Tze Char

Tze Char

Featuring Seng Kee Black Chicken Herbal Soup (Kembangan), Kok Sen Restaurant, Enjoy Eating House and Bar (Jalan Besar), Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant, Lian Soon Huat Seafood (Yishun), Rasa Istimewa Waterfront Restaurant, Penang Seafood Restaurant, Penang Seafood Restaurant
Pat Jon
Pat Jon

Deep-fried chicken wings that were marinated in shrimp paste and these were really yummy! The wings were fantastic as they were served piping hot and as such, you may want to be careful before eating them. The dish costs $14++ and do take note that there are only 6 wings, so you may need to order any serving if you are visiting in a bigger group. Definitely a pretty decent appetiser!

We decided to order a fish dish and as we wanted something with gravy, we went with the crispy Barramundi with red curry! The dish is especially great for sharing as the serving size was pretty generous - it is probably more than enough to feed 5 persons. The fish itself was deep-fried; exterior was pretty crispy and the restaurant was kind enough to separate the meat from the bones so that everyone has an easier time. That being said, there is still some meat stuck to the bones so you can scrape them out if you decide you haven't had enough of the Barramundi!

The gravy was thickened with coconut milk and it was a pretty thick paste as a result; it was also prepared asam-style so it was spicy and yet somewhat sour at the same time, hence this is something to bear in mind before you order the dish. If you are ordering white rice, it goes pretty well with the gravy too!

The dish costs $38++, which is pretty much a steal given the serving size of the dish! Definitely worth a try 😁

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We ended our meal at Enjoy Eating House with a bowl of orh nee! The yam paste served here was actually thicker-than-average and it comes with a dose of gingko nuts. However, we felt that the paste could have been more flavourful, although the upside of this is that the orh nee here is probably slightly healthier than that at many other restaurants! Pretty decent for $5++ although it was rather heavy for one person to finish the entire bowl; might have been better to share this instead.

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We ordered another of Kok Sen's signature dish, the claypot Yong Tau foo, as we saw this at many tables. While the dish comes with taupok, capsicum and Brinjal, these are not your run-of-the-mill ingredients as they are all stuffed with fish and sotong paste! The paste was firm and slightly bouncy and it didn't come with an overly fishy taste.

The gravy was also great and it was brimming with flavour reminiscent of seafood. It is definitely great to drizzle it over your rice although we preferred the hor fun gravy for it's strong wok hey flavour!

One downside was the small serving size for the $15 that we paid for the dish. It is enough to be shared between 2 pax (and maybe 3 pax), but you are better off getting a larger size if you are visiting in a bigger group.

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We are back at Kok Sen for their unique tze char dishes and this time, we decided to try out the Golden Dragon Chicken, which was a signature item on their menu. Don't be deceived by the name of this item though, because this item is really roasted chicken skin stuffed with fish paste! The roasted chicken skin was really crispy and the fish paste was prepared well as it wasn't overly fishy. 😋

However, the dish cost a whopping $32 and even though the serving size was decent, we don't think it was very worth the price paid since the filling was all fish paste. Unlikely that we will order this dish again next time!

We visited Kok Sen for lunch on a Saturday and the restaurant was nearly full. Hence, we highly encourage you to make a reservation before heading down! 😁

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Seng Kee doesn't only sell it's herbal soups and mee sua; it is actually a tze char restaurant that sells a plethora of other wok-fried dishes as well! We decided to try out the small coffee pork ribs ($12), which is not a dish that many tze char stalls have. There were around 6 pieces of meat, which is just enough for 2 to 3 persons.

The pork ribs were coated in a generous coffee-flavoured sauce, and we thought that the sauce was actually pretty concentrated! You will definitely be able to taste the coffee in this one and the sauce reminds me of roasted/slight burnt coffee beans. 😁 The pork ribs have quite a fair bit of meat, although there are also a number of bones so you may need some effort for this dish. We also liked that the skin was covered in a thin layer of batter, which gave the exterior a nice crispy texture.

Seng Kee was really crowded when we visited on the evening of a public holiday, and we had to queue to even get a table for two. Be prepared to wait for a table if you are visiting during peak hours!

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We had to order the black chicken herbal soup, which is the eponymous dish that gave the stall it's name. We got the smallest size for the soup and it is served in a mini pot alongside several parts of the black chicken. The chicken can be eaten and the meat is pretty tender, although there are quite a lot of bones, which might be a deterrent for some of us who are lazier.

