The “Atas” Zi Char

The “Atas” Zi Char

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

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.

#BurppleEatup
#BurppleBeyond

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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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With some effort put into the plating, the Deep-fried Pork Ribs with Minced Garlic (S$16.80) comes with six pieces of pork ribs that are dry on the outside but still a little tender and juicy inside. If I can be a little unglamourous, I will just pick up the rib and eat it with my hands.

However, if I am coming back the next time, this will not be a dish I will order again. This is because the ribs had lost its original taste during the deep fried process, and the dryness and garnishing had stolen much of the limelight. Somehow, I could not identify the specialty of this dish.

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This plate of Ribs King (排骨王) is like an upgraded version of sweet and sour pork, because they use the meat from pork ribs to prepare this. So the end product are slices of real tender and juicy pork ribs (deboned) coated with a good balance of sweet and sour sauce.

To be honest, when I ordered this S$12.00 dish (small size) for sharing, I did not expect the portion to be so big. But after taking my first taste of it, I wondered why the plate was emptied so quickly.

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A must-have delicacy of Kian Seng Seafood Restaurant, the skin is so crispy and the underside meat and fat is oh-so-juicy. Every piece of it is so precious, only the pig head remains in no time.

This piglet simply received the highest honour and a standing ovation when it rested on the dining table.

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No doubt that the seafood here is pretty good, but I will say, go for the Pork Ribs with Pepper and Salt (S$15.00).

If you want something different from the popular salted egg yolk gravy, the pork ribs is first deep fried, then wok fried with salt and pepper. Unlike the Prawn Paste Chicken which boasts a more fragrant and savoury flavour, this way of cooking actually brings out the authentic and unpretentious taste of pork. And while it's good on its own without additional chilli or soy sauce, I would say that it complements the vegetable dishes with your bowl of plain rice.

This is an awesome appetiser to start off a meal. Deep fried Shimeji mushrooms garnished with salt and pepper, perfect to go with your mug of beer.

Warning: This can be as addictive as potato chips.

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This is what I would call a creative presentation of a zi char food: two cooking styles of hor fun (deep-fried and stir-fried), fresh clams ("la la" King) and rich starchy broth. Put them together with that "wok hei" (镬气) and you get this Deep Fried Flat Noodles with La La King (脆香鸳鸯拉拉王河粉). A small portion (S$18.00) is sufficient for 3 persons to share. The catch is this: I don't think all outlets serve this dish (only in Dempsey and Kallang as far as I know), and it tends to sell out halfway through the dinner shift.

Extra tip: Make a table reservation early so that you will not be offered an outdoor open-air table. It's not a good idea for that, especially after the rain.

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