[Amsterdam, Holland] – Of Pancakes, English Breakfasts and Chinese Roast Meats

20 11 2013

While there are many coffeeshops in Amsterdam, not many actually sell coffee so it was great that we managed to find a decent cafe called Greenwoods that served a proper English Breakfast. I’d imagine it would be a great way to perk yourself up after a visit to the coffeeshop that does not sell coffee.

Ground Floor of Greenwoods

I had the Full English Breakfast (9.95 Euros), comprising two eggs with bacon, sausages, grilled mushrooms & tomato, baked beans and toast while friend JS had the Eggs Royale (8.95 Euros), comprising two poached eggs with smoked salmon on toasted English muffins topped with Hollandaise.

My toast was crisp but at the same time rather airy, the grilled mushrooms were flavourful, the eggs poached to perfection and the Hollandaise sauce rich and smooth. Nothing short of excellent.

Full English Breakfast

Eggs Royale

Another plus point was that while the cafe was pretty popular, the staff were uber friendly and I never once felt rushed during the meal.

Another cafe that’s hugely popular and also worth visiting is The Pancake Bakery, which has the widest selection of pancakes I have ever seen. Initially I was a little bummed, mainly because I perceive a restaurant with a wide menu selection as a jack of all trades but master of none. Thankfully, I was painfully mistaken this time around.

Question marks all around whenever someone asks about what foods are authentically Dutch. Well, something I learnt from this trip is that the Dutch invented a type of mini-pancake called Poffertjes. We had the Poffertjes with Honey, Nuts, Mandarins and Whipped Cream (7.10 Euros) and it was wonderful. Compared to the other pancakes we had here, this one was more on the fluffy side, with the texture of hotcakes but with a lighter body and less floury taste.

If you like Hawaiian Pizza, then you will surely love the Pineapple and Bacon Pancake (9.95 Euros). It was my favourite of the 3 pancakes we ordered. The bacon wasn’t overly salty and there was a pleasant smoky tinge (from the bacon) lingering within the batter.

Pancake with Apples, Cinnamon Ice Cream, Cinnamon Liquor and Whipped Cream (12.15 Euros)

Having had to skip lunch to make it for a bicycle tour of the city, we were pretty famished when it was over and couldn’t wait for our pancakes to arrive. So while waiting, we had some Taco Chips with Melted Cheese and Chili Sauce (4.65 Euros) to nibble on. Was appreciative that the cafe took the effort to toast the chips before serving.

For tourists, do remember to flash your Holland Pass to enjoy a drink on the house.

Zaanse Schans Windmill Village

PS: This advice is mainly for Asians in Europe hankering after a decent Roast Meat and Roast Duck Rice. Say goodbye to 4 Seasons in London, Amsterdam’s Nam Kee is the place to be for Roast Meats. It might just run some stalls out of business if it ever opened shop in Singapore.

Nam Kee

Zeedijk 113, 1012 AV Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tel: +31 20 624 3470

The Pancake Bakery

Prinsengracht 191, 1015 DS Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tel: +31 20 625 1333

Greenwoods English Tea Room & Restaurant

Keizersgracht 465, Amsterdam 1017 DK, Netherlands

Tel: +31 20 420 4330





Park Palace @ Grand Park City Hall – A CNY Menu to Consider

19 01 2013

With Chinese New Year quick approaching, a key question on everyone’s mind would be where to hold our reunion lunches and dinners? Initially, I admit that of the many restaurants considered, Park Palace @ Grand Park City Hall was definitely not one of them, but that was before I had a chance to sample their CNY menu last week, where I left the restaurant extremely satisfied. It was the largest scaled tasting I had been to so far, where around 30 curious individuals were gathered and eager to find out what Park Palace had to offer.

