Category Archives: Classic Oriental

Victor’s Kitchen, where Dim Sum magic happens

Long before the big swanky restaurant chain, Tim Ho Wan, was brought to Singapore, Victor’s Kitchen first started out as small and cosy Hong Kong-style dim sum eatery. A simple setup of metal tables and plastic stools, the place is smacked in the middle of Bugis, which is highly inaccessible but yet never lacks in patrons and diners. This was a sign that Victor’s Kitchen means business. The chief chef hails from Hong Kong, who was previously a chef at Victoria Hotel. No wonder, this place is swarming with rave reviews.
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Victor’s Kitchen
91 Bencoolen Street
Sunshine Plaza, #01-49
Singapore 189652

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sun: 10:30am – 8:00pm
Tel: 98382851

 

Rama Thai Sharks Fin Restaurant

IMG_0125Fresh Whole Abalone with Sea Cucumber (Individual Serving): The best thing about eating an entire braised abalone is when your knife slice through the abalone like hot knife through butter. The much-coveted shellfish is braised with perfect fire, timing and seasoning. One of the best whole abalone I’ve ever had. Putting the main ingredient aside, the sea cucumber and dried mushroom are both of high-quality as well. The expensive xiang gu is braised to a tender soft, that you could mistake it for the abalone. IMG_0129Braised Whole Sharksfin with Crabmeat (Individual Claypot): My favourite way of eating sharkskin, the Thai way. Served in a clay pot to keep the soup warm, the bean sprouts and coriander are added specially as garnish to give the soup an extra oomph and flavour. The sharkskin is served in a complete fan shape, giving you a generous and satisfying taste of the cartilage. IMG_0138Live Lobster Salad: I was expecting lobster sashimi like the one I tried at a seafood restaurant at Pioneer. But to our disappointment, we were served pieces of overcooked lobster mixed together with fruit and a weird-looking sauce piped all over it. Hmmm. IMG_0143Baked Whole Crab with Vermicelli: This was the surprise of the menu. The vermicelli or Tang Hoon was delectable and rich with flavour. It had us wanting for second rounds or more. In addition, the crab pincers carried juicy fresh meat within the cracked shells. IMG_0150Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs: Cooked to a perfect tenderness, the meat peels off easily from the bone. The sauce is tangy and yet appetising, rendering this dish not too overwhelming.
IMG_0158If you’re in the mood for abalone and sharks fin, this is the place to try. Not all the dishes in Ramathai may score with you but the most coveted abalone and controversial sharks fin soup would not let you down.

Rama Thai Sharks Fin Restaurant
81 Tanjong Pagar Rd
Singapore 088502

Opening Hours:
11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10pm
Tel: 62226626

Tim Ho Wan, with Michelin stars, come great expectations.

When is the last time you queued for dim sum in Singapore? I remember doing so once at Red Star Restaurant, so I did not understand what was the fuss about queuing for another dim sum restaurant. Apparently, this was not any restaurant serving dim sum, but the first overseas branch of a Michelin Star dim sum restaurant from Hong Kong. Opened by famed chef Mak Kwai Pui, the outlet in Plaza Singapura has thus seen a strong and steady flow of diners who would not be deterred by queues of any length. So what can you expect to find in its menu?

IMG_6170Congee with Lean Pork and Century Egg: What’s dim sum without a hot bowl of zuk? I love the smooth velvety texture of the gruel, signifying the long hours taken to cook. In addition, the chunky bits of century egg and lean pork are just perfect complements, resulting in a savoury-tasting and flavourful bowl of congee. This is absolute comfort for the tummy.
IMG_6173Baked Bun with BBQ Pork: One of the Four Heavenly Kings of THW, these Char Siew babies are must-tries. Deeply marinated and tasty char siew form the core of the bun. On the outside, the barbecue pork is enveloped by baked pastry glazed with sugar and butter. I personally found the buns a little too sweet, inside and outside. But it wouldn’t stop me from ordering it the next time I’m there again.
IMG_6199Pan-fried Carrot Cake: Slightly charred on the sides, the carrot cake is starchy and flavourful. Definitely serves well to satisfy, but not the best though. It could do a bit more crispiness and oomph.
IMG_6192Steamed Shrimp Dumpling: Also known as Har Gow, this dish is a must-order for me whenever I have dim sum. Succulent shrimp steamed to perfection, the dumpling skin is slightly too thick for my liking but still moist and tasty.
IMG_6188Steamed Vermicelli Roll with Prawn: THW serves a unique version of Chee Cheong Fun. The rice rolls are served plain straight to the plate before the waiter pours a warm sauce over the rice rolls from a metal teapot. Definitely not a local custom. But unfortunately, I love my rice roll drenched in the saltish sauce and could do with a bit more. 
IMG_6207Steamed Pork Dumplings: THW may not serve orgasmic siew mai, but it’s undoubtedly delectable. The moist dumpling skin is harmonious with the meat filling, binding each dumpling together as one.
IMG_6217-001Tonic Medlar and Osmanthus Cake: Diners should be warned that this dessert is only for the sweet tooth. Otherwise, you may find the cake too sweet and a little hard to stomach at the end of all the baskets of dim sums. I love the refreshing sweetness of the flower but struggled to continue after the first one. Definitely recommend to share with more people.
IMG_6225Before I gave this place a try, I heard many people claiming how disappointing it is and that it is stupid to queue to have dim sum. And now that I’ve had my share of queuing and food-tasting, I can only tell this people that

