Chiefeater Review

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Imperial Treasure Cantonese Cuisine Fried Rice

Post by Chiefeater Luke Soon

This a review of the Fried Rice at Imperial Treasure Cantonese Cuisine but allow me to digress first. I’ve relocated to Singapore for almost 2 decades, and I feel it’s about time that I share my observations with fellow Chiefeaters. A few axioms that I abide by; there’s no need to compare similar dishes eg Bak Kut Teh, Char Kuey Teow, Roti Canai or Prata. It’s an exercise in futility as foodies growing up with their own childhood memories on each side of the strait will vouch for their own version.

For example, in my opinion, there’s no way peppery BKT can trump herbal BKT, Penang is the mecca for CKT (and lot of other foods), and maggi mee goreng served at mamaks is always an encore after late night parties.

So I’ve learnt to appreciate the differences, the nuances and what’s less obvious or available in Malaysia. Some of these dishes - and perhaps due to the high percentage of Teochews - would include Singapore’s bak chor mee, fish soup and chicken rice.

The other dimension to this is the number of Michelin starred restaurants and hawkers available in SG. It’s safe say to get good food you’ve got to shell out good money in SG. There’s not much in between - the contrast is stark. Sure you get boring consistency (eat to live type quality) at food courts all over the island state; just like HDBs - the zeitgeist of affordable housing.

But for the first few parts of the Singapore ‘series’, I’d like to focus on good Chinese specifically Cantonese food. Singapore has ample culinary options for dialects such as the Cantonese, Teochews and the Hakkas. There are two restaurant groups worth mentioning: Crystal Jade and Imperial Treasure.

And even then, both chains have their own dialect offerings eg there’s Imperial Treasure Cantonese and there’s Imperial Treasure Teochew outlets - each helmed by a different chef (presumably from that dialect - part of China, HK).

Cantonese cooking has always been prided as the epitome of Chinese culinary haute couture. Some say because they lived near ports doing trading they got well heeled a lot faster than say the Hakkas, who had to toil the in-lands.

I recall since the day we ‘landed’ in Singapore, we’ve been frequenting Imperial Treasures, and have over the decades, shortlisted just a few of their marquee outlets and within these outlets, some iconic dishes. Iconic = predictably, consistently above average for over 20 years. I can’t really compare this to going to a family or neighbourhood taichow in KL - but that’s the closest analogy

Imperial Treasure Fine Cantonese Cuisine at Great World City. We used to live nearby, and so it quickly made it into our weekly must-dos especially on weekends for dim sum. As with places you frequent weekly for decades- you’d be sensitive to how every dish tastes. For example I sincerely think this outlet does the best Yangzhou fried rice in Sg. Hands down. Such a simple dish, yet so hard to master. The Hong Kong chef at this outlet (and this outlet only!) does it so well. The wok hei is undeniable, each grain of rice coated with egg and the umaminess of prawns and char siew come through.

My bro in law from KL calls this ‘God Level Fried Rice’ - high praise coming from him - having had the best versions from all the tai chows there. For SGD25 a plate (feeding 2 to 3 pax) it ain’t cheap by any standards but it’s a staple go to every time we visit.
Imperial Treasure Cantonese Cuisine

The other dish I’d call out is their very classical take on Ginger Scallion Oil Chicken. In Cantonese, choong yau gai. Again, simple to make at home but there’s a flair here that’s worth paying for. The chicken is literally buried in scallions and ginger slices, drizzled with their secret garlic onion oil.
Imperial Treasure Cantonese Cuisine

If there was a rice-killer category dish - this would be high on the list surely. All of their dim sums are above average - which they maintained even during/post pandemic. The one dim sum dish that continues to stand out is their version of char leong. Char leong is literally a cheong fun with a youtiao or yau char kway rolled within it. Their version includes succulent prawns at the core. The HK soya sauce they use is fragrant.
Imperial Treasure Cantonese Cuisine

This is my favourite Chinese restaurant in Singapore. The depth of their menu has not disappointed for the past two decades. My daughter needs to order their lai tong or soup of the day - every time she dines here.

They’ve perfected double boiled soups and varies the type of soups (typical HK) daily. There was a time we could memorise what was soup of the day for each day in the week! But these days my daughter decided Sundays soup is the ‘best’.

As you can imagine - reservations are a must - as is typical in SG - but this outlet in particular necessitates it.

Business Hours
Monday to Friday
11:30 am to 03:00 pm
06:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Saturday
11:00 am to 03:00 pm
06:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Sunday & Public Holiday
10:30 am to 03:00 pm
06:00 pm to 11:00 pm

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Prices in RM
RM100 - RM200 per pax

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