China-style Chinese

China-style Chinese

Featuring Alexandra Village Food Centre, Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre, People's Park Complex Food Centre, Ri Ri Hong Mala Xiang Guo (People's Park Complex Food Centre), Kazu Sumiyaki Restaurant, Chong Qing Grilled Fish (Liang Seah), Hand in Hand Beijing Restaurant, Rasapura Masters, Xi Yan Casual Dining (Shaw Centre), Funan
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

I have never had a “ma la xiang guo” with more “wok hei” than the one from “Wang Zai Kitchen” (stall #01-03 at Jalan Batu Food Centre). It’s definitely due to the hawker’s technique as well as the fact that he takes his time to fry. Together, they imbue whatever ingredients you choose with a tantalising “roasty” smokiness. That plus the crunchy pork lard I ALWAYS request for, propel their version of this popular highly-customisable dish to heights other stalls can only dream of.

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西安即象, a Chinese eatery introduced to me by Renae once upon a time, serves cheap and authentic China-Chinese food that is hearty and tasty. I paid it a visit again yesterday and repeated my order of Biang Biang Noodles ($5), the same item I had previously but asked for it to be extra spicy.
This dish requires some elbow grease to ensure the fresh, hand-made, ultra-broad noodles are properly mixed with the stewed tomato sauce, dried chilli spices, chopped scallions, small bits of omelette, a smattering of raw garlic, some bok choy and big beansprouts (yes, it’s vegetarian).
If you aren’t into chewy noodles, skip this because your jaw is guaranteed a proper workout here but that’s what I love about it. Flavours are tasty - good enough to satisfy my craving since travel is not possible nowadays.
As this humble eatery is located on the outside of People’s Park Complex along the row facing the hawker centre, seating is limited to a few tables and chairs on the narrow stretch that separates the building from the bustling hawker centre at Blk 32 New Market Road. So try to avoid the usual peak hours if you can help it.

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“Good Come Again”.
What a prescient name this Chinese eatery has because all I want to do after every visit is to return.
When I circled back there recently, it was for the simplest of meals - a plate of Stirfried Cabbage and a dish of Pig’s Heart (shown above).
The former, a deceptively plain-looking thing, always captivates with a nifty nuanced flavour profile thanks to a mix of numbing Szechuan spice, the stealthy heat of dried chillies and a dash of vinegar.
As for the latter which is served at room temperature, “brazen” would be a more apt description as the cut-up pieces of boiled pig’s heart were tossed with a tonne of raw minced garlic, thick slices of scallions, big red chillies, fresh coriander and crunchy peanuts. At times, the raw garlic did burn a little but I soldiered on because tastiness superseded in leaps and bounds.

H O S T E D
A week ago, my parents and I were invited to have dinner at the newest @yunnanssg. To celebrate the opening of their third outlet (it’s in @nex.singapore), ten NEW dishes have been created. They are exclusive to this outlet until end October 2020. After which, they can be found on the menu at the other #Yunnanssg restaurants too.
One of these new items is the Steam Pot Chicken Soup with Yunnan Red Mushrooms ($13.90 for individual serving). It’s fragrant but I prefer the version with Matsutake Mushroom ($14.90).
Another was the Deep Fried Pork Fillet with Homemade Spicy Dip ($9.90). We couldn’t stop munching on the crunchy meat, especially after dunking them in the garlicky, spicy and sour green sauce.
The Crispy Duck with Dried Chillies ($15.90) was the third new dish we had and it was also marvelous. Featuring fresh duck deboned by hand and cut into strips, it was stir-fried with chillies from Yunnan's Qiubei county and crispy broad beans. The result was mouthwatering in fragrant spiciness .
We enjoyed the fourth, a Poached Seabass in Spicy Pickled Vegetable Broth ($28.90) immensely as well. Two of Yunnan's mustard greens in pickled form were used to superb effect in the soup base here, along with pickled and freshly ground fresh chillies.
Although it’s been on the menu since Yunnans arrived in Singapore, I‘d never tried the Beef Stew in Copper Pot till that day. And I liked it a lot as the gravy was wonderfully spicy, the sliced meat, tender, and the vegetables (both fresh and pickled), were aplenty.
Hitting all the right notes as always was the Poached Pork Collar. My parents and I have never not ordered it whenever we visit Yunnans in Jewel Changi, the outlet closest to us.
We also sampled the new dish of Sautéed Asparagus with Mushrooms and Golden Fungus ($14.90). Sourced from the highlands of Yun Nan in China, the latter is purportedly good for complexion and immunity.
Hailing from the same region was the Wheat Pumpkin ($7.90) - its texture a cross between a pumpkin and a gourd. It was served grilled to acentuate its natural sweetness, and topped with special spices.
Inspired by our local Fried Hokkien Mee, the new Stir Fried Yunnan Rice Noodles with Assorted Seafood 海鲜虾汤炒米线 ($12.90) was rich in umami-ness thanks to the use of @yunnanssg’s signature prawn broth. What made it extra irresistible to me was the killer housemade Sambal Belachan it came with.
For dessert, @chua.reuben recommended us the house-made Brown Sugar Jelly with Rose Puree ($6.90). Its floral note and gentle sweetness suited us well.
We also decided to add on the humble looking Buckwheat pancakes. Warm and a little fluffy, they had a toasty taste and were delightful with a drizzle of honey.

