If the Koreans have Psy, the Taiwanese have Jay Chou. And his posters are all over this little shop, giving it a high school feel. After all, this little place is named after Jay Chou’s hit album, 8 Degrees. The place serve Taiwanese street food, some classic dishes, desserts and bubble tea drinks. I seldom eat Taiwanese food and am not familiar with it. Tonight was like my introduction to Taiwanese food.
A copy of the menu.
Jay Chou’s poster on the wall. Near the cashier are Polaroid snapshots of customers to the place. This place has a high school feel to it. Jay Chou’s music is played in the background.
Glass jelly and Rosehip milk tea drinks. I thought the rosehip tea resembled bandung, a Malaysian drink with rose syrup. The teas were not sweet which was good. The rosehips were placed on top of the milk tea giving it a nice look. Rose syrup had clearly been added, hence the red tinge. I was half expecting the bandung taste and did not get it, since this was not bandung after all. The teas seemed a little weak.
Clearly, we ordered too much food.
Preserved radish egg omelette. There was too much chai po (preserved vegetables) in it making it very salty. Then to balance out the saltiness, they added too much sweet sauce. We didn’t finish this dish. If they had gone easy on the preserved vege and the sweet sauce, this dish would have been fine.
X.O. fried spicy chee cheong fun. It was a tad too oily although I really liked the fried bean sprouts and egg bits. The spiciness was still okay but it was too oily, making it a little hard to stomach.
Cold noodles which were too sweet.
Stewed pork belly with rice which was just nice. It had enough flavours in the pork and the pork was not dry nor did it taste overcooked. Though it was fatty, it did not taste oily. This was simply the best out of all the dishes we ordered and I suspect stewed pork belly is one of their better dishes. This was just nice for one person’s portion.
Fried brinjal with pork floss. This too was good. The brinjal was not soft — I don’t like soft brinjal — and the batter was not overly thick. It tasted nice with the pork floss.
Stir fried broccoli and mushroom with X.O. sauce. I don’t get the X.O. sauce thing, I’m afraid. I am so used to plain stir fried vegetables that I thought the X.O. sauce was an overkill and an excuse to charge more for a dish. Or is it a Taiwanese thing? The dish was fine, otherwise.
My conclusion of Taiwanese food, just based on this place, is that it is very salty, sweet, oily and somewhat ‘alcoholic’ (though most of the alcohol has dissipated when cooked over heat). I do not understand nor see the need for adding X.O. to some of their dishes (X.O. here stands for X.O. Cognac which is hard liquor and added for flavour) but apart from that, the food tastes pretty Chinese still. The irony I felt, was that their teas did not seem strong nor sweet enough but their food were either too salty, too sweet, both or too oily. I am likely to come back here and when I do, I’d stick to the stewed pork and all things porky as clearly that is their best dish, fried brinjal with pork floss and perhaps a bubble tea drink since bubble teas came from Taiwan.
This place does not charge service charge nor GST. It is an affordable place for a nice meal and chill-out time over desserts and drinks. The bistro was located along a street that was choc-a-bloc full with cars trying to find a park on a Saturday evening. Several places along this street are known for their food as well.
8 degrees Taiwanese Bistro, 37 Teck Chye Terrace. Tel: 62848226.
We have visited a few more times since the first visit. This is roasted grain tea, one of my favourite drinks.
Shaved Ice Dessert
When we visited a third time, we tried their fried mushrooms, fried olive and fried trio egg (with three different types of eggs) fried rice. We had tried the other dishes before. The fried olive rice was nice. As for the trio egg, we probably would not order that again. The mushrooms too were nice. On this particular Sunday evening, the place was rather crowded and there was a power failure but we still tucked in.
This was their sweet potato porridge set which we tried one late night. Not too bad. I liked the really crunchy peanuts, salted egg, chicken egg and pork floss. We could have done without the pickles and the pork bits which were too oily. So four out of six small dishes were good.