Tabemono 5: Japanised Chinese food @ Shinjuku

There are different types of eating places in Japan. Many of the cheaper places that sell noodles and rice are run by Chinese. Tonight was one such shop. Very little English was spoken here and we communicated in Mandarin instead. After pressing a few buttons on the machine, dinner was served.

This was basically fried pork on rice with a lot of shallots on the top. That was my vegetable portion for the day.

The gyoza were probably frozen gyoza that were fried. The skin was hard in different places and they were oily.

It was only after the meal that I felt the effects of too much MSG in the food. It took three cups of tea to rid myself of the effects of the MSG.

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Pre-reunion dinner

I had two vouchers to use and picked the Tung Lok group of restaurants to spend it in, of which Lao Beijing is one. The last time I came here was about a year ago. We ordered a venison dish, some dumplings (CNY wouldn’t be CNY without dumplings) and stir-fried spinach.

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I don’t eat here very often and I enjoyed my meal very much. The venison was tender but a tad too salty but others may not find it too salty though as locals tend to like their food salty. The dumplings were good with chewy skin. They were probably one of the better dumplings around. The stir-fried spinach was also a tad too salty.

What I really enjoyed was their tea. The ginseng was a nice touch and this time I didn’t mind the sweetness of the rock sugar. The tea that was added to the eight ingredients in the teacup was not overly strong and I was not worried about being kept awake the whole night because of too much caffeine.

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The restaurant did not strike me as common like some of the other Chinese restaurants around, and the meal was also unhurried. The decor at this restaurant in Plaza Singapura and the good service added to the experience. Perhaps this should be an annual do.

Lao Beijing, 68 Orchard Rd, #03-01 Plaza Singapura, S(238839).
Tel: 6738 7207.

Oh Tim!

One would have thought the crowds would have died down by now but no. That’s probably a good thing since the steady flow of customers is necessary for their business. It’s not a place to sit and chat though. And they will not seat their customers unless all are present.

Their food cost more than other places but the experience is better, with food quality to match. The place is clean, air-conditioned, service is quick and professional. It’s a new twist to the old noisy, dim sum places where people sit, drink tea and order food for hours on end. I’m a fan.

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Tim Ho Wan, Plaza Singapura, Dhoby Ghaut #01-29A/52.

Going organic again

I came again a second time to try other dishes. Today it was the organic spinach with garlic. Their vegetables are the draw for me.

We tried their braised pork ribs as well. They tasted slightly different to what we were used to. The pork itself was fine but the sauce was not what we normally had.

Since this visit was so near the earlier one, the manager started recognising me. This reminded me of my childhood where I grew up patronising certain zi char places frequently until we were on sir- as opposed to firstname basis. My family would eat at those places until they relocated. Perhaps this place would become one of those places on my list, even if it’s only for their organic vegetables which are worth returning for. This is the kind of place to bring a larger group of people to, so we can try more dishes. I might just organise one.
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Jade Garden Kitchen, 112 Yio Chu Kang Road

Going organic

We chanced upon this in search of an alternative place for crab. The place was actually a little hidden. They grew and served their own organic vegetables which we ordered.

The organic vegetables were good as were the crabs which were fresh, though the crabs were slightly on the pricey side. Just as well they don’t charge service and GST charges. The service was good as well.

And they no longer serve dim sum here.

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Jade Garden Kitchen, 112 Yio Chu Kang Road. It’s opposite Serangoon Stadium, as you turn the corner, before the more obvious eating places.

Hawker goodness

I’ve always felt that the most affordable and delicious foods are now located at the hawker centre. This is another example of one such place. Such places are usually family-run and this place whips up to-order dishes, according to their menu.

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This dish was just so-so. The beef was a little tough. The vegetables were fine though.

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The noodle was fried just nice before the other ingredients were added to the top. This was nice.

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This place is worth returning to for other ze char orders. Tien Kee is located at Blk 22 Lorong 7 Toa Payoh #01-19 Toa Payoh.

Halal Dim Sum and such

This is the first time I have eaten at a halal dim sum place. This place does not just serve dim sum. They also do ze char, where one can order food that they will cook to order.

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Minced meat wrapped in beancurd skin

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A variety of steamed food.

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Deep fried prawn fritters

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Fried carrot cake

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Minced meat and chives dumplings.

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Custard bun with salted egg. The cream oozed out when the bun was broken slightly. This was pretty unique and nice. Of all the dishes, this was my favourite.

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There were five of us and we ate everything. Having an alternative halal dim sum place for me to go to with my Muslim friends was nice — there are not many halal dim sum places where they may patronise. Other dim sum places are available for those who are not so restricted in their choice of food and the choices are more varied. I do want to come back here to try the crab with my crab kaki friend though.

Tang Tea House Hong Kong Cafe, 242 Jalan Kayu, Singapore 799466. Tel: 64832298/ 64832284
(The cafe is located where Mad Jack used to be, along Jalan Kayu.)

Decent wonton noodles

I was in the neighbourhood and already had dinner. I was still not full and wanted something to top up. I was told the wonton mee here was good. So I ordered a dumpling soup that evening, minus the noodles. They were good! There was enough meat in them with the crunch of the water chestnut bits. So I came back the next day for the noodles.

They don’t like customers to waste food so they encourage folks to just order what they can eat. I asked for less noodles and more vegetables and char siu. The result was great. I didn’t really like the noodles and it was still too much for me to finish. But the meat and vegetables were good. It was probably the lard that made it taste good. I’d probably eat here again and just have the vegetables and dumplings. Alternatively, I may order the soup noodles instead.

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Koung’s wonton mee, 205 Sims Ave, Geylang Lor 21A. Tel: 67480305

Chinese Belly series: Shanghai in HK

I have come to the conclusion that I am not really able to differentiate between Cantonese and Shanghainese food. We went to a Shanghainese restaurant tonight but the food seemed rather Cantonese to me. Or perhaps being a Shanghainese restaurant in Hong Kong, it is inevitable that Cantonese food is also served, and not all the food in a Shanghai restaurant is Shanghainese.

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Pork with black fungus.

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Stir-fried Spinach.

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Steamed buns or xiao long pau

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Fried crispy beancurd skin with filling on the inside. This was a little too oily.

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The food was so-so but the service was similar to service in other Hong Kong restaurants, which could be improved. If the service was better, I am quite sure the food would also taste better.

Thank you, P, A and J, for bringing me around. Next time, I will visit when it is not a long weekend in Hong Kong and I will remember to bring a list of must try food with me.

Golden Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant, Shop no. 119, L1, Citygate Outlets, Tung Chung, Hong Kong.