Photos by Lestatte Liew. Words by thedessertprince.
My family eats out often and they always look to me to plan the next meal. It is not exactly an easy task since everyone has varying taste buds. Ah ma is always craving for sushi while mummy is bias towards classic western. Let’s not even get started with my two younger brothers’ picky diets. See what I mean when I say it is not easy?
Even if I were to select something familiar like Chinese food, I still have to crack my brain to think of a place that has the novelty and ‘WOW’ factor. Believe me, climbing Mount Everest is (sometimes) easier than impressing my entire clan. Unfortunately, I choose to be a food blogger so finding new places is part my SOP or so my family would like to think.Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Tao Seafood Asia for a sumptuous dinner and gosh… it was a night to reminisce and I dare say this is the best crab meal I’ve eaten so far this year. The red and Champagne gold restaurant exudes an sense of elegance without that overwhelming feeling that other fine-dining establishments might present to first timer diners. To simply phrase it, Tao is comfortable to dine in.
Starting off the tasting session was the Crispy Fish Skin with Salted Egg Sauce. Deep fried eel skin coated with the restaurant’s special salted egg sauce. The taste of salted egg yolk coupled with ultra crunchy fish skins will do well as an appetizer while waiting for the full course meal to be serve. I was told that this was a slightly spicy dish, I could taste it but I felt Tao could intensify the spice a little more or simply omit it all together. Jellyfish are another commonly seen Chinese delicacy so fans of collagen-rich food, the Chilled Jellyfish Salad with a concoction of chilli, vinegar and sesame should suffices your daily intake.TAO Signature Soup with Premium Fish Maw and Crabmeat was another collagen-rich dish worth mentioning. A thick superior broth with crab meat and premium fish maw hailing from New Zealand. If you do not know, Tao Seafood Asia is owned and managed by Adrian Lee, the son of retired chef Lee Tong Kuon or simply known as the founder of Thai Village Restaurants. So one could definitely expect quality stock at Tao too.Another interesting dish was Stir Fried Fish Maw with Prawns. I had my fair experience consuming fish bladders but never really thought about having them deep fried.
So when the dish came to our table, I thought it would be a really oily (Think of fish maws as sponges and you get my hint) but it turns out to be rather flavourful yet easy on the palete dish. This is one dish from Tao that really had me impressed and thumbs up!If I had to choose between Steamed Soon Hock (Marble Goby) with Preserved Radish and White Pepper Crab, I’m definitely opting for the latter. I’m a huge fan of crab and you can’t go wrong with HUMONGOUS live Sri Lankan crabs immersed in thick butter-rich spicy sauce. For corporate individuals who aren’t keen in getting their suits dirty, there’s the de-shelled version served with chilli sauce.
If only there were fried mantou to go with. I swear I could wolf down a dozen just with the sauce alone.It was as though we did not have enough crabs for one night and the final main course was the Pot Roasted Crab with Glass Noodles. Unlike many places which serve crabs with vermicelli, Tao’s rendition is prepared in small metal wok cooked over a specially designed set of open fire stoves. The sauce and soup base are then cooked with the crab and glass noodles till it absorbs every last bit of the essence.
The end result was glossy noodles with a little charring from the superheated wok and infused with the essence of the superior stock and flavours crab. If you ask me, this is the second dish apart from the stir fried fish maw that truly impressed me visually and palatability. Tao Seafood Asia is one of those new establishment that I would recommend to anyone looking for an above average Chinese restaurant. The location might pose a bit of problem for those coming by trains or not familiar with the Central Business District (CBD) area but tucked away at the second floor of Asia Square Tower 2, it is still relatively easy to find on Google Map.
You might conclude that I am being hosted by them and hence the super positive review but honestly, there aren’t a lot of established brands that could rival my dining experience here. So you decide if my dinner partner’s photos are justifiable for your first visit here.
On a side note, skip their traditional desserts like white snow fugus soup and gui ling gao. I think they are a little mainstream for this Thai-Teochew restaurant.
TAO Seafood Asia
Asia Square Tower 2, #02-10
12 Marina View Singapore 018961
Tel: +65 6844 9969
Note: This is an invited media tasting.