I remember my first encounter with the BBQ Stingray. It was in a little coffee-shop in Teban Gardens in 1987. Before that, I don’t think I have ever eaten stingray. In fact, I don’t think I have ever eaten stingray in any other form since. Stingray, it seems has been created only for this one particular dish, just like no one really eats kohada in any other way other than as a sushi topping.
KEK Zi Char Burgers: Introducing the Sotong BLurger!
Behold the "Sotong BLurger! -- Eat oredi sure blur like sotong!"
The Sotong BLurger is basically deep fried calamari rings bathed in a creamy salted egg sauce between two toasted buns!
But wait, I hear you say, sotong in a burger?! You siao (crazy) or what?
Discovering places like Chui Xiang Kitchen is really what this blog is all about. I really like these small eateries where the owner is also the chef. Chef owner restaurants are more common with cafes and Western eateries, but when it comes to Zi Char and local cuisine, you often find hired hands in the kitchen. Sometimes the owner doesn't even know how to cook! But when you find a small restaurant where the owner happens to be the chef, chances are that the food is going to be a little more special.
I am sure that readers who grew up during the time when sang meen was really popular would have a pavlovian response to the photo of the crispy plate of thin egg noodles with a mound of slice beef on top. I mean who wouldn't like noodles that are fried to a crispy crunchy texture? It's like eating "Mamee" except much better!
This week's recommendation came from Francis Andre who wrote in to alert me to this hidden gem in Sims Drive serving cheap and good food. After our makan session, our kakis also agreed this is certainly one of the better neighbourhood Zi Chars around!
Ponggol Seafood was founded by Mr Ting Chong Teng in 1969. At the time, he was working as a foreman at a sauce factory and driving taxi part time. One day he drove all the way to Ponggol point and saw a place for rent and decided to go into the restaurant business. With the knowledge gleaned from his experience working at the sauce factory, he managed to come up with different sauce recipes for his seafood dishes. In the beginning, it was quite difficult and one by one, his partners all exited the business. But Mr Ting persevered and the rest, as they say, is history!
Thai style Zi Char was quite the rage in the 90’s. I remember a particular Thai Zi Char place in Bedok where I used to frequent with my surgical registrar when I was still working at Changi General Hospital. It can best be described as Zi Char with Thai inspired flavours. In those days, authentic Thai food wasn’t as widely available and so this was our local version of Thai food.
Chef John is quite adventurous and is always game to try new things, so when you go there to have a Zi Char meal, you are bound to taste something that is just a little different from your usual Zi Char place, and I mean that in a good way!
Chef Wayne of Keng Eng Kee, or KEK as it is known nowadays, has opened a new Zi Char stall in Pandan Gardens where he is serving progressive Zi Char using some of the new ingredients that are now available in Singapore. The second generation Singaporean born Chef was given full permission by his father to serve his nouveau Zi Char cuisine at his new place, something that he had to keep under wraps at the old restaurant.
Malaysia Famous Fried Porridge: Yes, fried porridge!
I am guessing you probably have the same reaction I had when I first heard of the term "fried porridge". It's the kind of gastronomic oxymoron that is in the same league as "fried ice cream" or "claypot ice kachang"
Crab at Bay only started operations a few months ago but seafood lovers are already discovering the Crab Bee Hoon whose flavour is reminiscent of the Ming Kee of old! It is no wonder since the chefs from Ming Kee are now over at Crab at Bay who is owned by one of the ex-partners of Ming Kee.