After dinner at home one weekday evening, I was still feeling hungry and I had a craving for some zi char. I popped over to Commonwealth where I knew a Zi Char that closes late, which is Sek Tong Gai. At close to 10pm, there were 3 tables, ranging from 4 to 10 pax having their dinner.
As I waited for my order, I saw their order of crab bee hoon being served, and it whet my appetite more. Must come back another day for that.
I ordered the following to go:
- Har Cheong Kai (Prawn paste chicken): What I like about their chicken is the prawn paste is mild in taste and not strong flavour like most stalls. There’s hardly any batter coating the chicken. They also use the whole chicken for this, so you get breast meat, chicken wings, drum sticks unlike other places who only use chicken wings. The breast meat were nice and tender and not dry at all. Chilli sauce has a unique ginger flavour and mildly spicy, which I finished by the end of my meal. Recommended!
- Bee Hoon with sliced bittergourd and ‘Sang Yu’ (snakehead) fish: My first choice of hor fun is sold out, so I went for Bee Hoon instead. Wanting to eat healthy, I went for sliced bittergourd and ‘Sang Yu’ (snakehead) fish in a black bean sauce. Fish is fresh and firm. The bittergourd complemented the black bean sauce well. Good ‘wok hei’ for the bee hoon. Try it!
A good and satisfying meal for me.
A great restaurant for easy takeaways or dining in, and I have not been disappointed.
The first dish that was served was the Chinese Spinach with mini dried scallops and cellophane noodles (more commonly known as "tang hoon"), at SGD$21.00. This seemingly simple dish was immersed in the most tasty broth, the fresh spinach was finely soft, and the cellophane noodles were silky smooth, so this dish passed on all counts - taste, texture and outlook.
Next, we had the Claypot chicken with salted fish (SGD$18.00) - the chicken was not ultra-tender, but the taste was superb in savoury's element. Imagine tiny bits of salted fish and the overture of spring onion orchestrating flavors on top of the saltish gravy the chicken was infused with.
Following this, we had the Soon Hock Fish (SGD$97.00) - cooked in traditional Cantonese style alongside cubes of beancurd, white mushrooms and brinjal. The fish was fresh and saccharine in its sea-worthy manner, and the brinjal was meltingly soft. This was a dish with everything - meat and vegetables tossed into one.
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The restaurant has a long history: In Tiong Bahru for over 18 years, Neil Rd (Chinatown) for 7 yrs, 3-yr retirement before opening the restaurant at Tanglin Halt for the past 2 years.
You can sit inside/ alfresco. Alfresco offers a unique dining style, where you are ‘transported back’ to the 60’s, where you can sit back in your chair, enjoy the evening breeze and savour a meal under the stars.
Here are my meal highlights:
- - Braised Shark’s Fin Soup in Claypot, with Crabmeat: Comes with a side of stir-fried bean sprouts and parsley as add-ons. Black/ Red vinegar are available. Good!
- - Oyster Roll: Filled with dried oyster, salted egg yolks and big fresh prawns… A unique and decadent appetiser!
- - Seafood Spring Roll: Fresh prawns, chestmut, parsley, chilli and cuttlefish paste come together to make this one of my favourite dishes for the evening. Must-order!
- - Alaskan Crab: The crab leg shells were thoughtfully cut along the sides so we can get to the meat easily. We had it done two ways:
- Mushroom Sauce: Cream base with sliced mushrooms. Loved this. A unique creation and I don’t find this anywhere!
- Salted Egg Yolk (SEY): Open up the crab legs and put a piece in your mouth. when you slide the shell out, use upper teeth to slide meat out, and your tongue will have the SEY below, when the crab meat and SEY combine, you get a special taste and texture!
The crab was meaty, sweet and delicious. You can ask for half or even a quarter Alaskan crab if you have a smaller group. Must-try!
- - Kailan done two ways: Poached – Kailan was poached and laid on a plate, with sauce made from premium Japanese Soy Sauce. Topped with Deep Fried chopped-up kalian leaves, and garnished with a special mix of silver fish, shallots and shredded octopus. Unique & Highly recommended!
- - Black Pepper Lean Pork: Tender and delicious. Not peppery at all. Yummy!
- - Deep-fried ‘Live’ Soon Hock in Claypot: A special dish that I will order again. Good to pre-order. The ‘live’ fish was deep-fried and placed in a claypot, topped with a sauce made of minced pork, tofu and brinjal. The minced pork is prepared over a tedious process, where it is first stir-fried for 3 hours, left for an hour and then placed in a fridge overnight, allowing the fats to rise to the top and coagulate. The fats are removed the next day and only then its used in this dish. How’s that for preparation. Must-order!
- - Fried Rice in Superior Stock: The rice is first fried with eggs, and then its cooked together in superior stock, and sliced mushrooms, fish and prawns. Good!
I can tell that food quality is important to the restaurant, and it shows in the cooking and even the little things like soy sauce in the little saucer served to every guest.
I am very happy with this great new find. I can come over many visits and try the different items on their extensive menu.