Available from 21 Jan 2013 to 24 Feb 2013, their CNY menus are priced at:

·         $78++ per person (a maximum of two persons)

·         $288++ per table (for four persons)

·         $438++ per table (for six persons)

·         $588++ per table (for eight persons)

·         $788++ to $2388++ per table (for ten persons)

Keeping true to the tradition of CNY, we started our meal with the Golden Shunde Yellowtail Yu Sheng ($88++). Literally translated, Yu Sheng (魚生)  means raw fish in Chinese but its pronunciation also functions as a pun to signify abundance (余升). Unlike the usual Yu Sheng which is sweet due to the use of sweet plum sauce, this version was more on the savoury side, as a soy based sauce was used instead. Young kids would definitely adore this as well because crispy fried vermicelli has replaced most of the icky shredded vegetables.

I had 2 favourite items for this meal and the Imperial Suckling Pig ($238++) was one of them. The skin (wrapped in steamed flat man tous) was super crispy yet not overcooked and didn’t feel oily at all. I could have easily polished off the entire pig’s skin if not for social decorum dictating I leave some for others at my table. Do order it in advance (24 hours notice recommended) as prior preparation is required for this dish.

Lazy Less hardworking people might take to the Golden Happiness Crispy Grouper, whose meat was filleted and deep fried, saving us the trouble of having to separate the meat from the fish bones. The batter was light and the accompanying plum vinaigrette sauce added some much needed flavours to the otherwise relatively bland fillets.

The Chinese New Year Flambe Pen Cai ($248/$428++ for 6 or 10 pax) was my other favourite dish. Our dining experience was made a little more exciting as the chef flambeed the Pen Cai in front of us, pouring the ignited brandy into the claypot as a finishing touch, which is supposed to enhance the aroma of the Pen Cai. It’s so ironic that it’s called Pen Cai, which literally means “bucket of vegetables”, when there’s so much seafood treasures to be found inside such as abalone, dried & fresh scallops, slices of sea perch, deshelled prawns, sea cucumber, roast pork & duck, soy sauce chicken, mushrooms, gingko nuts, lotus roots, cabbage and broccoli. A very hearty dish which goes down well with rice.

The Imperial Suckling Pig – Oven Baked with Lemongrass was made using what remained of the suckling pig we had earlier. The meat was pretty tender but given that it had already cooled down by the time this was served, it wasn’t as mind-blowing as the skin we had earlier.

When I saw that we were going to be served the Auspicious Glutinous Rice with Foie Gras and Preserved Meat, I initially thought of a bak cang (glutinous rice dumpling). Guess I was more pleased to see it being presented the way it was, where I could savour the foie gras by itself if I wanted to. Personally, I found this dish to be a little too heavy with a much too high rice-to-foie gras ratio, but it’s definitely a creative play on glutinous rice.

We were served the Steamed Mini Pumpkin Dumpling with Green Bean Paste for dessert. Very cutesy and intricate, so full marks for presentation but taste-wise, it was purely an over-glorified ang ku kueh.

Park Palace had far surpassed all expectations, with each dish I tried displaying a unique quality, be it in terms of taste, execution or simply aesthetics. So if you have not made CNY reunion meal plans yet, Park Palace is definitely somewhere to consider.

Special thanks to Park Palace for hosting this tasting session.

Park Palace

10 Coleman Street, Mezzanine Floor Grand Park City Hall

Tel: +65 6432 5888





Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant @ Gardens By The Bay – Birth of the Kopi Crab

16 11 2012

While Gardens by the Bay is considered a national attraction, there’s now another reason to visit; the birth of the kopi crab. 10 years down the road, would it become an embodiment of Singapore cuisine, where the chili and black pepper crab now stand? I was about to find out.

Helmed by Chef Yong Bing Ngen, who also runs fine dining restaurants Jing @ One Fullerton and Majestic Restaurant @ New Majestic Hotel, Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant is the humblest of the three. Do not mistake it for a typical seafood restaurant you would find at East Coast Park though, as the experience I had here was definitely more up-market, as evident from the ambience. The tables are spaced well apart and you will never have to strain your voices just to be heard.

As with most Chinese Seafood restaurants in Singapore, the menu is extremely extensive, though the signatures do revolve around Seafood. The cuisine style is interesting because there’s a mix of the usual tried and tested fare, with avant garde dishes for the more adventurous.

