Thursday, May 12, 2005

'Zhe-cha' servings

Singaporeans are really lucky to have an abundance of ‘zhe-cha’ stalls near their homes (at least for the majority of the local population). ‘Zhe-cha’ stalls are food-stalls located in hawker centres or the local ‘kopi-tiams’ (coffee-shops), which serve local home-cooked dishes from a menu usually comprising a wide variety of seafood, poultry, pork and meat, vegetables, noodles and rice dishes. As most homes are no more than a 15-minute walk to a ‘zhe-cha’ stall, there is really no excuse, even for the non-kitchen entering species, to survive on just bread and instant noodles (unless the butt has gotten so lazy that it’s stuck either on the tv-couch or in front of the computer). Don’t feel like cooking tonight, just go to your nearest ‘zhe-cha’ and get your balanced ‘pyramid’ meal of 1 serving meat/fish and 2 servings vegetables cooked on the spot (in the way that u like) and served piping hot. Having a dinner party but can’t handle cooking a whole slew of dishes, just order one or two or more dishes from your favourite ‘zhe-zha’ for takeaway and if you have 'thick skin', hide evidence of takeaway packaging and unabashedly claim dishes as your own!

One of my favourite ‘zhe-cha’ stalls is “Fatt Choy Mui Seafood Restaurant” at Blk 34, #01-86 Cassia Crescent (not exactly 15 minutes from our home, more like half an hour by car but worth the drive), which is just behind the hawker center at old airport road. Over the weekend, hubby and I went back and had a delicious ‘assam fish-head curry’ together with ‘mui-choy (preserved vegetables) braised pork belly’ – haven’t quite mastered the art of food-photography, so photos look a bit blur (ok, ok, I admit I was out-of-focus..) but still u get the picture right!

Assam fish-head - subject hidden by vegetables and red-hot chilli-gravy! Posted by Hello

The ‘assam fish-head’ looks chilli-potent but is not as hot as it looks and the sourness of the ‘assam’ (tamarind) balances the spiciness very well - the gravy demands at least a bowl of rice. This place also serves ‘chilli crabs’, ‘fried crab beehoon’, ‘mongolian pork ribs’ (don’t ask me why it’s called Mongolian, but the ribs are really succulent and tender braised in some kind of black sauce with a tinge of sweetness) and a host of other dishes. Reasonably priced, you will not ‘sweat’ your bank account dining here.

Pics may be blur but memory of delicious taste not blur at all! Posted by Hello


Anonymous The Witch said...

Ah....our family of 7 went looking for Ah Mui (aka Cynthia?) last night and we were very pleasantly surprised with the lovely laid back ambience,friendly service and very reasonable pricing. As expected, the food was great! We had the infamous assam fishead which was great. Equally good were the Chicken with Thai sauce and the homemade tofu(with bits of chye poh on top). They ran out of Mui Choy pork and we had to contend with Marmite Pork Ribs which I would not recommend. The oat prawns was our all time favourite...all bits done to such crispiness that the entire prawn (head, tail and all) can be consumed...hmm! Excellent meal of 7 dishes for 7 pax costing only $84 (with prawns costing $30). Will definitely be back there again! Where else can you find good food, no parking problem and no queue on weekends?

If you are looking for a romantic place to have dinner with hubby, try Beaulieu House at Sembawang Hill (old Naval Base). Food is not something to rave abt but where else can you have dinner watching sunset in front of an old colonial house in a park on a hill with water views all around? Bring your bottle of favourite vino (cockage of $5 only!!)and try the spaghetti marinara or the bbq set for 2. You dont even have to dress up for the ocassion! Remember to get there early to catch sunset.

5/16/2005 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

Yes - the food is truly satisfying, and hubby and I have not even eaten thru' their entire 'repertoire' (i.e. menu) cos' they keep coming up with new dishes every once in awhile. Must try the Chicken with Thai sauce and homemade tofu next time.. sounds really yummy!

5/16/2005 09:17:00 AM  

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