The highlight was the soup, which definitely tasted somewhat herbal and medicinal. This wasn't surprising to us as we read online that Seng Kee boils the soup with an array of Chinese herbs! However, the soup wasn't overly bitter and we could still taste that it was chicken soup - Seng Kee definitely simmered the soup for quite a long time with the chicken. There were also some hints of sweetness in the soup, presumably from the rather generous inclusion of red dates and goji berries in the soup. Hence, we thought the flavours of the soup were actually pretty complex and it makes for a nice ending to your meal after you have finished your mains!

We would highly recommend this comforting soup if you are dining at Seng Kee!

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As we already ordered the black chicken herbal soup, we decided to order mee sua in another soup base instead! The white mee sua at Seng Kee is a bowl of mee sua served with small shrimps, fish slices, minced pork, egg white and garnished with coriander. The mee sua was served in a pretty thick broth that was slightly sweet, and we loved that the restaurant added a little bit of wine into the broth as well.

The picture shows the medium serving ($9), which we think is just right for 2 to 3 pax. For 2 pax, the serving is enough to fill up two normal rice bowls for each person. The broth is a little thick so it gets pretty filling, hence we encourage you to save enough stomach space for the other dishes! On a side note, the mee sua has also been trimmed into shorter strands, so you can easily eat this dish using your spoon rather than your chopsticks!

Give the white mee sua a try even though it isn't one of the famous dishes at Seng Kee! We think it's underrated but it would probably be a great comfort dish, especially on a rainy day. 😁

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We thought that having white rice alone would be boring and hence, we decided to order the beef fried rice as well! The fried rice was really fragrant and came with a decent amount of wok hey, which gave the dish a slightly smoky flavour. We also liked that the rice was not overly wet/clumpy, unlike some of the fried rice sold at eateries outside. The beef was diced into small pieces and coated with black pepper sauce, hence there is no need to be afraid of the gamey taste and it will be concealed by the sauce. The sauce went pretty well with the fried rice, I must say!

This is the small portion, which is around enough for 3 persons to have one bowl of rice each! For $8, we think it is fairly reasonable. Kok Sen was thankfully not very crowded when we reached at 7.30 pm on a weekday evening and we were able to get a table fairly quickly; however, we can imagine that they will be pretty crowded on weekends and given that they do not take reservations, you have to be prepared to queue!

The big prawn hor fun is one of the signature dishes at Kok Sen and although the hor fun tasted pretty ordinary, the gravy was not! It was full of wok hey, which imbued the dish with a slightly smoky and charred taste. We also liked that it was slightly sweet, probably because it was cooked with a decent amount of prawns! The prawns were also great and they were really huge - each piece you see in the picture is HALF a giant prawn! Kok Sen was nice to help us split each prawn into half so that it would be easier to eat the prawns without us having to use our hands! 😁

Overall, this is a pretty great dish and it is unique to this tze char eatery - hence we would strongly encourage everyone to give it a shot even though $18 for the small portion may seem a little steep! For us, we will probably try out the big prawn bee hoon soup next time as it is also a signature dish that receives rave reviews!

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铁板豆腐 is another pretty standard tze char fare that we tend to order and we decided on this amongst the other tofu dishes at Kok Sen! To be honest, the 铁板豆腐 was nothing special and it comes with eggs, minced pork, carrots, corn, button mushrooms and of course, tofu! The tofu used is the slightly tougher variety, and not the more silken type used in dishes like mapo tofu! We loved the gravy as usual and we were happy to pour it over our white rice. Price-wise, the dish cost around $12++, which was fairly reasonable for the small serving that we ordered.

Sambal Kang Kong is a must-try dish at any tze char restaurant for us and given that we had 3 pax, we decided to go with the medium portion today! The Kang Kong was great - it was served piping hot and the serving size was pretty generous. We also liked the sambal chilli as it was decently spicy and because it was sufficiently tossed with dried prawns before serving, we thought it gave quite a bit of fragrance to the vegetables!

The medium portion cost $14++, which is quite expensive for a vegetable dish even by most tze char standards. Given that Kok Sen is on the Michelin bib gourmand, prices there are definitely above that in your average tze char restaurant and that is something you may wish to take note of before dining there.

Pat Jon

Level 8 Burppler · 823 Reviews

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