Our Soup of the Day ($18++/small) was a homely Turnip soup with pork ribs. No doubt it had been simmered for a long time, given the sweet flavourful stock.

One of the deterrents to ordering steamed live prawns is the hassle of having to deshell them yourself. Of course, that’s not the only reason why I loved the Steamed live prawns (Market price: ~$70 per kg) here, which were skilfully sliced through the middle for easier access to the springy fresh without the need to dirty your hands. I enjoyed how the minced garlic was not too pungent, doing well to complement the delicately sweet prawns.

The highlight of the night was the Live crabs in Bay’s signature “Kopi” sauce (Market price: ~$56 per kg). From what I understand, Majestic Bay is the only restaurant that currently offers kopi crab, which was conceptualized as a result of Chef Yong’s love for coffee. 3 types of coffee beans; Arabica, Brazilian and White are used to produce an optimal aromatic flavour that engulfs the entire restaurant whenever this dish is brought out from the kitchen. To best describe that aroma, it would be Garrett’s Caramel Popcorn! As a finishing touch, a shot of coffee liquor is doused on the crab and ignited, releasing even more aromatics. Apple Jam and butter are also used to thicken and balance out the flavour of the sauce, so that the bitter taste of coffee isn’t too overwhelming. The result is surprisingly positive and such novelty is worth a try. That said, my preference still gravitates toward a decent butter crab or salted egg crab.

We also had the Sautéed Wild Mushrooms with Asparagus and Minced Garlic ($18++/small).

The Baked Rice and Assorted Seafood in Chef’s Recipe Sauce ($68++/small) was my favourite dish of the meal. It was a play on Macau’s Portuguese Baked Rice, albeit a more extravagant version. It reminded me much of a Spanish Paella fused with Japanese Curry, adorned with baby abalone, scallops, mussels, live prawns, squid and potatoes. The rice was extra fragrant as it was fried before the baking process. I usually don’t help myself to seconds but I made an exception this time. In fact, everyone at the table did. I was just super thankful that the portion size is really generous, easily satisfying the 6 of us.

We ended off with the Sweet’s Temptation ($20++), a dessert platter for 4 comprising Black Glutinous Rice Balls rolled in Coconut & stuffed with Yam Paste, Mochi stuffed with Cream, Strawberry & Mango, Deep Fried Red Bean Pancakes and Salted Egg Custard Buns. Personally, I was not impressed. The Black Glutinous Rice Balls was filled with an utterly dense yam paste, which I found much too heavy as a dessert. The Mochi was decent. The Red Bean Pancake was my favourite of the lot, with just the right amount of filling for the filo pastry used. While I am a fan of Salted Egg Custard Buns, the ones here are much too stingy on the custard filling and you won’t get to that climatic moment where all the custard oozes out when you make your first tear into the bun.

Overall, I was pleased with the entire experience and would definitely consider a revisit, especially given the food quality and reasonable prices. There’s a dim sum menu available for lunch as well, which features a Chili Crab Man Tou that I have been hearing good things about, where the crab meat and chili sauce is stuffed into the bun. Say nay to dirty hands!

Special thanks to Janice and FoodNews for hosting this dinner tasting!

Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant

18 Marina Gardens Drive, #01-10 Garden’s By The Bay (Flower Dome)

Tel: +65 6604 6604





Din Tai Fung (Resorts World Sentosa) – All Din Tai Fungs’ are equal, but some Din Tai Fungs’ are more equal than others

1 11 2011

*This tasting was sponsored by Din Tai Fung

If you think that a meal at Din Tai Fung (DTF) means the usual Pork Xiaolongbao (XLB), Fried Rice and Chicken Soup, think again. In conjunction with their 8th Anniversary, DTF will be launching 6 new dishes and 6 new desserts and drinks to their already extensive repertoire of dishes at all DTF outlets.

