This spring, PUTIEN (莆田) welcomes an exciting line-up of new dishes joining the well-loved classics featuring the prized Yellow Croaker on its grand menu.  Hailing from Ningde, Fujian – often known as the “home of China’s large Yellow Croaker” – this fish is very fresh and succulent due to its diet of fresh mini shrimp and small fish.  We were told that the fishes are only captured at night and thus the fish’s characteristic golden yellow shade is preserved as it would have otherwise disintegrated under bright light and UV rays.  These fishes are then swiftly handled and delivered chilled overnight to the PUTIEN restaurants – talk about freshness! 

We started the meal with the ‘100 second’ stewed yellow croaker (S$13.90 / 200g). PUTIEN’s signature dish is prepared by steaming the fresh yellow croaker (only those weighing between 180g and 200g are used) for only 100 seconds.  The original taste of the fish is thus accentuated as the dish uses minimal seasoning of onions, ginger, Fujian aged wine and Puning bean sauce.  The tender fish with slightly sweet broth is best enjoyed piping hot when served.  Those who love fish soup must order this and the serving size is good for one (if you are a fish lover) or two (if you are keen to try other dishes too)!
We also tried the Yellow Croaker Fillet Soup (S$19.90) that was a seasonal hit previously.  This dish is a Putian specialty, boasting of succulent fillets coated in pure sweet potato powder and cooked with tomatoes for the sour-sweet combination.  We definitely had more than one serving of this and it helps that the fillets are mostly boneless or with small edible bones so easy eating for all.
Putien Yellow Croaker 03
Moving on to the next yellow croaker dish, the Pan-Fried Yellow Croaker (S$39.90 / 500g) is thrice-cooked by deep-frying, searing and then braising in a secret house sauce till fragrant.  Whilst yummy, we did not think it stood out much in terms of uniqueness, but those who are less adventurous can try this dish as an introduction to the yellow croaker.
Putien Yellow Croaker 04
The Yellow Croaker in Sambal Sauce (S$39.90) has to be one of our favourites for the night.  A new dish on the menu, it presents classic Nanyang flavours with a twist – Singaporean recipes are used to prepare this yellow croaker.  The fried fish is topped with sambal sauce (homemade with ten different kinds of spices, including tomato juice, shrimp paste and soy sauce) resulting in well-balanced flavours of sweet, spicy, sour and savoury all at once.  It also reminded us a little of sambal stingray. 
Putien Yellow Croaker 05
Another new dish is the Chinese Kale fried with Salted Yellow Croaker (from S$13.90).  What you get is a combination of crispy cubes of salted yellow croaker and fresh kale.
Putien Yellow Croaker 06
Those who love their spice can look forward to the Yellow Croaker in Chopped Chillies (S$39.90).  Featuring a homemade sauce made with mildly spicy chillies and all-natural sun-dried Fujian sea salt – it has the right amount of spicy ‘kick’ which complements the tender fleshy yellow croaker.  We were told that the sauce is fermented for three weeks in a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius thus enhancing the fragrance of the chillies.
Last but not least, we had the Yellow Croaker Claypot Soup (S$19.90), which consists of pan-fried yellow croaker boiled on high heat yielding a flavourful, milky soup. 
Putien Yellow Croaker 08
Apart from the yellow croaker dishes, we also tried this new dish – Fujian Red Mushroom Seafood Lor Mee.  Unlike your usual PUTIEN Lor Mee, this dish spots a pinkish hue (from the mushrooms) and has a slight earthy taste.  We found it a refreshing change to the usual lor mee but a couple of our dining companions found it slightly too quirky.  However, we say that those who love their mushrooms should definitely give this dish a go!
From 29 March 2021, customers can enjoy the delectable yellow croaker dishes with well-loved Sake at a special 20% discount – i.e. S$20/pot instead of the usual S$25.  One can then indulge in the great pairing of the naturally-fermented sake with fresh fishes. 
Budget: S$30 – S$40 per person
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