It’s been a few years since I last wrote about Ah Liang and his then newly opened Chao Shan cuisine restaurant. Since then he has relocated to a bigger and brighter restaurant at Philip St, so we felt it was time to visit our Teochew Ah Hia again.
In my last story, I have already talked about Ah Liang and how he was the typical Teochew “how lian bah” (loves to brag), so I won’t bore you with the same rhetoric again. Suffice to say that he hasn’t changed a bit…… which is a good thing.
This time round, he surprised us with his chestnut prawns which he says is a traditional Teochew dish. This dish must have disappeared from the food scene for quite some time because none of our kakis have ever come across it. It is essentially prawns and mashed chestnuts wrapped in caul fat, lightly dusted with flour and deep fried. The mashed chestnuts adds some natural nutty sweetness to the prawns which is quite enjoyable. I think it is a dish that deserves to be revived! 4.25/5
The steamed threadfin was excellent! Ah Liang tells me that he has a special supplier who brings him wild caught fish and unlike most four finger threadfin (ngou her soong) that you find in the market which are farmed, his is wild caught and it is delicious! His Teochew style steaming sauce is perfectly balanced which accentuated the natural flavours of the fish. 4.5/5
When you get to know Ah Liang a little better, he would often suggest some off-the-menu items which he keeps for his regular customers. These may be something special which he had brought back from his frequent trips to Swatow or simple dishes like the braised pig skin which was perfectly cooked such that it was tender, but still has a satisfying bite. 4.25/5
Ah Liang wanted to show off his Teochew Hokkien mee and brought out a plate of yellow noodles with a mountain of pork lard and proceeded to tell us why it takes a Teochew man to show us how Hokkien mee is supposed to be cooked. It was good lah, but you know, the Teochews also have another saying that goes, “ga ki oh lor ga gi, bor nang gar hiang!” (when one brags about himself, everyone else just keeps quiet ) 4/5
You can judge the standard of any Teochew restaurant by its orh nee and Chao Shan’s is excellent. Just don’t commit a faux pas like one of our kakis who asked for coconut milk! Sacrilege! 4.5/5
Good to see our Teochew Ah Hia doing well at this new location. The restaurant is bigger and brighter and the food is still very good. Ah Liang always has a few surprises up his sleeves but in the end he exemplifies the Teochew mantra — The most important thinga bout food is that it must be fresh, fresh, fresh! (chngee chngee).