For those in the dark, you must know that not all DTFs’ are born equal. At some Din Tai Fung outlets, especially those located at the more up-market locations like Paragon, DTF offers premium items such as their Black Truffle XLB. DTF’s new outlet at Resorts World Sentosa is another example, which plans to cater to the tourist crowd by offering 8 new delectable Asian delights only available at this outlet, in addition to the 12 new items mentioned above.

I will be using pictures provided by DTF but rest assured the pictures are representative of what will be served. Interestingly, I found the plating of today’s dishes nicer than what is shown in the pictures anyways.

Our tasting session started off with a showcase of the 12 new items to be included in all DTF outlets. First off, the Sliced Duck in Crispy Spring Onion Pastry.

3 New Dumplings are also being introduced to DTF’s menu., the Fish Dumplings, the Chicken Xiao Long Bao and the Steamed Angled Gourd & Shrimp Dumplings. Of the 3, I was most taken by the Fish Dumplings which were stuffed with sweet Snapper flesh that I found refreshing to the palate. Having been pampered by DTF’s signature Pork XLBs for the longest time, the Chicken XLBs didn’t bring with it as much an “oomph”, as healthier and less oily chicken broth is used instead of the savoury pork broth. For an even healthier choice, the Steamed Angled Gourd & Shrimp Dumplings promises to enhance your skin complexion. Beauty comes at a price though, as its flavour comes across as slightly muted for my liking.

One of my favourite dishes in today’s tasting, the Handmade springy Noodles with Spicy Sesame Sauce. The chili oil hits the spot and the dish manages to pull its own weight despite its apparent lack of ingredients. I believe an extra order of chicken soup on the side would be the perfect accompaniment for those who can’t take the spice and wish use the soup to dilute the chili.

A play on Yong Tau Fu, DTF has also decided to introduce their version of Green Chili stuffed with Marinated Meat. With its origins in Thai cuisine, DTF specially imports the green chilies from Thailand, and it packs an extra punch compared to usual mild green chilies used in Yong Tau Fu.

Having been periodically dropping by Eu Yan Sang to purchase their Hawthorn Roselle Drink whenever I’m down with the flu, I felt that the Roselle Juice from DTF tastes somewhat similar, just slightly less tangy from the absence of hawthorn. Instead of using normal ice, DTF has come up with an ingenious idea to keep its drinks chilled while avoiding the downside of drink dilution – by adding in a frozen iceball made up entirely of whatever drink that was ordered! So when the iceball melts, the concentration of the drinks remain unchanged.

Lemongrass Juice is highly popular Thai drink. While I’m personally not a huge fan of lemongrass, many others at the tasting session felt otherwise. It does remind me a bit of Sugarcane Juice with Lemon though and I’d imagine this would make an awesome drink at East Coast while feasting on BBQ Stingrays and Satay. 

Recently, my mum has been blending random vegetables and fruits and presenting it to me as a drink. With no added sugar and with much too dense a consistency, I’d immediately cringe whenever I hear the roar of the blender in operation. While DTF’s Blended Juice, made from the combination of fresh Pineapples, Celery and Carrots, tastes much better (or much less worse), I believe it’s not something most of us are used to, especially if you like your drinks and juices on the sweet side.

My favourite of the 4 new drinks happened to be the Earl Grey Lemon Tea. Somehow, it possesses a greater depth of flavour compared to the usual lemon teas.

Almond Pudding coated with Black Sesame Dressing. While I’m a fan of almond jelly, I felt that the black sesame didn’t complement the pudding well.

The Mango Pudding however is a different story. The pudding tastes delightful, with generous chunks mango cubes scattered within the jelly.


Now let me touch on the 8 new dishes made available only at the RWS DTF outlet.

The crowd favourite had to be the Nonya Curry Fish Head in Clay Pot ($26++). You know, it does say something when claypots are being drained off its contents by professional food editors. Really quite a remarkable feat that a Chinese restaurant can come up with such an authentic Nonya dish, with a rich aromatic curry rather than the watered down curries common for most fish head curries.

