The “Atas” Zi Char

The “Atas” Zi Char

That occasional splurging on high-class zi char.
Siming T
Siming T

In their refreshed menu, Lao Beijing had their Wagyu Beef Truffle “Hor Fun” (S$40.80), which had their Hor Fun done two ways: the conventional stir-fry and also the less seen fried crispy version. Slices of wagyu was layed atop the dish, before topped with a half-boiled egg. This noodle dish was served dry, with the beef and truffle gravy by the side to be poured in when ready to eat.

This dish would have made a nice finish to a meal after a couple of sharing plates, because the “wok hei”, crispy rice noodles, beef gravy, aromatic truffle and juicy beef slices made the carbs very enjoyable for the palates. On the other hand, not that the dish came in a large serving, but given the price point and the degree of satisfaction, I would say that it’s good enough to be shared between 2 to 4 persons. I reckoned too much of good stuff would not necessarily make it more satisfying.

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One of the more memorable dishes of the dinner was their Homemade Tofu with Minced Meat (S$15.00).

I would definitely agree that the big slab of homemade tofu here was already silky smooth and tasty on its own. With the additional stuff like minced meat, mushrooms, salted fish, chopped Kailan and chicken floss, and not forgetting that flavourful thickened gravy, this dish would go so well with plain rice, and would be a all-ages crowd pleaser.

For those who use Burpple Beyond, this dish would also be eligible for a one-for-one Main Dish deal, so this should go on the “must try” items, provided you were not after a vegetarian meal.

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The Chilli Crab is such a celebrated dish in Singapore, and of course it would make absolute sense to offer that here. Not sure if I got it right, but the gravy here seemed to also carry a surprise ingredient — chopped peanuts. But instead of turning it into a Satay sauce, I thought the peanuts added a subtle fragrance to the already tasty gravy, and that to me was a plus for sure.

And just like what my fellow diners had rightly pointed, it only would make sense if we finished the gravy with lots of fried Mantou or bowls or plain rice. I felt the spice level of the gravy was on point, but I might also prefer the tanginess to be slightly elevated, just to make the dish less “gelak”.

Seasonal price would apply for this dish, so check out the prices before ordering if interested!

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With the easing of Safe Management Measures this week, one of the most anticipated dinner situations would be to sit around a round table and enjoy sharing plates and communal eating. And with that, the Seafood Platter would be something not to be missed.

Made with an array of seafood such as baby lobsters, green mussels, scallops, “La La”, prawns, crayfish and crab, together with other key ingredients like quail eggs, corn, lettuce and black fungus, the fullness was also amplified by portions of Tang Hoon and noodles. There was also a choice of chicken or Mala broth to suit the crowd’s preference of a light or an intense flavour. Portion-wise, this could probably serve a group of five or six, but definitely not a letdown for even a full round table of 10 pax.

While this dish is usually offered at a seasonal price, for S$68.00 this was a pretty good deal.

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The Zesty Garlic Butter variant of the Live Crab Combo would probably be a more organised mess as compared to those done in other sauce options, as it had to be served in the bowl. Pouring the contents out of the bowl could potentially mean that the butter would flow off the table.

And at S$108.00, this combo would come with a live Sri Lankan Crab (approximately 800g), 350g of prawns, 350g of flower clams, corn and chicken sausage. Personally, I was quite pleased with the rich garlic flavours that came with the fragrance of butter. On the other hand, this must be eaten while it was still warm, otherwise the sauce might be a bit “gelak”.

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Launched as their anniversary special for 2021 and also as a collaboration menu with celebrity artiste Li Nanxing, The Ultimate Trio was a dry version of the seafood combo that truly deserved a special mention.

Comprising a live crab (approximately 800g), soft shell crab, fresh prawns, Pacific Bocourti Fillet and popcorn, the items were stir-fried with Li’s special Scallop Hae Bee Hiam. Other than the spicy fragrance, the food was exceptionally crispy and delicious while served warm. Some might even want to ask for a spoon just to scoop and eat the HBH like it was some crispy rice.

Compared to the standard Live Crab Combo, this S$133.00 special was something I would recommend while it was still on the menu. However, it would also be advisable to reserve a set prior, as they were also available in limited quantities daily.

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Garlic fried rice might not be a novelty, but serving it on a hotplate with bacon, roe and garlic chips added a small theatrical sizzling effect on the Garlic Sizzling Rice (S$25.00) that was served at Mad For Garlic.

