Not sure how to pronounce the Chinese character on the subject? You are not alone. Before I was introduced to this restaurant, I initially thought it was related to another similar named restaurant in town. So to help us all understand the meaning behind the name, this is what was explained by the owner (also the Chef’s son), Adrian Lee.
”TAO Seafood Asia gets its inspiration from a legendary food-loving Chinese mythical creature known as “饕餮” (tāo tiè) in Mandarin. Its Chinese name, “饕聚” (tāo jù) , means the gathering of gourmets which holds true to the brand’s ethos. “
It was a great honor to have a photo taken with Chef Lee, the former executive chef and co-owner of the Thai Village Holdings Ltd. And that is Adrian (3rd from the right), the creator and manager of TAO.
TAO and Chef Lee together pledged a commitment to be environmentally-responsible by procuring only sustainable seafood from like-minded vendors and best-practice fish farmers around the region. “We need to do our part, no matter how small as every little bit helps,” says the low-key and very serious Chef Lee.
Chef Lee learnt Thai Teochew seafood cuisine from the best, an influential chef/restaurateur, Preecha Jangsombatsiri (commonly known as Ping). With more than 30 years of experience, Chef Lee is proud to once again showcase his first love (cooking) and it can be seen evidently in TAO’s signatures such as Chilled Jellyfish Salad, Crispy Fish Skin with Salted-egg Sauce, TAO’s Signature Soup with Premium New Zealand Fish Maw and Crab Meat, Steamed Marble Goby with Preserved Radish, Pot Roasted Crab with Grass Noodle, and his new creations like, Fried Fish Maw with Prawns and White Pepper Crab.
For those who are looking for private dining, fret not, there are two such rooms which sits 12 pax available. The connection doors can be open to join both rooms if you have a bigger group.
On the dining table we can find the usual Ah-char and Green Chilli, but don’t be fooled by the simple appearance of both dishes, they are home-made daily in the kitchen and the Green Chilli practically fits every single dish perfectly.
So here are what we tried out!
Crispy Enoki Mushroom
TAO Seafood Asia's popular Crispy Enoki Mushroom is deep-fried to a crispy and fluffy perfection, giving it a gorgeous shade of golden-brown, complemented with a generous dose of quality white truffle oil for that extra fragrance.
[A sure favourite with the kids, personally I think the truffle oil was applied just in the right portion, it did not cover the taste of the mushroom but yet remains a linger of it in the mouth after I have eaten it.]
Crispy Fish Skin with Salted Egg Sauce
The deep fried eel skin is refried with TAO's special salted egg sauce that holds a slight tinge of spiciness, resulting in a crispy golden finish.
[Totally blown my mind away with this dish. Reason being I am not a fan of both fish skin and salted egg sauce, but this combination works to perfection and I cannot stop putting another piece of the crispy fish skin into my mouth. I am definitely going to order this starter the next time I visit the restaurant.]
TAO Signature Soup with Premium Fish Maw and Crabmeat
The fragrant and thick-in-texture chicken noble brew is paired with premium New Zealand Fish Maw (花胶) that is rich in collagen.
[The soup is really ‘thick’. Again, with something that I usually don’t eat which is the fish maw, the preparation was great. Gone was that fishy taste but rather a very chewy and refreshing taste to it. With the introduction of the green chilli available, the taste buds were treated to another difference in one dish.]
A special recommendation from Adrian, half way through the soup, add in some of the Green Chilli and you will find yourself a different taste of the soup.
"Coral" Beancurd with Seafood and Salmon Roe
Silky soft beancurd, freshly made by our chefs daily, is served with juicy prawn and fresh crab meat in an egg white sauce and topped with delicious salmon roe, making this dish both a visual and tasty delight for all.
[Another dish prepared specially for the kids.]
Pot Roasted Sea Prawns with Glass Noodles
This unforgettable Thai Teochew favourite is prepared in a metal pot over a specially designed set of open fire stoves. The sauce and soup base are cooked with the prawns and glass noodles repeatedly till it absorbs every last bit of flavour.
The dish is then served immediately within the metal pot to retain its aroma and "wok-hei".
[According to Adrian, the chef who prepares this dish has been doing only this pot roasted cooking for the last 8-10 years. You can imagine how good the glass noodle was, which totally soaked up the sauce and soup while preparing it. You can choose to have crabs instead of prawns. Awesome!]
White Pepper Crab
The new creation only uses daily delivered quality Sri Lankan crabs, pure ground white pepper and other spices to concoct the heady-scented TAO-must-have.
[This has to be the highlight of the day! Nothing beats fresh and huge crab like this dish. To preserve the freshness of its seafood, TAO only orders their crabs in on the day customers requested for it. Which means, if you are planning to enjoy your crab delight at TAO, you need to call and make a reservation first, in order for them to ensure the best crabs are served to you. Quality assured.]
Snow Fungus with Red Date, Traditional Yam Paste with Ginko Nut, Sea Coconut with Longan, Guilin Herbal.
[What Teochew Restaurant doesn’t serves Yam Paste? But not all Teochew Restaurants serve good Traditional Yam Paste. Here, I can say it is good. Period.]
So this is all from me. To be honest, this food tasting came just in time as I was looking for a suitable Chinese restaurant to bring my mother for her birthday celebration. Now we have made our reservation with Adrian and looking forward to another round of great Thai Teochew cuisine.
TAO Seafood Asia
12 Marina View, Asia Square Tower 2, #02-10, Singapore 018961.
T: +65 68449969
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 2:30pm and 6:00pm to 10:00pm, Mondays to Sundays.
Last order by 9:30pm.