My family is really into fish. Like how most Cantonese families must have their soups in every meal, my family must have fish. When I was younger, Dad always told me how it’s good for eyesight, and I often shrugged it off. Fast forward a decade or so and I’m starting to believe him. My family of 5 all possess near perfect eyesight! (Disclaimer: Genetics might be the real cause). Cod isn’t cheap in Singapore, I believe it costs close to $40/kg at the wet markets, so DTF’s Hong Kong Class Steamed Cod Fillet with Superior Soy Sauce ($21.80++) is rather affordable for its portion. You can hardly ever go wrong with cod, but I found today’s one slightly overdone. Apart from that, it was alright.

Homemade Beancurd & Sea Prawns on Sizzling Hot Plate ($16.80++). DTF makes its own egg tofu from scratch from a central kitchen to ensure freshness and quality control. 

Cantonese Sweet & Sour Pork ($14.80++). 

I found the Beef Sirloin with Aromatic Black Pepper Sauce on Sizzling Hot Plate ($19.80++) too peppery and the beef too lean.

The Crispy Prawns in Creamy Dressing with Plump Lychees & Juicy Peaches ($14.80++) is another dish I’d recommend. The prawns are fried in a tasty light batter but do avoid smearing too much creamy dressing as it might get a bit too cloying. Well, I sense DTF’s efforts in addressing this issue by adding some lemon juice into the prawn batter, which works pretty well.


Crispy Chicken Wings Marinated in Shrimp Paste ($8.80++). Marinated for over 4 hours in DTF’s homemade shrimp paste before being deep fried for 5 minutes, the wings are kept juicy on the inside while crispy on the outside. 

Szechuan Wok Fried Diced Chicken with Sun-dried Chilis and Toasted Cashews ($14.80++).

I had a wonderful time talking to Hoong An, one of the three founders of Hungrygowhere, who so happened to sit next to me for this tasting and coupled with the discovery of a few gems among DTF’s new dish offerings, I truly had a wonderful time.

Thanks to Din Tai Fung for the invitation!

Bon Appetit!

Din Tai Fung (Resorts World Sentosa)

26 Sentosa Gateway, #01-217 Resort World Sentosa

Tel: +65 6686 3656 





Royal China – The Decline of a Dynasty?

11 10 2011

Located just 5 minutes away from SMU, Royal China is one of the places I started frequenting quite a bit in my current sophomore year, so this post will be a cumulation of  the 3 lunches I had over there in the past 2 months.

Housed in Raffles Hotel, most would think that the restaurant would charge premium prices commensurate with the 5 star hotel status. I’m pleased however to announce princely sums are not a prerequisite for dining at Royal China, as a filling casual dim sum lunch can be sought after for as low as $15-$25.  Weekday set lunches are available too at $68++ for 4 pax, which brings it to about $20 nett a person, definitely affordable considering that the nearby Koufu would set you back at around $6 for a meal and drink anyways.

For dim sum, there are a few items that Royal China excels spectacularly in. First, there’s their Royal China Special Cheung Fun ($4.80++), a combination of scallop, char siew and prawn cheung fun. The translucent skin is delicate and smooth like a baby’s bum, a real pleasure to eat.

Touted as one of the best renditions of its kind to be found locally, the Steamed Bun with with Salted Egg Yolk and Fresh Mango ($4++) treads on the fine balance between sweet and savoury with its fine pairing of fluid lava custard and soft airy bun. Unlike the ones at Victor’s Kitchen, the custard fillings here aren’t as oily, and the buns’ texture are a lot softer than the ones at Bosses in Vivocity.

Another item worth ordering would be their Congee. Coming in substantial portions sharable amongst 2 pax, the variety of congees ranging from seafood, fish & conpoy, chicken & mushroom and century egg & lean pork are priced reasonably between $5-$7.50++.

I tend to order Scallop Dumplings ($4.80++) whenever I see it on a dim sum menu. Topped with what seems to be a dollop of caviar, it didn’t disappoint.

