Ju Chun Yuan
by Jackson Sim
@ 30 Jun 2017
With a history as old as time, Ju Chun Yuan is housed in a traditional courtyard residence of a hutong of yesteryears. The building was built in 1854 and housed the former Chui Eng Free School which closed down in 1954. The restaurant itself also has a long legacy with it being founded in 1865; the famous Chinese dish Buddha Jumps Over the Wall was created by the restaurant in 1876. Today, the original recipe is still followed as each generation of chefs preserve and pass it down to their apprentices.
Chef Li Man is the current generation of Chinese culinarian who oversees the kitchen of Ju Chun Yuan, Hailing from the Fuzhou region of China, Chef Li follows strictly the culinary styles of his masters. His rendition of Buddha Jumps Over the Wall is testament to that. Cooked over a slow heat and never double-boiled, each ingredient is added at different intervals of the cooking process to ensure each is not over cooked and absorbs all the qualities and essences fully.
For those who believe in ethical eating, fret not, at Ju Chun Yuan, you can opt for a shark’s fin-free Buddha Jumps Over the Wall. Start a meal here with a medley of sensational appetizers even before you head for the star dish. These appetizers are designed to excite the appetite. The Fuzhou red wine chicken is served chilled; having been soaked in the red wine after lightly poached, the chicken is tender with the beautiful bouquet of the red wine perfuming ever slice.
Move on to the Fuzhou smoked fish where its crunchy texture provides delight to the palate cleansing chilled winter melon with orange sauce before moving on to the main dishes. The signature Ju Chun Yuan stewed pork belly glistens gloriously as layers of melt-in-the-mouth fat intertwine gorgeously with tender meats. Served with a secret sauce very much taking on the colour and texture of melted toffee, a bowl of white rice is all you need to complete the enjoyment.
Specially imported from China and only available depending on its season, monkey head mushroom is a delicacy done so well by Chef Li. Braised until soft, the monkey head mushroom soaks up all of its braising broth; this causes every bite to burst with irresistible flavours. Broccoli florets which have been blanched in superior stock remain green and crunchy.
Close a fulfilling meal at Ju Chun Yuan with an equally dessert. Despite its seemingly simple presentation, making a good and smooth yam paste is anything but. Each yam pieces are steamed and then painstakingly run through a fine sieve until they are all smooth. Best enjoyed warm, savour every mouthful of yam paste with great pleasure. JS