noodles Wrapped with Prawn is the next dish that I tried and its ‘noodles’ was the kataifi. Personally, I felt it was a waste on fresh prawns to be served this way but then you cannot serve prawns that are not fresh either?? Since it was deep fried, you get the crispy outside and the tender prawn inside. Apart from the above we also tried their signature dish Pan Fried Pork Chop with Black Pepper Sauce. It was like any other black pepper sauce dish except that it was served with a fine wafer like potato crisp.
Dessert time was interesting. Wah Lok is known for its Osmanthus Cake. In fact, when a good friend got married, she had the wedding dinner at Wah Lok so that her friends will get to try the Osmanthus Cake. Well, the Osmanthus Cake is a jelly like cake using water chestnut flour and dried small and creamy-white osmanthus flowers which gives the cake its distinctive flavor. However the osmanthus fragrance and flavor is an acquired one. Osmanthus flowers (Gui Hua in Mandarin) are said to promote and improve one’s complexion, health, longevity and beauty. The cake was attractive but more like a ‘kueh’ than a dessert to me. The Custard Pastry made of flaky pastry had light and not too sweet custard. It came dusted with icing sugar and a sprinkling of chopped walnuts and therefore I got a multitude of texture while sinking my teeth into this pastry. It almost made a perfect ending to my meal but WAIT…….I tried more since I am the Dessert Devil! I tried the traditional Chinese dessert made of Hashima, an ingredient made of dried oviduct of the forest frog and also known as the snow frog glands. This prized delicacy is not as gross as it sounds. I tried both the cold and the hot version. The dried hashima was rehydrated and double boiled with rock sugar and dried red dates and had a soft, glutinous texture and opaque color. I am glad my dessert did not smell fishy as I had experienced this in some Chinese restaurants. The puffy and whitish strands are basically tasteless but add texture and a touch of luxury. It is supposed to be good for the complexion, lungs and kidneys. The fragrant Sago and Pomelo desserts was very refreshing and had lots of plump juicy pomelo sacs that bursts in the mouth to release the juice.
The staff at Wah Lok was very attentive and very meticulous in changing plates etc. The manager was at hand to explain some of the nutritious values of the ingredients.
Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant
76 Bras Basah Road
Tel: 6338 8333