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I am really darn happy @kazusumiyakirestaurant is continuing with their takeaway in Phase 2 because ever since @kenloon introduced it to me, a re-order has been inevitable as my family enjoyed this a lot the first time.
So what can you find in Kazu Sumiyaki’s “Yaki Chirashi”? Well, the question should be what CAN’T you find! 😆 Because apart from the beak and feathers, I’m pretty sure the whole chicken has made its way in there. Ok, that may be an exaggeration 🙃.
But do let me share with you what I’ve personally found and gobbled up from that vast terrain of charcoal-grilled ingredients spread on a base of tastily-seasoned rice. There’s plenty of tender boneless chicken meat, springy gizzard, creamy liver, crunchy cartilage, flavourful chicken meatballs, quail’s eggs, julienned strips of omelette, mushroom, baby corn, sweet corn, tomatoes, lady’s finger, asparagus, shishito (Japanese green chilli) and tiny pieces of gleaming preserved lemon. All twirled together in a perfume of intoxicating smokiness. Every mouthful is a surprise because you never know what exactly is in there. And that’s part of the charm. By the way, this platter is a steal at $50 since it can feed 3 to 4 pax.

Do note that as @kazusumiyakirestaurant has started dine-in for dinner, takeaway orders have to be collected between 4.30pm and 6pm now. To place one, please WhatsApp:

9̲1̲5̲9̲ ̲5̲9̲7̲3̲

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I finally made it down today to the Chinatown Point outlet (there’s another at Tiong Bahru Plaza) of Tongue Tip Lanzhou Beef Noodles. Originating in Lanzhou, Gansu province where many Chinese Muslims call home, this halal chain of restaurants is hugely popular in China with over 300 branches.
As it was my first visit, I decided to go for the Signature Beef Noodles (large: $10.90). From the available 8 types of pulled-to-order noodles, I chose the Thin and the (Big) Flat to try. They impressed me so much I dare say the #noodles here is one of the best I’ve encountered in Singapore. Personal preference for melt-in-the-mouth softness or an al dente chewiness would dictate a customer’s selection. What’s consistent though is an irresistible silkiness.
The clear MSG-free beef broth made from simmering 15 spices for about 10 hours is remarkably tasty. Whether you choose to have it with their special chilli oil (it’s less insane than the numbing fieriness of “mala”), it’s a pleasure to sip regardless. I love how each bowl is spammed with fresh coriander but if that makes you shudder, just ask for the herb to be omitted. Customisation isn’t frowned upon here thankfully. The slices of halal-certified beef shank are thin, tender and tasty too.
If you are like me and welcome the tangy cut-through afforded by vinegar, do request for some. I find it adds a flavour facet that gives the overall taste a mouthwatering lift.

