Mother’s Day is just round the corner. If you are looking for a restaurant to bring your mother for a nice treat, why not consider TAO Seafood Asia?
The restaurant’s head chef, Chef Lee Tong Kuon, came up with a special “Mrs Lee’s Favourites” for Mother’s Day which will be available for dine-in from 1 May to 31 May 2015.
If you find Chef Lee’s name familiar, that’s because he was the former executive chef and co-owner of public-listed Thai Village Restaurants group. He retired in 2012, but made a comeback recently with the opening of TAO Seafood Asia, managed by his son, Adrian Lee, serving Chef Lee’s signature Thai-Teochew cuisines.
Mrs Lee’s favourites refer to the favourite dishes of Chef Lee’s wife which he cooks for her at home. The Lees appear to be a close-knitted family, hosting the Mother’s Day tasting together:
The special menu came about at the request of Adrian for his father to share the lovely dishes he cook for his wife at home with their customers at TAO.
Brushing off Adrian’s initial idea with amusement, Chef Lee was, ultimately, convinced by Mrs Lee to do a few rounds of internal tastings with the TAO team for their feedback. To his delightful surprise, his home cooked meals impressed the TAO’s kitchen and service teams with its pure and simple elegance in taste.
Thanks to Mrs Lee, we will get to savour her favourites, TAO Pig Trotters with Sea Cucumber, Claypot Braised Chicken and Abalone with Rice Wine and Chef Lee’s Homestyle Wok Fried Prawns:
Though Chef Lee is trained in Thai-Teochew cuisine professionally, he remains a Hakka at heart and this is evident in his style of preparation with the pig trotters dish. His family’s traditional recipe calls for fresh ingredients, Hakka rice wine and most of all, great patience and precision in the braising process. The naturally rich-in-collagen sea cucumber breed must be from the Philippines, the collagen-endowed pig trotters must be fresh, fleshy and thick in build, the Hakka rice wine must be fermented well and pungent before chef Lee stir-fries the choice selections over a high-fire stove and braised it in a claypot (used mostly for brewing Chinese medicines) over slow-fire for about three hours.
Chef Lee says the secret to a pot of aromatically-sweet yet distinguishably-savoury Hakka pig trotters is the precise control of the heat at different phases of the braising process. Too high a temperature and it will ruin the texture of the sea cucumber and the direct opposite will compromise the overall taste of the pig trotters, as the less-than-desired heat does not allow the meat to openly absorb the broth.
This dish is best eaten together with a bowl of white rice. This is the kind of comfort food we crave for at home. Love it.
Mrs Lee recommends two ways of eating, have it neat or with a dash of the TAO’s Thai-Teochew green chilli sauce if you want a spicy kick.
The pig trotters come in a pot that can serves 4 and a two-day advance order is required.
My personal favourite among the three dishes was the prawn dish. The shells are kept intact so as to retain the stock and all the flavours. It is best eaten with your hands, sucking the shells clean of the juices.
Other than the three signatures, we sampled these other items from the Mother’s Day menu:
I like that TAO is not one of those dime a dozen chained restaurants and kudos to Chef Lee for stepping out of retirement to start something new again. There is a lot of sincerity in the menu and cooking. We were even given a kitchen tour after the meal. Designed by Chef Lee himself, the spacious kitchen is divided into two main areas, one for preparing cantonese-style wok cooking and the other for his signature Thai-Teochew style of cooking:
If you are interested to visit the restaurant, details are as below:
12 Marina View
Asia Square Tower 2 #02-10
For Reservations and Enquiries: +65 6844 9969
Email: [email protected]
￼Opening Hours: Daily, 11:30am to 2:30pm and 6:00pm to 10:00pm (last order by 9:30pm)