Sunday, February 27, 2011

China Square Fish Soup (Blanco Court), Tanjong Pagar XChange

Working in Tanjong Pagar ("TP") means that for lunch I only eat around here, which is not so bad really, since you have a wide range of choices, from cheap eats to even atas to the max eats if you really wanted. For starters there's Amoy FC, Maxwell FC, all legends of food gastronomy in their own right, and bestway building; then you have mid-tier outlets such as the Indonesian Restaurant "worong Lele", among others. But well, hop down to the tanjong pagar xchange and you'll be rewarded with a gem of a fish soup,China Square Fried Fish Soup. "Za - yu " tang, this place apparently used to be at Blanco Court before moving to China Square and now here.

At lunchtime, the queue is insane; but the good thing is that they are very fast so the food arrives quickly. The fish chunks coated and fried are delicious: with a hint of sweetness, fresh, tasty and pretty generous. The soup's quite robust if a bit oily - good for slurping up noodles with. And the fried eggs on top add sinful pleasures to the dish. This is certainly not one healthy fish soup, if I may caution. But it is good. (8/10)

A tale of two Tai Wah/Hwas

Bak Chor Mee is a perennial favourite of mine, i guess because it's just a dish that is so ... Singaporean - and when done well is an amazing potpourri of flavours; the tartness of vinegar, the chilli, the unami of the tee-poh, and all that - mixed together - is an awesome combination, and i'm so glad I'm from the dialect group (teochew) that invented BCM.

The most famous BCM chain is undoubtedly 'Tai Wah/Hwa', which is actually a family business; Three brothers sell the stuff, and the most famous outlet is probably 'Hill street tai Hwa Noodles' at Crawford Lane. This stall used to be at Hill Street, and after that Marina square. Their brother runs this other outlet at Bestway building, spelt slightly differently as 'Tai Wah', and apparently his son runs 'Tai Wah' at Hong Lim. So yeah as you can tell, there's a whole family business right there.

I work near Bestway, so sometimes i'd pop by to have the Tai Wah BCM. Some days I just am amazed by it - the flavours all come together, the noodles are usually al-dente, the flavours are balanced and not too overpowering. With the teepoh giving the unami burst, and the dumplings all very fresh, and meatballs also done very well, this is one quite amazing bowl of BCM. I usually ask for more vinegar to give it a more 'teochew punch'. But very excellent bowl of BCM. (9/10)

The other one is the famous crawford lane branch; i went with my parents the other day, and after queuing up for nearly an hour, we were rewarded with piquant, al-dente meepok, with the usual teepoh, dumplings, meatballs, and bak chor. To be honest it is almost impossible to compare the flavours with each other because you'd almost have to eat it side by side to tell the difference, but both were very good, this one included. The 'geow' was a bit salty, but otherwise everything was almost bcm perfection. also a (9/10).

I guess since I work at TP, i'd be frequenting the bestway branch much much more than the Crawford lane branch, but I think it's just as good. Be prepared to wait, though.