For the full review with pictures, please head to http://thehungrybunnie.blogspot.com/2010/10/soup-restaurant-seah-street.html
This particular outlet has a very "old Chinese teahouse" feel, with its conservation shophouse surroundings, traditional Oriental design, timber lattice details and ornate wooden Chinese furniture. Very old-school, very quaint. It's like stepping into a Chinese period drama.
1) Samsui Ginger Chicken ($14.80) - boneless tender chicken lightly dressed with a soy and sesame oil mix. Throw in a kickass minced ginger and sesame oil dip, with refreshingly crisp lettuce and you've got a winning combination of aromatic and tasty flavours and textures
2) Stewed Chicken Breast with Roast Pork and Tofu ($10.80) - I liked everything on the claypot, save for the chicken breast bits, they were tiny and tough, like they'd been re-fried
3) Ah Kon Fan Shu Leaves ($8) sweet potato leaves fried with sambal chilli. The sambal, despite its fiery hue, was mildly spicy
4) Steamed Hand-Chopped Minced Pork with Salted Egg ($8.50), with water chestnut adding texture to the coarsely chopped mince. This was light and delicate
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Steamed Hand Chopped Minced Pork 马蹄蒸手剁肉饼 ($8.50) -Though it was claimed that only 30 servings are made each day, we couldn’t really appreciate any uniqueness about this dish. On first glace, our initial impression was that it would be rather salty. But it turned out otherwise. Flavours wise, it wasn’t all that strong and as expected, the addition of water chestnuts into the minced pork provided the extra crunchiness.
Poached Baby Spinach with Conpoy in Century and Salted Egg Stock 瑶柱金银蛋苋菜苗 ($12.90) – A rather mediocre dish. Nothing too mind blowing.
Soup Restaurant’s specialty is their Samsui Ginger Chicken 三水姜茸鸡 ($15.90). The chicken was served boneless, which made consumption convenient. The meat was tender, without much seasoning. The ginger garlic sauce was very refreshing and was a good compliment to the slightly bland chicken meat. It wasn’t all too overpowering with ginger or garlic taste, yet still being fragrant and tasty. This does remind us of the typical chicken rice found in hawker centres, but this was less oily and seemingly healthier.
Soup Restaurant is a restaurant chain that serves a good variety of dishes from the restaurant's Managing Director, Mr. Mok Yip Peng's family recipes. In spirit of preserving heritage, these family recipes were prepared in the same traditional way. The restaurant brings back reminiscence of street food from the Chinatown of old. Only now, within the modern comforts of air conditioned and nicely decorated environment. Now, all we knew or care to know, was that the Soup Restaurant's food have simple ingredients but were prepared well to taste real good. To most, like me and the generation after me, the heritage behind these food weren't the least remembered. All we remember was the clean, sincere taste that lingered after the meal.
三水姜耳鸡 Samsui Ginger Chicken
The Samsui Ginger Chicken is the signature dish of Soup Restaurant. Any trip to the restaurant would be incomplete without first savoring this dish which originated from the hardworking Samsui women who were pioneers who helped build Singapore. Samsui women banded together, living lives of singlehood. Life was hard, for they chose to engage in hard labour, in construction sites and rubber plantations to earn a living. This dish was the traditional dish that Samsui women had during the Chinese New Year to indulge themselves for the year of hard work.
The chicken was steamed just enough to maintain it's taste, aroma and tenderness. Pieces if these chicken circled a dish of minced ginger. This ginger, to me, is the 'heart and soul' of this heritage food. Traditionally, ginger was believed to relief the aches on our bodies. This could be the reason why it was used for this Samsui dish. As accompaniment to the chicken, there was a bowl of fresh, crispy lettuce which made it a well balanced diet. To immerse in its delight, the three main ingredients have to be eaten together. The chicken was first 'cupped' inside a slice of lettuce. Dip the chicken before placing it on the lettuce or like me, just scoop the ginger and simply place it over the chicken. Wrap it up and there you go, ready to bite into a piece of Samsui's history. It tasted better when I found out and respect the origins of this simple, yet appetizing dish.
Soup Restaurant Beggar's Bowl
Another signature dish of Soup Restaurant is their Beggar's Bowl. The Beggar's bowl is essentially a typical shallow ceramic bowl that beggars used on TV shows (we seldom see them now in modern Singapore). In each beggar's bowl, there's the common steamed rice topped with the different 'toppings' that gave the Soup Restaurant Beggar's Bowl some variety to cater to different taste buds. We all felt that it tasted like claypot rice but without the fragrance of the overcooked charred rice that lines the bottom of the claypot.
The Seah street outlet that we visited is located inside a conservation shop house. The interior decor is all Chinese style, with several round dining tables. Service at this outlet was great. Our chrysanthemum tea was constantly refilled without us asking. I will visit Soup Restaurant again if I crave for a clean simple home cooked food and also to pay respect to the Samsui Ginger Chicken.
For more photos and details, see - http://4-the-love-of-food.blogspot.com/2010/08/soup-restaurant-our-choice-of-light-and.html