Chinese New Year tasting: Yan restaurant at National Gallery, Singapore 178957

I like how we had Christmas festivities just a month back and then lunged straight into Chinese New Year celebrations with glee. Another round of feasting and gatherings? Bring it on! It was quite odd to be back in Singapore celebrating both again when I was MIA for last year's (on Machu Picchu for Xmas and Rio carnival for CNY). And even though we celebrate CNY every year, each year differs from one another by just a bit. Partners change, relatives get reshuffled, babies are born and more raw fish salads are being tossed.

Of course, Chinese New Year lunches/dinners are the epitome of the season (for some reason, even more so than Christmas/New Year). And this is where Cantonese fine dining restaurant Yàn at the really beautiful National Gallery comes in with their 8 CNY menus that ranges from S$118++ to S$198++ per pax. These menus are available from now till 11 Feb 2017.

Here's an example of a menu which we had the chance to try (all dishes save the crab meat broth and grouper fillet). This is in my opinion is a really value-for-money menu as we were just a tad full after the meal but not overly stuffed.

Here are the photos of the food we had. The Yu Sheng aka Chinese New Year salad was probably the most impressive of the lot with the gold flakes and huge dish. The fried lobster pieces were generous and something different from the usual salmon. We tossed them all - my first yusheng for the year so HUAT!

My favourite however was the roasted suckling pig (which is available ala carte at S$124 and needs to be ordered one day in advance). It's first served as crispy skin before being made into another two ways.

Yummy. The slightly sweet, pillowy flat white bun was the ultimate companion for the skin. 

The suckling pig was also served as carved shoulder and oven-baked with lemongrass. Truth to be told, I couldn't really tell the difference between the two. I was however glad that all the meat didn't go to waste.

We also had the braised 2-head abalone with a bit of broccoli. Did you know why abalones are counted by "heads"? What I heard was they try to stuff it into a jar that apparently is about 500g. So if you can stuff two in there it means each is about 250g. So confusing! Whatever it is, the higher the number the smaller it is. It also means that a 2-head abalone is about 250g each, and the max the abalone can get is one head (500g). Whatever it was, it felt like I was eating a very luxurious piece of sea steak! This was probably my second favourite dish.

Then the chicken in two ways, which I didn't really care for as the Szechuan 'bon bon' flavour as described was hardly perceptible from the roasted chicken. While the bird wasn't dry, I thought it could have benefited from a heavier hand.

And of course, being a Chinese meal means you have to have some carbs at the end to ensure you don't go hungry at the end (just to make sure). The wok-fried mee sua in this case was done well, and we were warned beforehand that it will not taste like mee sua. Fine by me! Though it was a tad wet.. if there's more of a wok hei, it would have been better. 

I liked the desserts as well because this is where the 'modern' part comes in strongly. Nian Gao, or sweet sticky rice cake, is a traditional dessert that we will have during Chinese New Year. Over at Yan, it's been reinterpreted as thin slices with desiccated coconut. It was really good this way as it was not nauseatingly too much!

The chilled mango cream with vanilla ice cream in a coconut with oats was also a refreshing treat to round up the meal. Slight gripe had to be the slightly sour mango cream, and if only it was coconut ice cream instead. But still a great modern dessert.

While I can't say the chicken nor the remainder of the suckling pig was awesome, the rest of the dishes were above average. The menu might look expensive, but if you think about all the ingredients and work that goes into it and the fact that during CNY all set menus are similarly priced, then I'll say Yan is a good option to bring clients or family to. Hurry before it ends next week! 

1 St Andrew's Rd, National Gallery, Singapore 178957
+65 63845585
11.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm

Thanks to Food News PR and Yan for the invite!

By the way, do join me on the new Pepo App's "Singapore Foodies" chat group where we chat about where to eat in Singapore, and delicious #foodporn photos! 

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