Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lai Huat's Sambal Fish

This is one of those that should be categorised as ugly dishes that taste good. In terms of effort for presentation, I would grade it a 2/10 but I would like to think the other 8 points goes to the extra effort that they put into making the sambal.

The sambal is everything. They’ve been dishing it on fried fish for decades and it is pretty good. We selected the flat fish over the pomfret because it seemed the meatier of the two. The sambal is good. It isn’t a paste that they butter on the fish but a dry-fry version that is fragrant and crispy that could just be eaten with rice. The only slight let down is that the fish was over-fried. It wasn’t greasy but I would have liked to have more of texture and flavour of the fish rather than just crispy batter with crispy sambal bits. Again, extra points for the sambal but no points for the fish.

Lai Huat Seafood Restaurant
72 Horne Road
Tel: 6299-3024

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Zhong Guo Seafood Restaurant, it serves Xinjiang Skewers

I don’t know how long they have been around but they’ve certainly added spice to Chinese food dining scene.

Although it is called Zhong Guo Seafood restaurant, it really isn’t representative of Chinese cuisine. Well… technically no restaurant possibly could, unless the menu had 1000+ items? Whilst Chinese food in general relates to Cantonese food, the food here trades in the trinity of garlic, ginger and spring onions and fills it with spoonfuls of cumin.

We came here in search of Xinjiang skewers. Cumin and chilli pepper seasoning is the only choice, so if you order a whole load of them, order a ‘refresher’ because they might all start tasting the same. I wasn’t expecting exceptionally tender cutes of meat but here, they are grilled to death, so please note, it really more about the flavours. It is tough but tasty. The only exception was the quail, which perhaps because it was a whole roasted bird as opposed to unknown choice cuts.

Whilst I thought cumin should only appear in curries and dry rubs, I was surprised to see that they use it as a main seasoning for stir-fries for squid or pork, we ordered the squid to try but the seasoning is way too strong for me.

If I had a choice, I’d rather have yakitori over Xinjiang skewers any day but there is a different quality of deliciousness in the seasoning and the chaos of the restaurant that might draw me back for those chewy chunks of meat that are roasted over charcoal. It is tough. But it is also tasty.

Zhong Guo Seafood Restaurant
193 New Bridge Road
Tel: 6423-0680


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Itacho Itacho ...

In Tokyo, there is Midori where the snaking line is one indication that they have found the perfect balance between quality and price. In Singapore, Itacho which has made its way here from Hong Kong tries to fill those shoes. Admirable but the problem is that the balance isn’t quite there yet. When it comes to price versus freshness the quality seems right but with regards to some, the execution quality needs to play catch up. That being said, the value is still evident.

We snacked here, so our sampling size of the menu small. We started with the delicious lobster and mango roll and then got a little carried away with the aburi section, which at Itacho is known as roasted sushi. Sadly, most parts of the roasted sushi section was a letdown with often the fish served over-scorched and other time, an unbalance of proportion of fish to rice or in one case scallop to cod liver. So maybe next time, when I’m in some cute flat shoes and find myself in the line again, I think I’ll start with my traditional favourites and then explore the rolls a little more.

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