Thursday, 30 April 2015
Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Fu 秀记江鱼仔酿豆腐 JK1116
While surveying the blind corners of Chinatown Complex Food Centre, I stumbled upon bamboo trays of these steaming hot stuffed yong tau fu. Any freshly made food, especially by hand catches my attention. When I stopped and stepped closer, I could smell the warm aroma of fresh tofu.
I quickly got in line.
Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Fu 秀记江鱼仔酿豆腐 is in the "green zone" of Chinatown Food Complex. The queue snakes around the corner of the stall during lunch time but it clears quickly.
I got all these for SGD4; it's truly good value by Singapore standards. The standard serving of bee hoon/yellow noodles/kway teow, anchovies and 6 pieces of yong taufu for SGD3.
I got extra ingredients (the fried stuffed eggplant and bitter gourd) for additional 50 cents each, hence SGD4.
The clear savoury broth made mainly with ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and fish bones, lacked layers in flavour, so it tasted a little flat.
The fish based pieces had subtle fish and tofu flavours. It lacked the layers and dimensions of those yong taufu stuffed with fish, minced pork and tee po. Nevertheless, I do appreciate this light tasting cheng cheng 清清 option. There are times when I am in the mood for something calming and comforting like this.
There were also a couple of fish stuffed tau pok and tau pueh (fried tofu skin) pieces.
I opted for bee hoon (rice vermicelli) which were buried under the fried stuffed bitter gourd, egg plant and a heap of fried ikan bilis. The fried stuffed bitter gourd and egg plant added deeper savoury flavour to the mildly flavoured boiled yong tau fu pieces.
The bee hoon was simply given a dash of shallot oil and customers add chili sauce to their own taste or heart's content. The watery chili sauce was spicy and sourish similar to those found in average chicken rice stalls. I saw some customers pour in enough chili sauce to fill a small cup, though I didn't use it much - I don't like sourish things. (There is no sweet sauce provided here.)
The fried ikan bilis, which the stall is named after, were quite stiff but not overly salty.
They indeed added an interesting savoury and crispy dimension to the bland and soft yong tau fu.
Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Fu 秀记江鱼仔酿豆腐 is a family run business. The clan starts work at the stall at 2:00am so that they are ready to serve customers by 6:00am. The family is originally from Ipoh, Malaysia and the founders started the stall more than 30 years ago. The family matriarch is still at the stall during my visit.
Ms Lee, the founder's daughter does most of the cooking at the stall now.
Ms Lee's husband 有福 making yong taufu. He told me that the fish fillings are made with 100% yellowtail or ikan parang (wolf herring fish). I appreciate it that everything is made fresh right here at the stall.
I would eat this yong taufu again when I am in Chinatown Complex Food Centre and in the mood for a healthful comfort meal.
Restaurant name: Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Fu 秀记江鱼仔酿豆腐
Address: #02-88, Chinatown Complex Market, 335 Smith Street, Singapore
GPS: 1.282645, 103.842876
Hours: 6:00am to 2:00pm
Date visited: 21 Apr 2015
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