Have been here a few times. The food is consistently good and always value for money. Simply love their sharksfin for its broth and the braised abalone. Dun need to order the best, any sharksfin , small abalone is good enough. Other dishes we tried were also delicious, eg, the special fried tofu and the three wine chicken. Portions are generous, be careful not to over order. Usually a set meal for 4 pax, is sufficient for 5 (normal eaters). Its location along the Chinatown Spring Court Restaurant makes it inconspicuous (overshadowed by Spring Court). I have not tried Spring Court before, but judging at their set menus, Tam Kah is better priced and higher value for money.
For photos, please visit Rubbish Grow Rubbish Eat.
Tan Kah is my hidden find. A few years ago, I walked past it, decided to jump into it, and viola, I've been going there since then. Recently, I went back and I decided I would never go back again.
There were 5 of us but we got the 4-person set meal, which consisted of 4 bowls of sharks fin, peng cai, a fish and three-cup chicken. At $98, we thought it would be worth the money.
Huge bowl of sharks fin right? But it was bland and the sharks fin came in strands.
Peng Cai is a Hakka dish. Hakkas were homeless and poor and so they just dumped all the food (cai) in one pot (peng), and so we have peng cai. This was the peng cai when I first started eating at Tan Kah. Look at how huge and succulent everything looked, gleaming and tempting like a hot boy in white swim trunks! Can swallow him it whole.
Look at the boy now... all shriveled and wrinkly...Instead of whole abalones, now the abalone came in thin slices! The ingredients have also lessened. no more "fa cai," no more mushrooms and no more shark lips. Shark lips are very delicious, a jelly form. Yeah lah, wanna kill shark, don't just cut of the fin and throw it back into the sea to die lah. That's wasteful. Cut the fin and the lips then throw back into the sea mah. Not only are the ingredients reduced, the taste was also compromised. No more orgasmic richness of the blend of essence of seafood in the sauce. The sauce became very bland.
The best dish that day was the three-cup chicken and it was the worst 3-cup chicken I had in my life. It's called 3-cup because there are 3 shots of alcohol in it. The first two shots, you put in the dish; for the 3rd shot, you cover the claypot and drizzle the shot over the cover so that the alcohol slowly seeps into the pot. This 3rd shot is usually just for fragrance.
But Tan Kah 3-cup chicken didn't have the kick. 3-cup chicken is supposed to be heavy-handed and this one just wasn't salty enough.
I wanted a steamed fish but the waitress herself said the fish wasn't fresh! So we had it fried. I don't know what fish it is but I think it's ROCK fish, flesh as hard as rock, dry as an old maid's cave. I mean, if it's abs on hot men, it better be hard. Or else, I like my flesh soft, thank you very much.
The meal was so bad that even the rather decent gui ling gao (herbal jelly) didn't help. We had to adjourn to somewhere else for more dessert.
$127 for 5 persons. I like value for money food, but I don't like bad food, especially when I was introducing the restaurant to my friends. I am a food critic leh! So malu! Why has the standard dropped so much? Even the restaurant looked rundown and sad, with the flickering florescent lamp, dark and gloomy. Come on!
Tam Kam is an old school old name in the world of sharks fins abalones n dried seafood... An inconspicuous little shop.. it is an easy place to miss n forget in our hectic footsteps..
Granted the sharks fins n abalones r the signatures here but unfortunately it's not on my table on the night of my visit for i had came to savour a particular dish... the pen cai!
We started with the fish maw soup @ $12 which serves 3 juz nicely... the broth is thick n sticky n is tasty except that it's too little..no doubt there's a generous amt of fish maws but the soup's a tad too little to get a good hearty slurp..
We were keen to try the pen cai for my mum had the grand idea of doing one herself since we had an awesome pot last yr from an aunt who made a truly delicous pen cai with lobsters n all...Inspired, we decided to check out the pen cai here! We ordered the usual pen cai @ $48 which includes sea cucumbers n fish maws n mushrooms n scallops etc... The ingredients r generous n is absolutely a love for dried seafood lovers! However, i wasn't too impress by it for the sauce or gravy aint as tasty or power as my aunt's version ... I also prefer my pen cai with dried oysters n the fa cai which r lacking here... The 3 cups chix here r quite tasty n is a good meat item...
Overall i aint loving it but i know tat it's good stuff except it aint to my taste buds.. If i'm back i'll try out their signatures shark fins n braised abalone though..