1. Queuing to dine is the norm in our overly congested country. And not counting the fact that the outlet in Plaza Singapura is only a 100-seater. So naturally, long lines will form for a newly opened restaurant.

2. Expect less and you will gain more. When you expect too much of your food, do not expect to enjoy yourself.

Tim Ho Wan
68 Orchard Road #01-29A
Plaza Singapura
Singapore 238839
Opening Hours:
10am – 10pm

Ah Yat Abalone Forum Restaurant, for the juicy abalones.

Since young, my family loves going for good food to celebrate special occasions. And Ah Yat was one of our frequent dining places. This was where I developed my love for braised abalone, Peking duck and bird nest.
Ah Yat Abalone Forum Restaurant

Peking Duck: The skin is crispy and just enough to taste the texture. The slices are tasty, proportionate to the thin slices of egg wrap. The hoisin sauce and scallions further amplify the flavour of the duck skin.

Ah Yat Abalone Forum RestaurantShark’s Fin Soup: Accompanied with bits of mushroom and fish maw, the soup has an interesting biting texture.  The restaurant is generous with the shark’s fin and you can literally taste the intricate texture of each shark’s fin. I loved the slight tangy flavour that whets the appetite.

Ah Yat Abalone Forum RestaurantBraised Whole Abalone: The braised whole abalone is of the right firmness and not difficult to slice through. It carries such a smooth and springy texture that it I just want to keep chewing and not stop! Most importantly, the sauce brings out the freshness of the abalone. The dish definitely packs a wonderful balance of taste and texture.

Ah Yat Abalone Forum RestaurantSliced Fresh Clams with Honey Peas in Sichuan Sauce: This dish totally caught me by surprise. The clam is refreshingly sweet and tender on its own. The Sichuan sauce ties the dish together with its slightly sweet and spicy taste. Blown away.

Ah Yat Abalone Forum RestaurantSoya Sauce Steamed Soon Hock: Soon Hock or Marbled Goby, is a much sought-after table fish and my favourite! In this dish, the fish is fried first before steamed in light soya sauce. Absolutely fresh, the fish gives you a tasty white flesh with a fine texture that melts in your mouth. The light soya sauce is perfectly salty to complement the fish. Last but not least, the coriander leaves gives you the extra fragrance.

Ah Yat Abalone Forum RestaurantSeared Scallop: The scallop is pan-seared to perfection. Slightly crispy on the outside but tender and chewy on the inside.

Ah Yat Abalone Forum RestaurantYam dessert with Sago: Not your typical yam paste dessert, this has lower viscosity and more fluid. My brother and I are head over heels for the famous traditional Teo Chew dessert. So boy were we surprised with what this unique rendition could bring to our palettes. And the sago is just an added bonus!

With excellent service and located away from the hustle and bustle of the crowd, this restaurant would be a perfect place to treat your folks for a classical Chinese dinner.

Ah Yat Abalone Forum Restaurant
Hotel Grand Pacific
101 Victoria Street
#01-06/#04-00
Singapore 188018

Pumpkin is actually a fruit.

I always had a distant relationship with pumpkin. Its just like how you would stay away from squash or parsnip. Rare commodities that you would find on your daily meal. But this was before I came face-to-face with the fruit. Twice.

When I ordered this dessert dish to try, I honestly had no expectation. It was based on a recommendation. So, the skeptical me only took half of a piece to taste. But ho and behold, I had no idea that I would be stuffing my face with seconds. Or more than that. Baked from a pumpkin paste, the pancake possesses a mild level of sweetness from the fruit, topped off with a fine layer of icing sugar. Sweet but not too sweet. Definitely one of the best desserts I have ever tried in a Chinese restaurant.

Pumpkin Pancakes
Paradise Dynasty, Ion Orchard

Like I said, I was never a big fan of pumpkin, before I had the pumpkin dessert at Paradise Dynasty, so here I am having a try at another variation of the orange fruit. 

I was caught by surprise by the mild sweetness of the soup, boosted by a light tasting broth. Smooth and creamy, it not only whets your appetite but keeps you wanting for more. 

Pumpkin Soup (Order with their Set Lunch)
Bakerzin
Jurong Point