I felt so bad I had to do something, but what? Send flowers? Chocolates? I was concerned about re-doubling the insult with an awkward apology. So, I consulted a Singaporean insider for advice. "Just take her for a nice meal, duh" said Puffin, disgusted by my stupidity. I left the choice to Puffin who set up a visit to Wah Lok, a Cantonese restaurant inside the Carlton Hotel.
Just thinking back on it gives me a chill. This past Chinese New Year we were invited to lunch and a game of mah jong by the mother of one of Puffin's girlfriends. Not only did I scarf down auntie's home-cooked meal, then beat her out of a fistful of mah jong dollars but on my way out the door, she sweetly handed me an ang pow - a Chinese New Years custom where married people give money to unmarried ones. A less competitive and more savvy person would have made sure to lose the mah jong game. Sadly, I specialize in 20/20 hindsight.
I was happy to be at Wah Lok with auntie, making amends, but the food wasn't helping the situation. It's the thought that counts, I told myself. The egg tarts were pedestrian, most likely I was unfairly comparing them to these. Same for the bolo yau, above, which were filled with red bean paste. With a recent trip to Hong Kong in my rear view mirror, I was feeling judgmental. Thankfully, the char siew bao calmed and quieted Puffin's two year old niece who wasn't exactly comfortable on her first outing with her aunt and funny looking boyfriend.
As I've said previously, I prefer the wok-fried version of carrot cake to the steamed variety but I quite liked this one. No, folks, there are no carrots and no cake - this strangely named dish features daikon radish.
The zha liang were a non-starter, not good at all, nothing like these.
I was hoping the duck would be like the one across the street at Lei Gardens but it wasn't to be. After a few bites of the skin I didn't even try the meat, which arrived a few minutes later.
Wah Lok looked the part with its large round tables and linen napkins but I can't help but feel a bit gipped. Surely there is better dim sum in Singapore.