The mediocre items would include the Char Siew Sou aka Baked Barbecued Pork Puff ($4++), the Pan-fried Bean Curd Roll Stuff with Minced Prawn ($4.80++) and the Deep Fried Vegetarian Spring Roll with Shredded Vegetables ($4++).

As I mentioned previously, Royal China also offers a $68++ 6-Course Set Lunch for 4 pax though personally, I’d recommend sticking to the ala-carte dim sum menu.

The 1st Course is a Healthy Soup of the Day, in my case it happened to be a clear chicken soup with coconut. It wasn’t fantastic. Coconut flavoured soup just doesn’t sit well with me and the chicken meat was tough.

Then came the Medley of Dim Sum, comprising 3 of the most common dim sum that can be sought. Somehow, the har gaos and siew mai in the set lunch feels slightly more slipshod than ordering it ala carte.

The Barbecued Meat Combination Platter was rather disappointing as well. The chicken meat was dry and the char siew unflavourful.

The Stewed Sea Perch with Mushroom Served in Hot Stone Pot was probably the only course which appealed to me throughout the set lunch, though it wasn’t that fantastic either.

The Poached Garden Greens with Wolfberry in Stock was simple but boring.

The Braised Noodles with Live Prawns in Ginger and Shallot Sauce came across as rather bland, with the noodles tasting floury and lacking the tasteful infusion from the sauce and prawns.

Dessert was a Steamed Layer Cake with Salted Egg Yolk. It’s not bad, but nothing compared to Royal China’s signature Steamed Bun with with Salted Egg Yolk and Fresh Mango. 

 

Standards at Royal China have been a little inconsistent of late, but let’s cross our fingers that it’s just one off incidents.

Bon Appetit!

Royal China

1 Beach Road, #03-09 Raffles Hotel

Tel: +65 6338 3363

 





Culinary Workshop @ Din Tai Fung Paragon

8 05 2011

*This workshop was sponsored by Dai Tai Fung

Originating in Taiwan originally, Din Tai Fung has since expanded around the world and was awarded a Michelin 1 Star in Hong Kong’s 2010 Michelin Guide. It’s secret to success…no doubt their renowned Xiao Long Baos.

The Din Tai Fung branches found in Singapore is franchised by the Breadtalk Group (who is also responsible for franchising Carl’s Junior and Ramenplay, in addition to owning Toastbox, Bread Society and Food Republic), and the chefs here are apparently required to undergo a 9-month vigorous training program in Taiwan to ensure that standards of the franchisees remain on par with the Taiwan and Hong Kong branches.

With regards to their Xiao Long Baos, strict guidelines have been set such that the xiao long bao skins must be within 5.8g to 6.2g and there must be 18 folds on each xiao long bao.

We were first given a demonstration with explanation on the ingredients used to make the Xiao Long Baos and how to fold the 18 folds.

After the mass demonstration, it was time for a hands-on! Each table of 4 participants were allocated with a personal Xiao Long Bao instructor to guide us in making the highly elusive 18 folds. I failed miserably 😦

After which, we were treated to high tea, a 10-course one at that!

Cucumber wrapped in Pork Belly in Chili Oil.

The Caucasian lady sitting on my table mentioned that this was her son’s favourite dish at Din Tai Fung. It’s not difficult to see why with the generous stuffing of springy shrimps in this dim sum inspired Shrimp Pancake.

Din Tai Fung is also famous for their Ginseng Chicken Soup which packs some umami flavour though I still think that it lacks the appeal of a home-made soup showered with motherly love.

Xiao Long Baos here are definitely competent but there are competitors around whom I actually prefer. They are Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant and Hand in Hand Beijing Restaurant, both located along Jalan Besar.

The Black Truffle Xiao Long Bao is only available at 2 Din Tai Fung outlets in Singapore (Paragon and 1 other outlet which I can’t recall now). I’m not sure if something is wrong with me but truffles don’t appeal to me much, so I’d much prefer the original Pork Xiao Long Baos which doesn’t come with such an earthly taste. On the other hand, the Caucasian women sitting next to me were deeply enamoured by the robust flavours bursting from the truffle xlb. To each his own I guess.