While I would have hoped that there was more garlic in the dish, I was thankful that I could use my Burpple Beyond privileges here to get another item, just to have a bit of variety to the dining table. Portion-wise, the food was good for up to two persons, but I was sure that anyone would not turn down some variety, given that having this alone might be a bit too much to stomach.

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One of the restaurant’s proudest dishes that was truly amazing was their signature Roast Chicken (S16.00) on their dinner menu, which was their take on our hawker favourite — chicken rice! What we did not know was that they insisted on making this dish with fresh (not frozen) chicken, which probably explained why the meat was so juicy and tender. However, it also required some skill to create a contrasting crispy chicken skin that wrapped the meat so well.

Small in size but not little in punch, the quinoa rice appeared to have soaked up some of the chicken essences, giving it a naturally-sinful taste. Most of the other stuff on the plate were what we would commonly spot on a good plate of chicken rice, but I thought that the dish was really impressive and lived up to expectations. Plus, the Burpple Beyond deals made it look like the money was working really hard to secure the meal.

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Being seated indoors might be a little less cooling than the al fresco setting, but the excitement came every time the staff served the food, especially this Pork Lovers (S$19.00) main course that could also double up as a sharing platter. In this dish, I got to taste pork belly done two ways: braised and roasted.

The braised pork (“lor bak”) was marinated in Coca Cola before braising, so that rather than being flavoured by soy sauce and spices, the meat from here was still fragrant without losing the original flavours of pork belly. While staying substantial, I was hoping for the meat to be slow-cooked a while longer, perhaps to reach a point where the braised pork could achieve that “melt in the mouth” effect.

On the other side of the plate, their roasted pork (“sio bak”) fared equally well. This time, the meat was juicy with the thin layer of crackling pig skin, which was marinated with Sichuan pepper. Having that with some of the chilli sauce dip made every chew so delightful, I hoped that I had some fragrant rice and soy sauce to go with the meal, just like what we would have from coffee shops.

Too much protein in a meal? No worries, for this would also be available as a Main Course deal that could be redeemed by Burpple Beyond, so one could just order another main course and some ginger rice, and that would be a hearty dinner before browsing their drinks menu.

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In the midst of all the crowds on Cloud9 Piazza at level 5 of Jewel Changi Airport was a beer corner that served Tiger beer. Other than grabbing a pint of beer or two (maybe even more), they offered some fancy beer grub to pair with the beer they serve.

The Chilli Soft Shell Crab (S$15.00) was not the most favourable in terms of serving portion, as there were only two halves of soft shell crabs on the dining table. The chilli crab sauce was a tad watery, so while the sauce could coat the seafood well by dipping, it was difficult to cover the Mantou well. In fact, those who liked a little more sauce could consider adding on another portion of sauce at S$2.00.

Surprisingly, I was more than pleased with their fried Mantou. While it might be an ordinary bun tossed into oil, the bun just tasted nice with a golden crispy exterior.

The shop was located right beside Privé which took up the seats nearer to the HSBC Rain Vortex, so if you desired to watch the light shows while “da”-ing your beer, be advised that you’ll probably not be able to.

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Perhaps this item had slipped my sight a few times already, but I thought of giving it a try since I had already ordered other sorts of appetisers before this.

Rojak was probably perceived as a well-known hawker food in Singapore. Over here, sliced cucumbers and pineapples were covered in Rojak sauce (read: sweet) before the chef dropped fried calamari sticks (wait, it’s actually not cuttlefish?) on the Rojak like playing pick-up sticks. Surprisingly, the taste of the fusion was quite interesting, as I noticed myself dipping the calamari into the sauce and eating them together with the Rojak. Quite a nice appetiser actually, for a whole table of us for S$15.00.

I must also remind everyone that Rojak sauce is largely in the sweet side, so try not to swallow down too much of it at one go.

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One might simply question if it was worth having a S$16.00 curry chicken when this could be ordered at less than half the price elsewhere, but I bet that their Nyonya Chicken Curry could not be compared with this one here.

And it was not only because of some fancy presentation in a claypot. The curry packed some traditional spices and cooked till it was sufficiently spicy and umami, and was relatively thick (I need some baguette for this!). Dipped in the curry were many chunks of deboned chicken with cut potatoes, and the proportion was indeed reasonable. The portion, on the other hand, was quite big, to the point that I almost could not finish the rice. And if the flavours were too “gelak”, please have some Achar to cleanse the palate a bit.

In general, I would definitely vouch that Pacific Marketplace was not just about their Lobster Laksa, for this cheaper option had been underrated for too long.

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Siming T

Level 9 Burppler · 1179 Reviews

First world problem: What to eat for the next meal?

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