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China-style Chinese

China-style Chinese

Featuring Birds of a Feather, Chong Qing Grilled Fish (Liang Seah), Ri Ri Hong Mala Xiang Guo (People's Park Complex Food Centre), Hand in Hand Beijing Restaurant, Alexandra Village Food Centre, Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre, People's Park Complex Food Centre, Riverside Grilled Fish, Xiang Yuan Ji Shanghai Pan Fried Dumpling, Rasapura Masters
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

My mum and I enjoyed our order of “Ma La Xiang Guo” from stall #01-42 at Alexandra Village Food Centre. Operated by a mainland Chinese couple, their spectrum of spiciness is on the bolder end, so our bowl of 中辣 (medium level of spiciness) had me panting and continually reaching for a sip of my drink. We found their version really fragrant - definitely a notch above many out there. It also has a distinctive element of curry in its flavour profile. We were fine with it but if you are fussy about having only the “ma” and the “la” in your hotpot, then this might not be suitable.

When Renae, a foodie friend of mine, asked me if I would like to try some good and authentic "Biang Biang Noodles", I said yes at once. It did take a while though for us to find a date that worked but our trip to People’s Park Complex was a fruitful one on all accounts.
The eatery is located outside the building and faces the hawker centre. It has a black signboard with the Chinese words “西安印象” and a perpetual queue of Chinese nationals either waiting to place, collect or wolf down their orders at the few tables situated in front. The air crackles with energy as you approach the food shops lined along that stretch and the authenticity is undeniably loud and proud.
Renae did the ordering and that is how I had a serving of Biang Biang Noodles as well as two Pork Buns (she must think I have a bottomless pit 😂), while she had a plate of 西安传统拌面 (Xi’an traditional mixed noodles) and the two of us shared a plate of braised pig’s ears.
I really enjoyed the broad and extremely long handmade noodles from this stall. Smooth, soft but enjoyably chewy, there was probably a total of two ribbons of noodle per plate - just like the last Biang Biang Noodles I ate in, of all places, New York. This stall’s version differs from that as it is a touch sweeter and has a refreshing burst from smashed fresh tomatoes, raw chopped garlic and plenty of beansprouts. I must say, I‘d spam it with chilli the next time for a bigger kick.

I don’t recall seeing this dish on the menu during my previous visits but since bittergourd with salted egg is something my parents and I like, ordering it was a no-brainer.
Sliced at a very sharp angle into thin, broad pieces, the bittergourd was medium-soft to the bite and retained a certain juiciness as well as its innate flavour. There was sufficient salted egg yolk sauce to coat the vegetable evenly but not to overwhelm.
Bottom line: It’s appetising enough to qualify as a new must-have for us.

Instead of our usual orders at “Hand In Hand Beijing Restaurant”, we decided to try two new kinds of dumplings on our most recent visit, of which this Fish Meat Dumplings was one of them. I really like how light and fresh both skin and filling taste, which isn’t surprising considering how all their dumplings are made by hand fresh on the premises. Chopped chives are mixed into the soft filling too, giving it additional fragrance. I relished this dumpling most swished through black vinegar and topped with shredded pickled ginger.

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These spicy and salt-seasoned fried sardines were really addictive. Each fish, measuring between 4 to 5 inches, came coated in a thin crunchy batter and was completely edible from its bones and fins to its head and tail.
Pretty sure they‘d go very well with beer.

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A simple looking dish that will bowl you over in fragrance and flavour. The eggplant which has been boiled, skinned and chilled has a texture that’s soft but retains a little bite which I enjoy. Over it goes a giant dollop of blended smoky green peppers, its heady aroma and spicy taste bringing a raucous party to an otherwise clean tasting dish. I do think this and the Crispy Fried Pig’s Intestines ($5.50), are side dishes worth getting to share when you visit this noodle joint.