They should still be doing islandwide delivery, so do tap on @tonguetipbeefnoodles’ link-in-bio on Instagram if you want to enjoy their offerings at home.

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H O S T E D
Bubbling away in the tomato gravy are pieces of Patin fish and cubes of tofu. The unctuous fatty flesh and smooth skin of this species of fish is on the rich side but that is precisely why @yunnanssg’ preparation style is genius. The thick-ish tomato-based soup not only adds a welcome tangyness that helps with cut-through but because of the spices thrown into it as well, the dish is infinitely more aromatic and complex in taste than its name suggests.
This was one of my mum’s favourite dishes from our hosted dinner.

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H O S T E D
My favourite from amongst the BBQ items we got to try at Yunnans restaurant was, surprise surprise, the zucchini.
The heat from the grill brought out the best in this vegetable, rendering it supremely juicy. Which was a wonderful study in contrast when I bit into it because the coating of dry aromatic spice rub engulfed the moist sweet pulp in the most exquisite way to create a marriage of incredible mouthfeel and flavour.

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H O S T E D
Right off the bat, Yun Nans surpassed our expectations. Service was kind and thoughtful, and this was before the staff knew we were there as hosted guests.
The cuisine at this Chinese restaurant triggered raves from start to finish, with the highest praise coming from my hard-to-please mother. We got to meet the youthful CEO, Mr. Lu Zhi Tao, whom we found, for someone who co-owns a chain of over 170 restaurants, is very humble and down-to-earth. He shared a lot about their brand concept, and explained the signature dishes in detail such how their custom-made bocarro claypots makes it possible for their Steamed Pot Chicken Soups to be cooked without a drop of water. We tried the NEW one with Matsutake mushroom (exclusive to their new second outlet at Westgate Mall) and thought it tasted magnificent - like sipping on the purest essence of chicken with the bonus of juicy mushrooms to munch on.
What makes the brand stand out is that they procure many of their ingredients from the highlands of the Yunnan Province. So besides being able to offer unique specialities to customers, Yun Nans supports many farmers‘ livelihoods.
Their extensive menu has over 60 items. I recommend starting with chilled appetisers like Spiced Beef Shank and the recently-launched Century Egg with Grilled Capsicum.
Then move on to bigger dishes such as Wild Porcini Mushrooms stirfried with Dried Chilli (both from Yunnan), Pork Neck with Herbs and the recently-launched Steamed Red Grouper with Green Peppercorns (we loved this especially!).
Yunnan is also big on BBQ food so you can find Seabass with Lemongrass on the menu, as well as local Tiger prawns, chicken wings, pork belly, zucchini (my fave) and more, all rubbed in aromatic dry spices and grilled till smoky perfection.
For carbs, the Westgate branch has a NEW Crispy Hor Fun with Yunnan Truffle Prawn BrotH that is texturally playful. But we felt their existing dishes, like the classic noodle dish of 云南过桥米线 and fried rice with minced pork and preserved vegetables, were just as satisfying.
More of Yunnan’s produce is showcased in desserts. One of them, the Double Boiled Pear with Golden Fungus and Snow Lotus which we were served, was so soothing and lovely. It really was the best way to end our feast.

H O S T E D
This is NOT your typical “mala hotpot” experience. It’s upscale (think comfortable and elegant dining space complete with a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area) and food-wise, delivers in terms of being audaciously fragrant and fiercely spicy.
At $60++ for 2 pax, the Mala Set Meal at “Auntie’s Wok & Steam” on the 25th floor of Andaz Singapore Hotel is without a doubt, very good value. Not only do you get to choose from three kinds of premium proteins (Barramundi, Kurobuta pork and Wagyu beef) to be stirfried very well with black fungi and mushrooms in a housemade blend of uber aromatic “mala” spices, but the set also includes a plate of fiery Firecracker Fried Chicken (we love that they cut the meat into big boneless pieces), steamed organic rice that has a really pleasant taste, and four icy-cold bottles of Andaz Pale Ale.
Adding on a plate of stirfried vegetables is a good idea in my opinion as it helps make the meal more balanced.

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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.

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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.

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