Pea Shoots stir fried with Sunflower Oil.

Dan Dan Noodles.

Snow Fungus with Red Dates and Papaya.

This is the first culinary workshop I have attended and I have to say it’s really good fun.

On a side note, Din Tai Fung will also be flying in Red Bean Rice Dumplings from Taiwan in celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival. It will be sold at $4 per dumpling from 9 May to 6th June 2011, and DBS/POSB Card holders will enjoy a complimentary dumpling with minimum spending of $50. 

A very special thanks to Din Tai Fung for the invitation.

Bon Appetit!

DIN TAI FUNG

290 ORCHARD ROAD, #B1-03 THE PARAGON

TEL: +65 6836 8336





Hand in Hand Beijing Restaurant – Revival of the 小笼包

20 03 2011

Recently I was doing some equity research on BreadTalk and found out that they are the ones who franchised Din Tai Fung over to Singapore which I’m really thankful for. I honestly think that it was this single action that ignited our local xiao long bao craze. But have you ever wondered how the xiao long bao came about? Well, I have a theory…

You know how it gets super chilly during the winter months in China (I visited one of my China classmates in Jilin a couple Decembers ago and it got as low as -16 degrees celsius!) Anyway we all know how the Chinese love their wantons but I’m guessing that they aren’t shown as much love when they and the soup they are in turn cold within 3 minutes being out in the open during winter. So one fine day, an enlightened China man experimented putting his soup inside his wanton to keep it from turning cold and that became what is now known as the xiao long bao!

Not sure if that’s how it really went down but it sure sounds logical, doesn’t it?

While Din Tai Fung might have started the craze, sadly their xiao long bao standards have been falling over the years, leaving many in despair and gloom. But there’s finally some good news!  A really decent xiao long bao has been spotted at Hand in Hand Beijing Restaurant!

It’s more of a neighbourhood joint, somewhere you would go for casual family dinners or even to down a beer or 2 over some small eats after work. The menu is an extensive 10+ pages long which is affordably priced, catering to customers who just want a simple pork rib la mian to the more sophisticated diner who wants his four treasures of the sea (abalone, sharks fin, sea cucumber and crab!).

For appetizers, I would recommend the Sliced Pork with Garlic ($9.80++) if fats aren’t too much of a concern but if it is, just tell yourself that fats contain collagen which is good for you. This goes really well with rice!

As I mentioned earlier, the xiao long baos ($6.80/8 小笼包) are really good. The skin is soft but not too brittle, with a solid soup stock.

The Chinese Chive Puff ($6.80++) was meh. You’d do better saving stomach space for better alternatives on the menu.

Spoiled by mum’s home-made dumplings, I found the Cabbage Pork Dumplings ($13++) to be just so-so. Do eat it with a dash of vinegar!

I loved the Homemade Beancurd ($20++) topped with a layer of seaweed. Really silky smooth and tasty!

Delightful little Deep Fried Prawn with Salad ($27++) they have here too.

The Steamed Grouper ($26.80++) provided was much too small for our large group but given the fixed price (instead of going by weight), I guess there isn’t much to complain about. It was fresh but might have been slightly oversteamed given that the fish was real thin.

Despite being a signature dish, I found the 3 Cups Braised Chicken ($27++) to be nothing spectacular. It was just slightly better than the average economic rice stall.

Stewed Pork with Preserved Vegetables aka 梅菜扣肉 ($15.80++) was pretty awesome. The pork was braised till a melt-in-your-mouth tenderness that went well with the buns provided.

Can’t believe the plain Pea Shoots ($16++) cost more than the 梅菜扣肉!

Overall, dinner here was splendid and satisfying yet affordable at about $25/pax.

Bon Appetit!


HAND IN HAND BEIJING RESTAURANT

141-143 JALAN BESAR

TEL: +65 6297 1398








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