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A simple but flavourful side dish, the eggplant which has been boiled, skinned and chilled looks pristine. The texture is soft but retains some bite which I enjoy. On top of the neat pile of eggplant is a giant dollop of blended smoky green peppers, its heady aroma and spicy taste bringing the party to this otherwise clean tasting dish.

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Highly recommended by my friend Angeline, the “Australian Ox Tongue with Vine Pepper Soup” suited my tastebuds to a T.
The soup appears light and clear but it possesses the intoxicating fragrance of Sichuan peppers and enough spiciness for a solid kick. The “mian yang” or rice noodles I chose, also based on her suggestion, was ideal as it absorbed the soup nicely. Slurping up the very soft silky strands (they bear a striking resemblance to “mee sua”) was sheer pleasure.
“Chuan Hung” offers a list of toppings to load up your bowl of noodles with if you should choose to. Priced between $1 and $5.50, they range from the conventional (eg. fried egg, braised beef, seaweed) to the unusual (chicken innards anyone?). I am glad I decided to add on a fried egg for $2 more because the serving of ox tongue in my noodle was quite small.

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One of the dishes I use to have quite a lot whenever I visited China was the 番茄炒蛋 (“Egg with Tomato”). A simple stirfry of fluffy eggs and soft, juicy wedges of tomatoes, it’s the kind of comfort food I frequently seeked out, especially during the colder months. And I always had it cooked fresh with a bowl of hot rice.
Recently, I found a stall inside Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre that specialises in mainland dishes, and they happen to serve the same 番茄炒蛋 with noodles. It’s a combo that works well too because the soup becomes sweetened a little by the tomatoes.
The stall also has about half a dozen 小菜 (appetisers) on display that you can pick - they make a good side dish or an appetising snack with beer. I tried the crunchy strips of pig’s ears tossed in a mild “ma la” dressing and found it really addictive.

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It‘s thanks to Chef Alan (@malaccamakanking on Instagram) that I found out about the Mapo Tofu at this eatery on Japan Besar. According to him, it comes closest to the unforgettable one he had in China.
I must agree - “Hand In Hand Beijing” certainly does a very satisfying version. It is superbly fragrant and boasts of a heightened complexity in spiciness. And most importantly, it packs a big chilli-hot kick.
In fact, I would consider this a close second to my favourite Mapo Tofu at two Michelin starred “Shisen Hanten” located in the Mandarin Hotel.

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My dad was craving noodle soup when we visited this eatery for the first time, so I chose their Homestyle Noodles for him. My mum and I ended up sharing it with him as the serving was pretty hearty. It’s very similar in taste to one of the noodle dishes at “Old House” on Neil Road that we like - both have a sweet-from-pork-and-clams soup that is a tad starchy (probably from the flour of the “la mian”). Unlike that one, this has no seafood - only flimsy slices of pork belly and mushrooms, vegetables, crispy ikan bilis and an egg, but it was tasty enough. Fresh “khng chye” (coriander) is used as a garnish, something I love as it adds a distinct fragrance to the dish.

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I found out about this place because Chef Alan (Instagram: @malaccamakanking) had raved about their Mapo Tofu.
Although I didn’t order it when I took my parents there (dad had a sore throat and couldn’t eat spicy food), the other items we ordered turned out to be really satisfying.
In general, I would say the dishes are fresh tasting and not as salty or oily in comparison to other eateries serving the same type of cuisine. The other thing I noticed on our visit is the customers present were all Chinese nationals. Now that is a clear sign of authenticity of cuisine.
Shown above is the Fried Dumplings with Leek, Pork and Shrimp. The elongated dumplings are thin of skin and have a lightly-seasoned filling. They’re finished with a layer of batter poured into the pan just before serving to bind them in a shatteringly crisp, delicate sheet of “lace”. I thought the dumplings tasted good eaten on their own, smeared with the chili paste or dipped in black vinegar.
We will definitely be back to try more of Hand In Hand Beijing Restaurant’s rather extensive menu.

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Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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