#10QuestionswithMaxwell Interview Series: Thomas Choong, Xi Yan
In this week’s interview, we reached out to Thomas Choong, one of the partners of Xi Yan. Xi Yan is one of the pioneers in Singapore’s private dining scene, serving some of the best and innovative Chinese cuisine in Singapore. Xi Yan @ Maxwell is located at Maxwell Chamber Suites.
We find out more about the story behind Xi Yan, their upcoming developments, what Thomas does during the weekend and more.
Q: How did Xi Yan come about in Singapore?
A: The founders of Xi Yan first originated contemporary Chinese private dining in Hong Kong back in 2000 with huge success and decided to do likewise in Singapore in 2005 and which turned out to be the hottest rave!
Q: Tell us more about the food and cuisine you serve.
A: Xi Yan cuisine is eclectic contemporary Chinese with flavours that combine East and East, and East and West ingredients and spices. Dishes range from gourmet comfort style to exquisite food and are all created, innovated or enhanced by our chefs. Giving each dish a “Xi Yan” signature touch to all its dishes.
Q: Could you share with us more about the symbolism behind Xi Yan’s name and your logo?
A: Xi Yan is about its cuisines and dining experience for diners to bond, to enjoy and be joyful. Xi Yan 囍宴 name stands for “Joyful Dining and Banquet”. Xi Yan logo in red exudes joy and good fortune!
Q: Why did you decide to have the restaurant at Maxwell Chamber Suites?
A: When we were first introduced to Maxwell Chamber Suites, it was love on first sight. The conservation style, ambiance and pretty courtyard reminded us of the olden traditional homes with multiple private courts/chambers and courtyards, and yet conveniently located in the heart of the bustling commercial downtown Maxwell/Tanjong Pagar area. Perfect for both business and social clients of Xi Yan.
Q: Your favourite dish on the menu?
A: With more than 500 dishes and 100s of signature dishes created over the years, there just so many dishes that I like. Perhaps my current favourite would be the fresh fish slices with rice crispy in special fish broth!
Q: Are there any new developments coming up?
A: Xi Yan @Maxwell is the flagship of the Xi Yan group of restaurants and continues to hold a multitude of exciting dining events and activities throughout the year! Xi Yan Shaw is one of our casual bistro style restaurant. We are presently looking at a new contemporary bistro bar concept to be opened in the East side.
Q: How did you get into the restaurant industry?
A: I have been in the tech industry for the longest of time and did several tech start-ups during the dot-com era. It was during one of my many business visits to Hong Kong and dining at Xi Yan HK that the idea of Xi Yan in Singapore was mooted by the Xi Yan HK partners. With so many international guests and from Singapore who have visited Hong Kong, dined at Xi Yan in HK and love Xi Yan cuisine, it became apparent that having Xi Yan in Singapore would serve the Singapore diners and the huge international and ASEAN visitors in Singapore as well.
Q: We are curious – what do you usually do during the weekends or during your free time?
A: I enjoy wine and dine. Weekends are often about trying out new food and places with my family. It’s bonding time, and food is often one of the topic that we share, including trying out new creations from and at Xi Yan as well.
Q: After the pandemic, what is the first thing you would like to do? Any activities in particular or country you would like to travel to?
A: Post pandemic, when travel is possible and convenient, I would love to revisit Japan, China or Taiwan, whichever comes first.
Q: If you could turn back time, what is one thing you might have done differently?
A: I would have probably expanded Xi Yan more aggressively and rapidly beyond private dining after its initial few years of opening in Singapore
Photos shared by Thomas:
To make a reservation:
Xi Yan @ Maxwell, Modern Dining and Bar
Maxwell Chambers Suites, 28 Maxwell Road,#01-15/17, S069120
Call +65 6220 3546, WhatsApp +65 8228 8880
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