While people often say that there is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, I like to think that there's a pot of delicious soup brewing fast and furious in the heart of Orchard Road. Souper Tang, a Malaysian brand famous for hearty, nourishing brews and delectable Chinese cuisine has opened its first outlet in Centerpoint. The dishes are firmly rooted in Chinese herbs as the owners hold expertise in the Chinese medical hall businesses.
Where most herbal soups are cloudy and impenetrable, there is more “clarity” here; likewise with the taste--all thanks to the owners' efforts to change the common belief that herbs are bitter pills to swallow. Take for instance, the Souper Tang Signature Soup ($26.90 for two, $39.90 for four), a nourishing concoction of conpoy, shiitake mushrooms, American ginseng slices, ginseng root, cord Yeps flower and fish maw. It did not reek of medicinal herbs taste if this is what you are imagining. Instead, the use of whole piece chicken and glutinous rice wine created quite a smooth, rejuvenating taste that would appeal easily to the masses, though I prefer it to be less salty.
The Shi Quan - 10 Herbs Soup ($15.90/ portion) turned out to be the dark horse that rode my fatigue away. The use of wolfberries, Angelica root and osthmanthus bark gave this soup a pleasant sweetness that was not found in the Signature Soup. Not to forget the three slices of meaty pork ribs that made this dish an opulence to savour.
While there isn't any fried dough fritters to enjoy this bowl of soup like Bak kut teh, there's something even better--Mee Sua tossed in XO abalone sauce ($3.90). Tossed in fragrant scallion oil, each strand of wheat noodles glided down the throat effortlessly, albeit too speedily that left me hankering for more.
The Home braised pork belly in rich dark sauce served with Pandan buns ($18.90) set emotions running high as the slabs of tender meat showed off its glistening qualities under the spotlight unabashedly. Braised with plenty of soy and aromatic enhancers like Angelica root, star anise and orange peel, the pork belly proved to be maximum indulgence and devastation to the waistline.
In that case, perhaps the Stir fried French beans with pu-er ($11.90) would do some redemption but only to a certain extent I guessed. Thanks to the braised minced pork and olives toppings, this dish is equally tasty as much as it is greasy. And I'm quite sure it won't taste that delicious and fragrant if there was less oil.
For those who prefer to steer away from stir-fries, the Signature Souper Pesto Pot ($25.90 for 2-3) would serve as a one-pot dish that satisfy the green requirements for a day or even two. The soup reminded me of the matcha hotpot I've had early this year but this had a sharper fragrance of basil and pine nuts. I think this is a dish that would polarize a table of diners like durians as some may not like basil.
I'm on peaceful terms with basil and I thought it tasted quite ok but perhaps short of the sweetness from a protein-based broth. Nonetheless, there's already plenty going on in this symphony to keep anyone busy; Red sweet potato noodles, Chinese spinach, corn, enoki, thick bean curd skin m, etc. and even a unique black fungus known as "Little Cloud"
Just as I thought my dinner was sufficiently nourished by all the herbs, greens and meats, there came one of my weakest links--Claypot Atlantic Codfish with Fish Maw ($29.90) This might pass of as relatively bland to some, but it was precisely the clean taste and freshness of the fish which made it a gem to treasure.
Cap of the meal with an ultra silky Beancurd ($3.50), served chilled, in either caramel ginger or caramel sauce and your body will thank you for feeding it so well.
#02-52 & #02-K01 Centrepoint
176 Orchard Road