Best of Huaiyang cuisine comes to Changning
Restaurateur Caesar Song's latest creation is an authentic rendition of traditional Huaiyang cuisine.
Song has created a series of dining concepts, including Sense 8 Cantonese Cuisine, the Peacock Room and Lion. Each has wowed guests for its Chinoiserie extravagance and glamor.
The latest opening – Red Mansions – is impressive, with 3,000 square meters of space housed inside a two-floor building in Raffles City Changning. Song is mesmerized by its location on the former site of St. Mary's girls school– the alma mater of renowned Chinese writer Eileen Chang. Well-preserved school buildings, including a bell tower, and a 100-year-old ginkgo tree have been preserved as witnesses to history.
Red Mansions is located on the site of a former St. Mary's school canteen. It includes a spacious outdoor area, intimate dining space and private rooms on the first floor, as well as an impressive dining hall on the second floor. A combination of light and shadow and different mood lights varying from daytime to evening provide diners with an unexpected vibe and sense of space.
The cuisine consists of Huaiyang delicacies – a subgroup of Jiangsu cuisine – which originated in Yangzhou and Huai'an in Jiangsu Province.
It's well known for only the freshest ingredients that are sliced into hair-thin shreds.
Classic Huaiyang dishes are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Zaocha, or early breakfast tea, is an institution in Yangzhou – an early-morning meal where delicious small treats, ranging from cold dishes to stir-fries, are served with a variety of Chinese teas. It is considered a traditional cultural and social event in the city. The exquisite preparations reflect not only the laid-back lifestyle of Yangzhou locals, but also a time-honored cultural heritage dating back hundreds of years.
The menu contains an impressive array of breakfast snacks and steamed buns. Try sanding bao (steamed bun filled with chicken, pork and bamboo shoots) and feicui shaomai (unsealed emerald-green dumplings filled with vegetables and pork). Buns with sweetened vegetable fillings are also worth a try.
Xiehuang tangbao (crab-roe soup bun) is probably the best-known item on the menu, consisting of very thin dough filled with the fragrant soup. This dish is truly a delight for crab lovers, leaving the palate a sweet aftertaste.
The restaurant offers a set breakfast for 88 yuan per person (available from 8am to 10:30am daily) that includes a platter of Huaiyang dim sum, choice of cold plates, one soup bun, organic millet porridge and green tea.
Opening hours: 8am-2pm, 5pm-9:30pm
Address: 1183 Changning Rd
Average price: 88 yuan (US$13.63) (breakfast), 360 yuan (dinner)