Singapore’s Top Ten Zi Char Dishes: The Ultimate Zi Char Trail
Previously I took you on a Food Trail for ten iconic hawker dishes, this time we are going to visit 10 zi char stalls for 10 signature dishes! These are some of the most memorable dishes that I have eaten over the last 12 years while writing this blog. If you wanted a whirlwind tour of the Singapore zi char scene, you could hop on a cab and just visit each stall for the one dish and it could all be done in a day!
Picture this scenario: You have some important guests in town and you want to bring them somewhere to taste some local Chinese cuisine. Your first choice is your favourite zi char place, but you want somewhere a little more clean and comfortable. You could bring them to one of the many Chinese restaurants around, but […]
Wong po lou meen, (lit yellow cloth, blanched noodles) is one those old school dishes that is so old that I don't remember eating it as a child! But then again, I didn't come from a family of adventurous gastronomes so that might not mean much.
Eastern House of Seafood Delicacy: Lobster Hokkien Mee!
I first wrote about Eastern House of Seafood Delicacy in 2014 and since then we have been back there for our family meals quite a few times. The food has always been good and prices reasonable and we like that it is located at the bottom of a secluded block of flats in Chai Chee. They have just relocated and even though they are in the heart of Geylang, their new place still has that "ulu" (secluded) feel and best of all, there's free parking on the premises!
I am sure most foodies here would be familiar with Ban Leong Wah Hoe or at least you should know it as that zi char place at Casuarina road. This venerable seafood restaurant has been at the same spot since 1986 and still has that old school coffeeshop feel about it.
Our makan new year got off to a great start with lunch at Whampoa Keng's new flagship restaurant at Killiney road. I wrote about them in 2011 at their place in Balestier. Since then, I have been a regular there and at their other branch at Rangoon road.
Dynasty Ipoh Seafood: Fried Porridge Chef finally opens his own place!
It’s been a rocky road for Chef John, our fried porridge maestro. Barely a few months after he opened Royal J’s premium, it was shut down due to some disagreements with his business partner. I have been following John on his stall hopping trip since Dec 2015 when he first left Ipoh to set up shop at Macpherson, then he moved to bigger premises in Lavender before moving to the last location at Bishan. Now he has finally ventured out on his own, so hopefully he will stay put at his present location for some time.
We might be worried about the disappearance of certain hawker dishes like char kway teow or satay beehoon, but not zi char. Zi char is alive and well and it is easy to understand why. Whereas Singaporeans would complain about a plate of char kway teow which costs $6, no one blinks an eye at a plate of fried vegetables with oyster sauce that costs $8 at the zi char. Zi char is good business, which is why there are a lot of zi char out there. The real challenge with zi char operators is how to come up with a few signature dishes which will help them stand out from the crowd.
I am sure most Singaporeans will be familiar with the Yaowarat district in Bangkok. It is popularly known as the Chinatown of Bangkok and it is where you go for Thai-Chinese food. I haven't really explored the food at Yaowarat much even when I was living in Bangkok in the early 2000's. The place is a traffic nightmare and I remembered it for its numerous shark's fins restaurants!
JB Ah Meng burst into our Zi Char scene in 2009 with their white pepper crabs going for $20 for 3 . I still remember reading about them in the forums and promptly made my way down to sample the food. They have made great strides since then and even gotten themselves listed in the […]
It is hard to write about an eatery when expectations are so high. Firstly, Ka Soh has been around for a long time and is regarded by many as a Singaporean institution. Mention fish head beehoon and har cheong gai and its name would invariably turn up! And then, there is the fact that they are on the listed in the Michelin guide as a Bib Gourmand restaurant! With these two accolades, you won't be blamed for expecting the food to be stellar.
It's not everyday that you find an adventurous cook like chef John. Our mid week makan group has been on the zi char trail for the last two years and our experience has been that most zi char places will offer the usual, tried and tested selection of dishes like fish head curry, salted egg sotong, cereal prawns, sambal kangkong, etc. Not many are willing to take a risk by offering something a little out of the box.