The Santa Grand Hotel East Coast is home to one of Singapore’s best Szechuan-style Chinese restaurants. Chuan Wang Ji is a new establishment in the Katong dining scene, focusing on seafood given a fiery kick thanks to the famously spicy Szechuan-style cuisine that this restaurant’s East Coast Road kitchen knows so well. That said, if your taste leans more towards meat, poultry or vegetarian dishes, there’s something here for you as well.
Yes, Szechuan cuisine, China’s hottest export besides tiger- and rhino horn-based aphrodisiacs, is known for its spiciness, due in large part to the liberal use of the Szechuan (or Sichuan) chilli pepper. Chuan Wang Ji, a Szechuan-Chinese restaurant housed in Katong’s Santa Grand Hotel down East Coast Road, is all about this culinary hand grenade and the Chinese dishes it tends to infiltrate, but thankfully diners are free to twiddle with the thermostat, choosing heat-levels from hot to thermonuclear depending on how tempered their tongues are. Singapore diners will also be pleased that Chuan Wang Ji makes a fuss about seafood, of which there’s a bountiful and fresh supply in this island city state.
A typical Chuan Wang Ji dish – combining the elements of fire and water in judicious balance – might be the boiled fish fillet with preserved vegetables and green chilli. described as tangy and appetising, succulent and tender, it’s a good introduction to what this Chinese restaurant in Singapore’s Katong does best. There’s plenty more spicy Szechuan-treated seafood where that came from, but if you’re looking for that other common Chinese ingredient, pork, try the braised and shredded pork tenderloin with garlic and chilli for a really traditional Szechuan kick – salty, sweet, sour and spicy reads the annotation. The Szechuan Gong Bao chicken also packs a punch, while the exotic hot and sour fern root noodles are sure to have foodies with a nose for the new heading to the Santa Grand Hotel East Coast to check the temperature.
Generous portions and tasty Szechuan food, although the spice level is a little lower than other Szechuan restaurants we've been to. Attentive service too. Besides Szechuan food, they also have some Cantonese dishes on the menu but we didn't get to try those.