I was excited to bring Jack and two other food-loving pals to Canton-I at ION Orchard. It has been a favourite lunch or dinner haunt for me since I first tried it.
With four branches in Malaysia, this Hong Kong establishment never fails to disappoint me with their roast duck and ‘carrot’ cake, both deserving of last-meal status far as I’m concerned! The fried rice with abalone is another great dish to share with family and friends.
In fact, when you are first seated, you will be greeted with braised peanuts; fragrant parcels that burst in your mouth, complementing their hearty porridge options.
The pork ribs were disappointing while the fried beans were not particularly memorable although a satisfying complement to rice. 4 dishes and 2 desserts, however, made us beam:
1) Double-Boiled Ginseng Chicken Soup
I salute the effort of the chef who must have strained the soup many times for a stock this intense, well-balanced and impressively clear and oil-free. Nutrition never tasted this good! The sweetness of the fish maw and earthiness of the chicken are rounded up well with a hint of ginseng, with the taste gently sloshing at the roof of your mouth and settling pleasantly at the back of your throat. As you reach the last spoonfuls, the ginseng laces your tongue with more spice but never overwhelms. This is a soup we all agreed is worth every last drop. Encore!
2) Wood-Smoked With Lychee Signature Roast Duck
Me and two friends once ordered a whole duck and ordered nothing else, let’s just say we kept asking for seconds of the savoury plum sauce! The half serve of duck is satisfying enough for four people if you order other dishes. From first bite, you will be lost in the buttery skin that melts in your mouth while still retaining a crisp. The multi-layered taste sensation of smoked sweetness and a suggestion of lychee have permeated every morsel of succulent meat. The cuts are generous and the skin and fat just add to the signature delight that keeps me coming back for more with new people in tow.
3) Fried Radish Cake and Sabah Fresh Prawn with XO Sauce
Now let’s first state that I love my radish cake and I love beansprouts when they are done well. So when a dish combines both in an addictive combination, it is a sure winner for me. The aromatic sauce is not unlike that of char kway teow. A winner with all!
4) Multi-Grain Fried Rice in Claypot
Red, brown and white rice fried in a claypot with peas, pine nuts and corn, present a healthier alternative to the Imperial Fried Rice in Abalone I normally opt for. It was a tad too hard and dry for me, but Jack and friends raved about how the crisp rice was every claypot rice connoisseurs’ dream as it had the makings of the slightly charred rice at the bottom of the pot.
5) Mango and Pomelo Sago
In a sensuous twist to the traditional dessert, this beauty was chilled to perfection. The mini, tangy explosions of fresh pomelo pulp added texture to the finely mixed slush. Risking the chef’s disdain, we wholeheartedly agreed that it was the refined, adult version of a delicious Slurpee. If you love mango like I do, you will enjoy the luscious slivers of mango that make this oh so delectable.
6) Ginger Soup Black Sesame Rice Balls
Perfect to round up a meal on a rainy day or when you have stomach cramps, it is so heartwarming, you feel hugged from the inside. From the first spoonful, the ginger’s warmth suffuses your mouth, and you feel it settling comfortably down your throat and chest. Ah…! The rice balls are pliable, not too thick or starchy and a gentle nibble invites you to the sesame goodness within. A personal favourite, will come back for more!Canton-I Address: 2 Orchard Turn, #03-14 ION Orchard, Singapore
Opening Hours: 11.00am – 10.00pm daily Written by Emily.P Photography by Jack.D