When it comes to Hainanese Chicken Rice, I honestly don't know anyone who hates this dish, almost all can recall a memorable experience with this dish. We didn't come here just for the Hainanese Chicken, which I love to eat in every possible opportunities, we are here to try out some of their signature Singaporean specialties.
Chai Tow Kway 菜頭粿 (Black) is how residents of the Chiu Chow region call stir-fried turnip cake. There are usually two types, one is mainly with fish sauce, diced garlic, chili and some preserved radish while the other version is with black sauce. We ordered the black sauce version with flavors that were slightly chili yet sweet. The turnip cake was firm to the bite but not of optimal temperature.
I have been hearing plenty of stories about how a traditional Hainanese Chicken should be or should taste like. I am a bit confused myself so I did a little research myself . There are many regional variations of this dish around Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore or Malaysia but the origin of it was likely based on a Hainanese dish called Wenchang chicken (文昌雞) [well at least based on wiki]. Preparation usually involves simple boiling of the entire chicken in stock until cooked. If you ask me, once it is cooked, depending on the intensity of the stock, the chicken can get a bit bland. Here is where the school of thoughts diverge from what I heard, one would say that it should be bland letting the unique sauces to give it all the taste while the other would argue the other way around.
Anyhow, the Hainanese Chicken being served was not the bland style but with a noticeable chicken flavors. We were provided the chili sauce and the dark soy sauce which I preferred. Meat was firm and skin was not overly fatty so go ahead to eat them as well because I think eating the skin is part of the whole experience! A fair dish indeed.
Even for the Bak Kut Teh, I was learning new things as well. The one being served was of clear soup and very peppery like those pig stomach black pepper soup being served at Chiu Chow resto. I am used to the very herbal version of Bak Kut Teh. Apparently, (again based on wiki) ... "there are numerous variants of bak kut teh with its cooking style closely influenced by the prevailing Chinese enclave of a certain geographical location. In Singapore, there are three types of bak kut teh. The most common variant is the Teochew (chiu chow) style, which is light in color but uses more pepper in the soup. The Hoklo (Hokkien), who prefer saltier food, use more soy sauce, which results in a darker soup. The Cantonese (perhaps the Malaysian style as well), with a soup-drinking culture, add medicinal herbs to create a stronger flavoured soup."
It was the cleared based peppery soup that was served here. Not as peppery as the Chiu Chow style I am used to but it as quite ... refreshing indeed. It was quite hard to compared with the herbal type because they are simply different. The pork (with bones) was very tender and I liked it. Yum! The warming feeling was good.
While the sauce was good for the Grilled Sambal Sotong, the squid was slightly undercooked in my opinion. Chewy and firm to the bite as expected but more grilling would make it better.
- Chai Tow Kway 菜頭粿 - very good flavors and relatively firm turnip cakes
- The tables (for 2) were freaking small! If you are assigned one along the wall, expect your elbow to knock on the wall too many times during dinner.
- Chai Tow Kway 菜頭粿 - not of optimal temperature.
- Grilled Sambal Sotong - slightly undercooked / under grilled
Average Spending: HKD 100 - 200 per person
G/F, 66 Peel Street, Central
Tel: 2899 2001
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