Monday, August 8, 2011

Taiwan Porridge @ Goodwood Park Hotel

We were first introduced to the Taiwan Porridge buffet when we visited the hotel in 2009 to blog about their famous durian desserts and it was then we realize that the Taiwan Porridge at Goodwood Park Hotel has been popular since its debut in 1984. In fact, we were surprised that there is no international buffet at Goodwood Park and the buffets offered in the hotel are the Taiwan Porridge Buffet and High Tea Buffet at L'Espresso.

In general, the hotel has a lovely colonial elegance and it is extremely pleasant to have a bowl of hot porridge with a selection of 28 dishes cooked a la minute. Do note that it can be extremely crowded, especially on Sunday afternoons so reservation is a must.

Goodwood Park's Taiwan Porddige A La Carte Buffet

One of the niches of this buffet is that the dishes are cooked a la minute and served hot to the table. From our experience, this buffet seems to be best enjoyed with a minimum of 4 diners as the dishes are in (relatively) huge portions. For people with small appetite, Coffee Lounge serve a “Design Your Own Local Degustation Set Menu”, allowing tasting portions of each dish in 4-Course and 5-Course sets. Be it the porridge buffet or the degustation set menu, a mini dessert buffet is included.

The menu is split into various categories and for the appetisers, one can expect the following,
  • Salted Fish with Salted Egg
  • Taiwanese Sausage
  • Baby Squids in Sweet Oyster Sauce
  • Fried Taman Fish with Sesame Seeds

One of the must-trys is the Fried Taman Fish with Sesame Seeds and according to Yuan, it is rare to come across such huge and crispy fish; and he gave a huge thumbs up on all 3 visits. Consistent and good.

Fried Taman Fish with Sesame Seeds

Three types of omelettes are served in this buffet and I can only say, choose wisely as the serving is still large for 4 diners.
  • Fried Omelette with Prawns & Onions
  • Fried Omelette with Chye Poh
  • Fried Omelette with Silver Fish

Braised Beancurd with Minced Meat

Among the beancurds served, my personal favourite goes to the Braised Beancurd with Minced Meat. The beancurd is smooth and the fried exterior is well-soaked with the Meat Sauce. Other beancurd dishes offered are
  • Chilled Beancurd in Japanese Soya Sauce & Pork Floss
  • Braised Beancurd with Chicken & Salted Fish

The porridge buffet offers a wide range of vegetables and depends on your personal preference, the choices are as below,
  • Stir-Fried Broccoli with Garlic
  • Stir-Fried French Beans with Dried Shrimps
  • Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish
  • Stir-Fried Eggplant with Minced Pork
  • Stir-Fried Kai Lan with Oyster Sauce
  • Stir-Fried Kang Kong with Sambal
Sauteed Chicken with Spring Onion & Ginger

The buffet offers 3 dishes each for chicken, pork and beef respectively.
  • Sauteed Chicken with Dried Chili
  • Sauteed Chicken with Spring Onion & Ginger
  • Fried Chicken with Prawn Paste
  • Braised Pork Belly with Dark Soya Sauce
  • Steamed Minced Pork with Salted Egg Yolk
  • Mui Choy with Pork
  • Braised Beef Brisket with Brown Sauce
  • Wok-Fried Beef with Black Pepper
  • Wok-Fried Beef with Spring Onions & Ginger

Both the Chicken with Spring Onion & Ginger and the Beef with Spring Onion & Ginger are our personal favourites for a reasonable degree of Wok's breath. In addition, the meat is tender and the sauce is sufficiently salty to eat with the porridge.

Since the dishes are served hot, one can expect the Fried Chicken with Prawn Paste to be of reasonable tenderness and what makes it convenient is that the chicken are served boneless. These bite-sized chicken can be addictive on its own.

Fried Chicken with Prawn Paste

Among the pork dishes, the Braised Pork Belly with Dark Soya Sauce is a must-try. Tender and well-marinated; the porridge tastes even better with the sauce.

Braised Pork Belly with Dark Soya Sauce

The buffet includes Sauteed Prawns with Dried Chili but the main highlight of the buffet are the Deep-Fried Pomfret with Black Soya Sauce and Steamed Sea Bass with Crispy Bean Paste.

Do note that one can only order EITHER the Pomfret OR Sea Bass and is limited to one order per table. One serving is served for 2-4 person and two servings for 5-8 persons.

Deep-Fried Pomfret with Black Soya Sauce

To a certain extent, the Deep-Fried Pomfret with Black Soya Sauce does stir some childhood memories. Simple as described, the fish is fried to crispy with almost no traces of oil.

Steamed Sea Bass with Crispy Bean Paste

On the other hand, the Steamed Sea Bass with Crispy Bean Paste is tender and juicy. This steamed fish goes extremely well with the accompanying crispy bean paste.

Note that these two fishes are from two independent visits to the buffet (i.e. the first one was during the durian fiesta in July 2011 while the second one is visited today) and given how close the two visits were, the dishes served on our second visit is slightly salty than the first. Apart from that, all are consistent and good.

Dessert Buffet I

This station would be a major highlight during the durian fiesta for it showcases 6 of the hotel's durian desserts, including a live station of the durian pancakes. Since the durian season is over, one can expect a selection of 8 non-durian pastries, which includes the signature Chocolate Crunchy Hazelnut and Bread & Butter Pudding.

Dessert Buffet II

The non-durian pastries are pretty much the same on both visits and Yuan enjoyed the Pandan Praline Cake and Maple Pecan Nut Tart the most. Yuan likes the Pandan Praline Cake for its light hazelnut mousse which is akin to Kinder Bueno with the texture close to a 九层糕 (Jiu Cheng Gao or 9 Layered Cake). As for the maple pecan nut, the tart pastry is thin and crisp with buttery fragrance; on top of the pineapple-flavoured filling, this tart is topped with sugary crumbles, making it a variant to a pineapple crumble. Other desserts available at the buffet line include the Raspberry Mascarpone Cake, Dark Cherry Tart, White Chocolate Mousse and Raspberry Cake, Cinnamon Apple Cake and Banana Peanut Cheesecake.

In addition, there is also two Chinese desserts rotated on a daily basis. Barley with Ginko Nut & Quail Egg and Pulut Hitam (Black Rice Pudding) were served on our visit and complements well with the Chinese dishes served in the porridge buffet. Not forgetting the selection of fruits and Movenpick ice-cream as part of the dessert buffet.

Porridge buffet is available from noon to 2:30pm (last order at 2pm) for lunch and from 6pm to 10:30pm (last order at 10pm) for dinner; and is priced at $35.00++ per adult and $17.50++ per child. The buffet includes unlimited serving of porridge and dessert buffet (min 2 persons).

In our humble opinion, this buffet is definitely not cheap but what makes it special is to be able to enjoy a fare of popular Chinese dishes with zero MSG. Unlike most international buffets that are rich with seafood and cholesterol, the concept of porridge buffet seems to be a good alternative to dine in hotel comfort. In addition, with the dishes served a la minute, the quality offers is of no doubt. However, since the dishes offer may be simple and common, the novelty factor may diminish after repeated visits.

Many thanks to Marketing Communications Manager of Goodwood Park Hotel, Ms. Justina Loh for allowing us to take photos of the porridge buffet and the complementary tub of Homemade Durian Ice Cream.

Coffee Lounge
Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road
Singapore 228221
Tel: 6730 1746

P.S. Do note that the second visit was dined as anonymous customers.


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