Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Singapore - Land of Long Lost Teochew Food

Overall had a very wonderful eating experience during the few days we were in Singapore. Mainly cause I got the chance to eat more Teochew cuisine this time around - which I love but rarely get the chance to eat. Probably only had it 2 other times all my life.

A couple of reasons why I love Teochew Food:

(i) I am Teochew (though I don't speak a word of it)
(ii) It is almost impossible to get Teochew food from my hometown, Kota Kinabalu
(iii) It is much lighter in taste (and thus mostly healthier) compared to food of other Dialect groups such as Hakka, Hokkien and so on.

Don't get me wrong, nothing against other food, just saying some cuisines are different from others, but all good.

Also, was extremely fortunate enough to experience two particular Teochew meals that were exceptional to me (they will be numbered in Red later in photos). Like none I have ever experienced and thus am going recommend (which I don't normally like to do).

So please feel free to try them out any time you're in Singapore and tell me what you think.

Singapore Food:

First meal once we landed was at Singapore was @Whampoa Food Court. Oyster Omelette aka "Huo Jien" in Mandarain and "O Rak" in Teochew.

"Chwee Kweh", starchy base with "Chai Bu" aka preserved turnip on top

Famous Whampoa Rojak. For spicy eaters only!

Teochew fish porridge with Swordfish

Hokkien Prawn Mee - very different from the usual Penang Prawn Mee

1. (i) Condiments found in typical Teochew meal. The one on far left is "Dou Jiang" aka preserved soya bean

(ii) Teochew Baked Crab. BEST way to eat crab. So sweet and full of roe

Beautiful. Great way of cooking to taste the natural flavour of the crab

(iii) We loveee "Otak-Otak", aka Spicy Fish Mousse. BEST we've ever had

(iv) Mixed pig parts

(v) Fish cake

(vi) Instead of eating the dishes with rice, some of us had it with plain Teochew porridge. Such a light and refreshing meal

(vii) Fish soup with soft bone fish. So yum

Still edible fish bones even though they weren't fried. Too bad I forgot to get the exact name of the fish

(viii) Whoa. Super nice "Fan Shu Miao" aka Sweet Potato Leaf fried with Sambal

(ix) Teochew style steamed fish. FORGOT the name of fish but was massive and fresh

(x) HALF a "Song Yu Tou" aka Song Fish Head. LOVEEE this. Acceptable to non fish head lovers too - just ask my sister. Heaps of meat and fish oil/gelatin to eat from this half a head alone (was about 20cm long!). And any foodie would tell you that the best part of the fish is found on its cheek.

Seriously, I really enjoyed every single dish in this meal. Though it may look simple in pictures, but the taste and freshness in each dish just comes through so wonderfully. All found at:

Xu Jun Sheng (long ji) Chao Zhou Mei Shi
No. 59 Joo Chiat Place Singapore 427783

Highly recommend this place and please don't hesitate to tell me what you like/don't like about the place once you've tried it =)

Food from Takashimaya Food Hall - Popiah

Durian pancake. MMMM. Nice and crispy

Teochew Bak Kut Teh - cooked with black pepper more for the aroma than the spicy taste. Notice the lighter contrast of most of the Teochew dishes? Especially evident in the Bak Kut Teh soup. Less soya and oyster sauce. Both taste completely different but equally good in different ways

Pork sliced meat with Bak Kut Teh

Met up with a friend at a nice Jazz Pub in the city. She ordered this Vanilla Creme Brulee which I thought was delicious. Notice they served it in a big plate instead of the usual ramekins. Thank God custard wasn't too sweet especially for that portion, phew

Lunch @ Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao, Suntec City. Cold drunken/wine chicken dish

Minced meat "La Mian" aka Ramen or "Pulled Noodles". Nice broth

Star of the day, "Xiao Long Bao" aka Shanghai Soup Dumplings. First choice was to eat at Din Tai Fung but couldn't find it. This one was not bad too

Was really missing the Szechuan food I normally get at Melbourne so decided to order some Szechuan dishes. Fried bean shoots with minced meat

Deep fried chicken with dried chillies

2. (i) Pre-dinner appetizers: Chilli tofu and pickled veg

(ii) More interesting condiments that are only found in really authentic Teochew restaurants, according to Dad. Still not sure what they are (gotta ask my parents again) but all I know is that the one in the far left is meant for the following dish.

