Pencai, or poon choy in Cantonese (which when translated means "basin dish"), is a wonder pot, full of decadent Chinese New Year delicacies that range from abalone and dried oysters to sea cucumber and fish maw.
The dish, which dates back to the Song Dynasty, has become increasingly popular in Singapore over the last decade. In fact, it is now a staple for the auspicious season.
Essentially, the pot includes braised dried seafood, roast meats and stewed vegetables, ladled with a rich and thick oyster sauce and stock-based gravy.
Here are six pencai offerings to whet your appetite.
Heavenly Treasure Bowl
The pencai from restaurants under the TungLok Group umbrella comprises 16 premium ingredients including shark's fin, six-head abalone,dried scallops, fish maw, sea cucumber, dried oysters, pork shank, barramundi fillet, live prawns, smoked duck breast, shiitake mushrooms and more.
There are also treasure pots with less ingredients as well as vegetarian options.
Where: All TungLok restaurants including TungLok Tea House, Far East Square, 01-01; Tung Lok Signatures at Orchard Parade Hotel, VivoCity, The Central and Changi City Point; and Tung Lok Xihe Peking Duck at The Grandstand and Orchard Central.
Pencai is not available at Tong Le Private Dining, Ruyi, Dancing Crab and Dancing Crab Shack, and Slappy Cakes. Vegetarian pencai is available only at Ling Zhi Vegetarian.
When: Jan 3 to Feb 11. Orders placed before Jan 15 receive an early bird discount of 15 per cent off.
Price: $368++ for six people; $568++ for 10 people
Info: For the full list of outlets and relevant contact details, go to this page.
LI BAI CANTONESE RESTAURANT
Lobster and Abalone Fortune Pot
The Lobster and Abalone Fortune Pot comes with a medley of premium delicacies including abalone, mushrooms and lobster. It is served in a claypot which keeps the food warm and allows for hassle-free reheating at home.
Where: Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant, Sheraton Towers Singapore, 39 Scotts Road
When: Jan 11 to Feb 11. Order two working days in advance.
Info: Call 6839-5623. Go to this website for more information.
HUA TING RESTAURANT
Deluxe Pen Cai
Orchard Hotel's popular Cantonese restaurant Hua Ting is dishing out its signature Deluxe Pen Cai pot which includes delicacies from abalone and sea cucumber to fish maw and mushrooms.
Where: Hua Ting Restaurant, Orchard Hotel Singapore, 442 Orchard Road, Level 2
When: Jan 9 to Feb 11. Order at least three days in advance.
Price: $328 for small portion enough for about six people; $598 for an eight- to 10-person portion
Info: Call 6739-6666 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Blossoming Abalone Treasures Pot
The pencai from Peach Blossoms at Marina Mandarin Singapore comes with fish maw, live prawns, 10-head whole abalone, sea cucumber, dried oysters, mushrooms and dried scallops, as well as roasted meats and various types of vegetable.
Where: Peach Blossoms, Marina Mandarin Singapore, 6 Raffles Boulevard, Level 5
When: Jan 6 Feb 11. Order at least three days in advance
Price: $318+ for a five-person portion, $568+ for a 10-person portion
HOUSE OF ROASTED DUCK
Prosperity Treasure Hot Pot
House of Roasted Duck's pencai includes ingredients such as roast duck, soy sauce chicken, roasted pork, barbecued pork and eight other auspicious ingredients such as abalone, cabbage, duck web, duck wing, fatt choy and mushrooms.
Where: House Of Roasted Duck, two outlets - Bugis Village, 233 Victoria Street; and Sultan Plaza, 100 Jalan Sultan, 01-08
When: Jan 16 to Feb 12. Order at least three days in advance for collection on the eve of Chinese New Year. For collection on other days, order at least one working day in advance
Info: Call 6339-6817 (Bugis Village); 6297-5490 (Sultan Plaza) or go to this website.
Auspicious Treasure Pot
Catering group Neo Garden's pencai comprises delicacies including sea cucumber, abalone and dried scallop, as well as various types of mushroom, roast duck, fried chicken thigh, fatt choy and lotus root.
Where: Neo Garden, 1 Enterprise Road
When: Jan 9 to Feb 12. Order five days in advance to avoid disappointment.
Price: $198+ for a six-person portion; $288+ for a 10-person portion
Info: Call 6896-7757 or go to this website.
This article was first published on Jan 5, 2016.
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