Asian

Asian

Chinese, Korean, Thai, you name it!
Nobelle Liew
Nobelle Liew

The hallmarks of a good sheng jian bao, to me, is a soft, fluffy, relatively thin and slightly elastic wrapper with a beautifully golden and crunchy bottom + characteristically xlb-like juices bursting right out on the first bite. I’ve heard a lot about Ding Tele’s sheng jian baos so I was super excited to try em — especially since I wasn’t gonna get my fix overseas anytime soon. They were indeed tasty and really not too shabby, buuuuut I was a wee disappointed tbh. Don’t get me wrong: super tasty mince they nailed; crisp pan-fried bottoms a big thumbs up; shiok bursting juices also a yay. What I found lacking was their technique in sealing the little baos. See that disproportionate amount of dough at the base? If you zoom in you’d notice that the mass of dough’s quite dry in the middle, while the rest of the bao dough’s rather silky smooth and hydrated.

Just as how I very much enjoy a simple plate of scrambled eggs, it’s sometimes the most unassuming of dishes that turn out to be the most satisfying and impressive. When this nondescript claypot was brought out, I honestly didn’t expect much from it. “Our claypot fish is made in a very special way,” said Mr Ng of 40+ year-old Kia Hiang. “We place the fish on top of some ginger and garlic, so it bakes from the trapped heat without coming into contact with the surface of the claypot or any liquids.” He explained that this will prevent those wrinkles/creases from forming on the fish, resulting in silky smooth and tender slices of fish. I took a bite, spiked with a healthy dose of skepticism mind you, and was absolutely and utterly floored by how delicious it was. The slices of perfectly baked fish are as good as Mr Ng described them — possibly even better. So so soft, juicy, silky and smooth, while still firm and holding its structure; completely unadorned so you can really taste the fresh fish and its natural sorta sweetness. Fuss-free, no frills, but nothing short of stunning.

1 Like

I have no patience for Jay Fai (I’m sorry!!!), so meanwhile I’ll settle for The Salted Plum’s crab omelette 😛 For what it’s worth, this is a really good crab omelette. I mean there’s tons — like seriously a lot — of fresh, juicy, and sweet crab meat in there, and real big lumps too (not those mushy ass canned ones). And that’s really the most important ingredient eh? Yes omelette was nice, but damn the amount of crab in there sealed the deal for me.

4 Likes

How good could it be? I’ll set the record straight today: this dish is pretty damn fkin good. You’ve got tender chunks of chicken thigh boasting blackened charred bits (that are so addictive btw), just lightly seasoned, but oof packing such a punch you’d be sporting a leaking nose in no time. I was super impressed with huge kick of chilli here, especially with how it ain’t a flat kinda spicy, but a more nuanced one layered with the smoky charred bits and different aromatic veggies used. The portion’s really generous as well yknow, if you need another reason to order this other than it’s bloody delicious.

5 Likes

I’ve always loved the Cantonese classic cold dish of chilled tofu with century eggs and pork floss, and I thought ok there’s no way anyone can make this humble dish any better. Until I tasted Fook Kin’s that came with ikura. Those little ruby pops of saline, sweet, oceany goodness added such an unexpected burst of flavour I was just digging through the plate for more! Given how flavourful the other ingredients were though, I’d have preferred the sauce to be the regular soy sauce+vinegar mix instead of the starchy salty one they served. It made the originally light starter a little to heavy for my taste.

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I'm a big fan of dang gui roasted duck (read: Ya Wang/Dian Xiao Er), so there was no way I wasn’t trying Fook Kin’s rendition after seeing it on the menu. If we’re simply commenting on the roast duck, I have to say they did a bang on job. Skin was thin, fantastically browned and crisp, with a nice hint of the spices used in marinated the duck. The meat itself was equally satisfying, both tender and flavourful. Thing is, though, there’re plenty of good roast ducks in Singapore and what makes a dang gui duck a dang gui duck is the herbs and accompanying sauce it’s served with. I could definitely taste the aromatic herbs in the sauce as well as the characteristic bitterness brought by the dang gui/angelica herb, but unfortunately it was way too bitter. Instead of bringing about a pleasant contrast to the otherwise rich sauce, the bitterness overwhelmed it all and ended up overpowering the duck. I actually ended up dipping the duck in different sauces just to balance it out.

4 Likes

I remember back when they used to be called “Five Ten” and dishes were literally priced at $5/10, so when I popped by The Salted Plum I was more than a little taken aback by the price hike. Where I could get little nuggets of fried chicken with nori butter at $5, I could now only get cucumber or peanuts at the same price 🙃 Still I ain’t gonna complain cause I still maintain they sell among the best Taiwanese restaurant chows in Singapore. Take their Lala: sweet sweet sweeeeet clams are stir-fried with Taiwanese pesto (flavour’s very similar to preserved veggies I reckon) then topped with crispy pork croutons, resulting in a fantastically addictive and umami-packed dish and pork croutons. It was so packed with flavour I literally COULD. NOT. STOP.

2 Likes

Given my recent addiction to Izy Fook, I popped by Roast Paradise’s other collab and was as pleased with their roast pork and char siew. It’s easy to say “oh you like Roast Paradise anyway so it’s not a surprise to enjoy Fook Kin”; but what most don’t realise is maintaining consistency, especially across multiple eateries, is so so challenging. Take that fabulous standard of quality control and the resulting succulent roast meats, it’s simply impossible not to have every meal end in sheer bliss. If you can’t down so much meat though, I’d definitely suggest giving the char siew a go. You can find lots of good roast pork around Singapore — not that that downplays how good Fook Kin’s is — but I feel it’s not as easy to find char siew done as fantastically as theirs.

2 Likes

I remember one of my favourite street chows in hcmc being their steamed rice rolls, essentially their take on the local chee cheong fun. Seeing it on MOC Cottages’s menu won a big 😍 from me, yet elicitated a huge 😱 when we saw the $14 price tag. How much can they possibly zhng this $1 street food to warrant that price, I thought. But then, look at that HEAP of pork on the rice rolls. Discounting flavour entirely, just that massive pile of chargrilled pork makes it completely worth the buck. And then you factor in the soft, silky, smooth rice rolls, the bed of fresh herbs and greens, and an amazing nuoc cham sauce on the side — absolutely gorgeous. Ain’t gonna lie, this completely turned the tables after their lacklustre banh mi.

3 Likes

Coated in a thin, crunchy, golden batter, this simple dish of Ren-kon and Tamafura (deep-fried lotus root and onion rings) stole my heart. Great batter aside - and that's half the battle won, mind you - I loved how earthy and sweet the root vegetables were, holding firm on their own and shining through that batter. The lotus root for one still retained a kinda muted crunch, cooked al dente if you would call it such; and the onion - oh-so-moist, sweet, and just melting in your mouth.

Little golden potstickers, stuffed to the max with juicy mince and chives, pan-fried to a perfect crisp. The skin's thin, light, and surprisingly grease-free. Dunk that into some strong black vinegar, and top it with loads of shredded ginger: 😋😋😋

Dubbed the Chinese 🍕, it's essentially a flaky, buttery pastry, filled with flavourful, juicy mince and lots of chives. Aside from how plain delish this is (not that anyone could ignore that), I really liked that it wasn't oily, and didn't leave any unpleasant residual greasy mouthfeel. The initial silence, and sighs of approval that ensued, was a huge clue as to how much we all loved it.

3 Likes

Spending all my time eating (and eating) cause what else is there to do in small 🌞🌞 Singapore?

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