(iii) The Hakka people always say that for poultries, best is always to eat the "Ngo Tiu, Ap Giang, Kai Si Fut" or "Goose head, Duck neck, Chicken butt".

What people don't normally realise is that cause these animals are constantly exercising and moving their heads and necks which makes the meat in these parts leaner and more tender. You will be able to enjoy it if you are not erked out by the fact that you're eating the head and neck of the bird.

Whereas some people like the chicken butt (as well as that of other poultries) cause it only contains the good but unhealthy stuff - skin and lots of fats

(iv) Next, we had super yummy Teochew Fish Steamboat. What sets this apart from other steamboats (or hotpots) is that it is heated with charcoal and broth is rich with the flavours of the fish and taro while accompanied by tofu, seaweed and shavings of fried egg. So darn good. A must try for curious food tasters looking for a different eating experience

(v) Fresh "Se Ban" aka "Garoupa" slices for the steamboat

Notice that those diagonal incisions are actually made by the chef and not from the bones of the fish. More for presentation purposes only cause it comes out beautifully once cooked.

(vi) Fried egg on left. Can be put in soup or eaten just like that nice and crispy. YUM!

(vii) Most crabs served in Singapore are the Sri Lankan crabs (whereas in KK it's mostly the Flower Crab) and majority of Singaporeans would opt to have it cooked Black Pepper style, just like this one.

And let me just say that this was the BESTTT crab eating experience I have ever had!!! Zomg. Same goes for my parents too - and they've been enjoying crabs for far longer than I have.

And let me tell you why simply from the look of this picture. Seriously, just look at this beauty. Never have we eaten a crab that had MORE ROE than the flesh. No joke.

Besides that, what I noticed about Lankan crabs is that not only are they so much bigger in size, but the meat is so much CHEWIER and sweeter as well! You'll notice it if you tasted it too, it's that obvious. Wow.

Biting into a huge chunk of its beautiful white flesh and later enjoying the wonderful chewy texture before tasting the natural sweetness of the crabmeat after swallowing. Conclusion: Lankan crabs totally trumps the Flower crabs.

I also really enjoyed eating the little bits of deep fried flour mixed in the black pepper sauce off the shell of the crab. So. Darn. Good.

(viii) And last but not least, the Mother of all Teochew Desserts - "Ou Ni" aka "Sweetened Yam Cream with Ginko ".

Personally, I have always loved this dessert. But what Dad is normally extremely sceptical about this dessert is that most of the time you would find a thick layer of oil on the surface of the dish (added during cooking to increase consistency of texture) which really turned him off.

This however barely had any oil but was still the smoothest and tastiest he has ever tasted. WELL DONEEEE. Managed to bring some back to KK too. WOOOOOOOOOT. Right now, can't wait to go back to this restaurant next time I'm in Singapore =)))

Teochew Cuisine Restaurant
413 River Valley Road Singapore 248311

Double Bacon BBQ Cheeseburger or something at Burger King. Can everyone please take a moment to stare straight into the wonder and beauty of this magnificent burger. I am so tempted to make this my wallpaper right now. THIS is why the burgers in Burger King, Singapore are the BEST.

Was also tempted to try their new burger. Extra crispy bacon. Omgosh. I suspect the reason is that they actually deep fry it which I have no problem with at all


Singapore Drinks:

Apparently most popular cocktail there, the Jiggly Melon @ Acid Bar, Orchard Road

Singapore Sling

Singapore Fruits:

"Mao Shan Wang" Durian. Very common in Singapore. Too bitter for my liking. A little bitterness is fine but this was way too much. Now I know lol

Anyway, that's all for now and hope you guys enjoyed the piks! Blessings, peeps!

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