A two-week-long food festival featuring Singaporean cuisine has
recently been introduced into the exquisite Chinese restaurant Si Ji Xuan at the
Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai.Named "Best of the Lion City," the special menu
actually contains not only renowned Singaporean dishes such as Bah Ku Teh (pork
rib soup) and chilli crabs but also a few Cantonese dishes that are usually well
received at Si Ji Xuan.
One of the most diversified Southeast Asian culinary styles, Singaporean
cuisine is heavily influenced by Malaysian, Chinese,Indian, Indonesian and also
Western traditions. A variety of spices and herbs are usually put into the
dishes to highlight the flavours. And what is as famous as the heavy taste of
Singaporean food is the Singaporean specials showcased in festival abundance of
hawkers who cook and sell food on the streets of Singapore. In the country, most
of the food is eaten at hawker centres or food courts rather than actual
The Singaporean dishes I had at Si Ji Xuan were not as spicy as I had
expected. Guest chef Phua Seow Han from a Four Seasons Hotel in Singapore said
he deliberately lightened the flavour so as to make them more suitable for
Shanghainese taste buds. For example, he cooked the pork rib soup with white
pepper instead of chilli,which is more commonly used in Bah Ku Teh in Singapore.
But anyway, I enjoyed the soup because it tasted flavourful, properly spicy due
to the white pepper and not as greasy as other pork rib soups I have had before.
The pork ribs were fully braised and tasted tender and savoury.
The chilli crab was a delicacy which has blended a feature of Shanghainese
cuisine - it was served with fried bun, but in Singapore it usually goes with
bread.The dish had a splendid presentation, with the sea crabs and broth in a
harmonious golden colour. The flavour was refreshingly spicy but not too strong,
and the broth was an excellent sauce for the fried bun, which nicely stimulated
my appetite and those of my dinner companions.
Rice noodles are also a common dish in Singapore, called "Mee Hoon." It seems
that the most popular preparation of rice noodles is stir-frying and the dish
"Sin Chow Fried Mee Hoon" can be found in nearly all the Cantonese and Southeast
Asian restaurants in Shanghai. At Si Ji Xuan, the rice noodles were cooked with
sliced fresh water fish in fish bone broth,which tasted very delectable. The
broth, which had been stewed with shark, chicken and fish for a long time, had a
somewhat complex taste while the fillets inside were rich and delicious.
The other dishes I had mostly featured a Cantonese culinary style; one that
is most impressive is a starter called "Summer Palace Three Treasures." It
contained a fried shrimp ball shaped like a bird's nest,roasted goose meat and a
seafood meatball covered by fruits. What surprised me was that the roasted goose
meat was accompanied with slices of mango and the meat,well absorbing the mango
juice, tasted properly sweet and succulent.
The Si Ji Xuan at the Four Seasons Hotel is a nice and cozy restaurant which
serves Cantonese and Shanghainese dishes most of the time. The dining hall is
actually not very big but leaves enough space between each table. There are some
really impressive dishwares on the dining table, which are made of jade and look
very pretty.Si Ji Xuan
Si Ji Xuan
Address: 2F, Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai 500 Weihai