Rediscovering forgotten traditions with Old Hong Kong restaurant
The Winter Solstice Festival, which was traditionally an important Chinese festival is on the 21st of December but Christmas seems to have stole its limelight. Rediscover this lost tradition by making a trip down to Old Hong Kong restaurant for a traditional Chinese meal and get back in touch with your roots.
Just like the rest of the world, Christmas fever has hit Singapore too as Singaporeans are now all frantically making preparations for the big day on the 25th of December. In fact Christmas is so big in Singapore that despite its predominantly Chinese population, Singaporeans seem to have forgotten about another important Chinese festival altogether. You are probably scratching your head in bewilderment now thinking that Chinese New Year is still 2 months away but no, I am not referring to Chinese New Year. The forgotten festival that I am talking about is the Winter Solstice Festival which falls on the 21st of December this year.
The Winter Solstice Festival
The Winter Solstice Festival is based on the traditional ideas of yin and yang whereby yin represents darkness and yang symbolises warmth. The Winter Solstice Festival is believed to be the time whereby yang takes over yin and thus symbolises hope for the future. While the importance of this traditional festival seems to have eroded in Singapore, it’s still very much a highly significant occasion in other countries like China and Hong Kong whereby the festival is almost as big as Chinese New Year. Traditionally, families come together during the festival to eat dumplings and tangyuan in a sort of reunion dinner.
Old Hong Kong Restaurant
While much of Singapore seems to have forgotten about this traditional Chinese festival, Old Hong Kong restaurant certainly hasn’t. The restaurant has 6 branches spread out across Singapore and its flagship store is conveniently located in the Central Business District at Raffles City. The 6 branches all have different themes but all of them place a strong emphasis on Chinese culture and traditions. Menus are customised according to festivities and the restaurant is open throughout the year. I was fortunate to be invited to their flagship store, Old Hong Kong Legend on the 11th of December for a media food tasting event.
Old Hong Kong Legend places an emphasis on fine dining and thus the restaurant is decorated accordingly. The restaurant elicits an elegant and oriental vibe due to its exquisitely designed tableware and interior. The current menu is designed with the Winter Solstice Festival in mind. We were treated to a total of 5 dishes and here is our verdict on them.
Review of the food
The name of the tea says it all and plum tea tastes very similar to plum juice. Cold and sweet with a sour aftertaste, plum tea was definitely effective in whetting our appetites for the rest of the meal.
Legend Stewed “Dong Bo” Meat
The meat was bathed in a rich dark sauce and was served together with a piece of traditional Chinese ‘bun’. The texture of the meat is smooth and not oily unlike most other meats. The sauce is sweet and light with a silky smooth texture. The bread skin is smooth and when eaten together with the meat, provides a winning combination.
Nine Kinds of Dried Seafood, Meat and Vegetable
Comprised of 9 dishes which are usually served separately, Old Hong Kong has combined these 9 dishes into one collective dish. Comprising of 9 different types of seafood, meats and vegetables, the dish contains a wide assortment of dishes ranging from wanton and mushrooms to abalone and fishmaw. Served in a large pot, the dish is bathed in abalone sauce and caters to 4 to 10 people. Priced at only $28, this dish is highly recommended for family dinner as it is very much worth the money. Plus, it is quite fun to try to locate all 9 dishes inside the giant pot. Unfortunately, you can’t order this dish if you want to take-away.
Old Hong Kong Legendary Red Garoupa with Golden Mushrooms
Elegantly presented, this dish contains red garoupa, Japanese golden mushroom and green vegetables served together with spicy XO sauce. The rather unusual combination yields a rather surprisingly unique but delicious taste.
Okinawa Brown Sugar Rice Ball
This classic Chinese dessert comprises of a brown sugar rice ball surrounded by a pool of red bean paste. Both the sesame paste inside the rice ball and the red bean is not too sweet. The red bean in particular has a rather interesting taste unlike the typical taste associated with red bean. This dessert is traditionally used as an offering to ancestors or as a gift to friends and family during the Winter Solstice Festival.
In conclusion, Old Hong Kong Legend is a good choice for a family dinner. Reasonably priced, the restaurant exhibits a lovely oriental ambience and the food is delicious. Furthermore, it is a great place to indulge in Chinese culture and rediscover lost traditions. So, why not gather your family together for a trip down to Old Hong Kong to partake in the Winter Solstice Festival and help to preserve the significance of this important occasion which is fast becoming forgotten in rapidly westernising Singapore. Alternatively, you can just visit any Old Hong Kong restaurant on any day if you want to indulge in some quality Chinese food at an affordable price.