Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Eastern House of Seafood Delicacy Singapore JK1218 东味鲜美食阁
In Singapore, a lot has been said and written about our hawker centres. We are grateful for hawkers and hawker centres for providing delicious food generally accessible for the public. In my humble opinion, another uniquely Singapore institution deserves mention - the zhi char or cze char 煮炒 shops at the foot of our public housing apartments (known as HDB flats in Singapore).
煮炒 literally means "cook and fry", so zhi char shops serves a wide variety of dishes, most of which are not available in hawker centres (where hawkers normally specialise in a single dish). So, a foodie adventure in Singapore would be incomplete if one stops at hawker centres without a visit to a zhi char shop.
Zhi char or cze char 煮炒 shops like Eastern House of Seafood Delicacy lets more people have a chance to enjoy restaurant type dishes at affordable prices.
Eastern House of Seafood Delicacy 东味鲜美食阁 located at the ground level of a Singapore public housing apartment, is bright, clean, cool (in the evening) and well kept. The wait staff is alert, attentive and friendly. Except for it's HDB flat location and lack of air conditioning, it is little different from a Chinese restaurant.
Zhi Char shops offer many different dishes and each will have their respective signature dishes. Here are the dishes we tasted at Eastern House of Seafood Delicacy, a good zhi char shop located in Chai Chee estate, a typical residential neighbourhood in Singapore's east.
Curry Fish Head 风味鱼头 (SGD20)
Fresh red snapper fish 紅雞魚 in a savoury slightly tangy spicy sloshy gravy. Simple and nice - I like it that the quite large fish head (half side only) is fresh and the curry gravy's flavours are well balanced.
One of Eastern House of Seafood Delicacy's signature dishes - Dry Roast Sotong (SGD15).
This Dry Roast Sotong is a Must Try.
The fresh squid is marinated overnight with a savoury sweet sauce. When there is an order, the squids are bathed in hot oil till they are browned and slightly charred.
The end result is soft bouncy, still moist squid meat which tasted like grilled jiu her (grilled squid). Actually, I liked it better than the traditional jiu her as grilled squid tends to be dry and chewy. This oil bathed squid has the addictive smokey flavour of jiu her yet it is still juicy.
The best of both jiu her and sotong worlds, if I might say.
Deer meat in "Portuguese sauce" SGD12. Mildly tangy, sweet, spicy and savoury sauce smothering tender thin slices of deer meat.
This big slab of prime ribs is not called Dinosaur Ribs for nothing. It is HUGE.
And, it was delicious.
The savoury sweet sauce is made in the restaurant and it tasted better than those from rib franchises that use bottled BBQ sauces.
I was chewing and enjoying the tender juicy well marinated meat when Alvin (one of the partners) told me the price.
My jaw dropped a little when I heard him said SGD16. That's 50% less than typical restaurant price for the same dish in Singapore.
If you are a rib lover, you ought to regret it, if you come to Eastern House of Seafood Delicacy and didn't order this tasty dinosaur.
Crab cooked with salted egg yolk. This was the most expensive dish of our meal today at SGD45.
It's a meaty live Sri Lankan crab. The pastey salted egg yolk sauce is moist and not overly salty. I could taste the fresh juiciness of the crab meat complemented by the gently savoury salted egg yolk.
For greens, we had this refreshing Green Dragon Vegetable (SGD12) with crunchy juicy bean sprouts lightly fried with a gently savoury sauce made with fermented tofu and a touch of Chinese cooking wine. I like it that the bean sprouts were carefully cleaned of their roots and seed coat, giving us just the sweet juicy crunchy pearly stem.
Fried Bee Hoon with Pork Trotters SGD16.
This is one of those Hokkien family home comfort dishes traditionally made with pork trotters straight out of a can. The bee hoon (rice vermicelli) is wok fried with canned pork trotters transferring it's rich deeply savoury flavours into the strands of rice noodles. So, the resulting dish has nicely balanced flavours and the texture of mushy soft pork and even bones. Alvin said the chef used only 50% of the sauce from the can to fry the noodles but it still felt slightly too greasy for me :-p
After dinner proper, we settled down to a couple of beers, wines and whisky. This tempura style French beans 四季豆 and prawns (SGD15) were just the thing we needed for a round of drinks. I especially enjoyed the juicy, crunchy French beans wrapped in crispy batter. Served with mayonnaise dip (which I didn't use).
At Eastern House of Seafood Delicacy customers can BYO (bring your own) wines and whisky. Eastern House of Seafood Delicacy has the proper liquor licences.
Swee swee (just perfect).... the drinks were a good excuse to order another round of this addictive Dry Roast Squid ;-D
Eastern House of Seafood Delicacy does not charge GST nor service charge.
If you are visiting Singapore - go local, have a meal at a zhi char shop under a block of public housing apartments. It's one of the best memories you can take home with you about an authentic Singapore dining experience.
Disclosure: Please note that this is an invited tasting.
Restaurant name: Eastern House of Seafood Delicacy 东味鲜美食阁
Address: #01-174, 55 Chai Chee Drive, Singapore 460055
GPS: 1.326895, 103.919232
Opening Hours: 11:00am to 10:30pm
Tel: 9150 8172
Date visited: 17 Aug 2015
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