Well, technically, I did create my own luck because this reservation was made many months ago in anticipation of T.H.’s birthday. And since Chef Sam’s birthday is the very next day, it’s become a little tradition to do a dual celebration.

Anyway, about the meal, with the exception of the double-boiled soup and duck, both long-time signatures, the rest of the menu was new to me. But oh boy, were the dishes astonishingly delicious! Here is what we enjoyed:

1. Double-boiled soup with pork, radish, chestnuts and sea coconut - it had simmered on the charcoal stove since 11am.

2. Hakka handpulled chicken - so easy to eat since the peeled chicken is bones-free. I love the moist, tender flesh and fragrant “zhup” (sauce).

3. Steamed wild-caught Soon Hock - we were lucky to have such a ginormous specimen and it was steamed with bean sauce and preserved plums to such perfection, @kailingtiffyx proclaimed it “the best steamed fish” she‘s ever had.

4. Stirfried five-fingered sweet potato leaves with dried scallop - this flowered with umami flavour.

5. Braised “tau kee” (beancurd skin) in pork broth with abalone - very unique item that sounds simple but has a tastiness that bowled us over.

6. Steamed crayfish horfun - fantastically shiok as the chunks of crayfish were fresh and sweet, and once tossed, those jiggly strands of soft rice noodles tasted divine as they’re coated in shallot oil and crayfish juices.

7. Crayfish omelette - not officially part of the 8-course menu but a surprise from Chef Sam for which we couldn’t thank him enough.

8. Charcoal-grilled duck - this iconic course takes three days to prepare but disappears in seconds. Overwhelmingly good is the only way to describe it.

9. “Tong shui” dessert of “luo han guo” with dried longan and wintermelon - a perfect ending.