Friday, 10 January 2014
Goldleaf Taiwan Restaurant at Amoy Street in Singapore
Our foodie and bloggie kakis recently met at Goldleaf Taiwan Restaurant at Amoy Street in Singapore which is a short walk from Raffles Place MRT and Tanjong Pagar MRT.
Inside Goldleaf, the décor is simple yet classic and elegant. Unpretentious and welcoming, I felt at home the moment I stepped in.
Karen, who is the daughter-in-law of the founders, handles operations at the front. Here Karen was showing us a water colour sketch of the original Goldleaf Taiwan Restaurant at Orchard Road, off Oxley Rise. In our conversation with the owners, there was a palpable pride and desire to connect with the spirit of the Goldleaf's roots.
When all the customers left and the restaurant closed for the afternoon, Grace (the daughter of the founders) emerged from the kitchen and joined us. I was curious why Grace took up the baton to continue the family business. Two words "filial piety", Grace said. Grace shared that she grew up with Goldleaf which was established in the 1970s. Goldleaf has long been a treasured part of the family and her parents are now old, so she felt it is time for her to step up to the plate.
Earlier on while waiting for all to arrive, we munched on this savoury old school braised tofu appetiser. I agree wholeheartedly with Uncle Smart's comment that the appetiser says something about the establishment. Goldleaf took the trouble to cook a traditional appetiser when they could easily have succumbed to the common shortcut of serving salted peanuts - snip open a bag of peanuts and serve.....
When all arrived, the party began. The dishes were served pretty fast despite the lunch crowd.
First up, the well executed stir fried French beans with dried shrimps, chai poh and chili - savoury, crunchy and juicy. "Nothing special" - totally familiar, just the way we always eat porridge at home and that is why this dish is truly special to me.
Next, stir fried er chai (Taiwanese lettuce) that looked, smelled and felt like it came straight out of mum's kitchen. I enjoyed the well executed crunchy, leafy greens.
Goldleaf is very proud of their traditional braised belly pork. The owner Grace personally ensures that every delivery of fresh pork has the right proportion of skin, fat and meat as this is crucial for good braised belly pork.
The mei chai or preserved spinach was made from scratch with fresh vegetables. They were crunchy and refreshing - a far cry from the salty lifeless mash of factory supplied mei chai.
The pork, especially the fats, were braised so soft that it dissolves in your mouth faster than warm tau huay 豆花. The melting fat releases a savoury flavour and aroma in the mouth that braised belly pork fans love.
The chai poh neng or omelette with chopped preserved radish. Another homely porridge staple. Perfectly round - beats mom and pop's homemade version in presentation but equal in taste and flavours.
Uncle Smart is a food blogger's best buddy. While we were sweating under our brows trying to get the best shots to do justice to the good food, Uncle Smart carefully broke open the chai poh neng to expose the insides. Uncle Smart has been with enough food bloggers to know that we have to have a shot of the inside :D Thanks Uncle Smart for the thoughtfulness :)
I love Goldleaf's Cod steak. Fried to a slight crisp outside, garnished with a house blended savoury sauce, the pearly white flesh inside was juicy, tender and sweet. Karen told us that Goldleaf uses premium Norwegian (Atlantic) Cod for this dish.
This steamed minced pork with salted fish reminds me of home - my mum and dad used to make this regularly. I remember the muffled sound of the chopper blade striking the chopping board as mum or dad chopped the meat to a mince.
Goldleaf also serves the same steamed minced meat with salted egg yolk. The steamed minced pork is sweet and tender with salty notes from the chai poh, salted fish or egg yolk. I like both versions, which are comfort foods for me.
Three Cup Chicken, named after the 3 cups of sauces that went into the preparation of this dish. This traditional dish is a staple in Taiwan where this style of porridge originate.
Gor hiang or fried prawn roll which is a must have with Taiwan porridge. The savoury minced prawns are complemented by the crunchy chopped chestnuts that make the compact rolls airy to the bite.
Siham or cockles drenched in a special house blended sauce. Uncooked, well cleaned , chilled and very fresh. Refreshing taste, crunchy candy jelly texture, with the unique flavour of siham. I love this.
The siham can be eaten neat or with the house blended savoury and spicy dip.
This tangled heap of twisted fried fish may not look very pretty but it is so tasty and crispy. The fish are specially imported from Taiwan. Everything is eaten from head to tail including the bones as well :D
Only mildly salty, it goes very well with the sweet potato porridge.
Ian commented that this fried fish is excellent beer food. I can't agree more and immediately requested for a beer to go with it. Brilliant idea, Ian :P
The classic Teochew dessert orh nee or yam paste. Made without lard, it was lighter tasting than the old school version. Smooth and not overly sweet. I had two of these bowls :P
Most of the dishes that we had today are what mums and dads cook at home. Simple, everyday ingredients but requires hours of preparation and cooked with loving attention.
Overall, the flavours were well balanced with every flavour in moderation - nothing overly salty or sugary. I couldn't detect MSG in the dishes, so probably there was little, if any MSG.
Throughout, the staff was helping us with the tea and our various small requests, attentively, politely, quietly and efficiently.
We enjoyed the food and company tremendously that afternoon.
When it was time to take our leave, Karen declined to accept our payment for the food eaten. Thanks Karen and Grace for the scrumptious meal and the warm hospitality.
Restaurant name: Goldleaf Taiwan Restaurant (signboard reads New Taiwan Porridge Restaurant)
Address: 110, Amoy Street, Singapore
Hours: 11:30am to 2:30pm | 6:00pm to 11:00pm (open daily)
Date visited: 15 Nov 2013
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