I fought an inner battle today. It was to go to Siang Hee Cze Char at Zion Road or to go to Leong Ji Seafood at Hougang Street 51. It was the battle between creamy pumpkin prawns versus the fragrant Nonya Steamed Fish. But the thought of discovering how delicious of a dish one could make out of a fish is something that has always intrigued me. And so I headed for Leong Ji Seafood, battling the horrendous downpour that splattered the windscreen of the taxi which I travelled in.
It was a party of 13 and yes as all cze char coffeeshops would do, they would try to get those portable wooden circular table extenders and tried their very best to squeeze the guests in while blocking everyone else’s way. Naturally ambient-ic of a coffeeshop with the occasional shrills and booming voice of that aunty scurrying past your seat.
The first dish that arrived was the Homemade Crispy Beancurd ($12). Very very crispy and goes excellently well with the mayonnaise provided. A crunch of delight that was a good starter as it is.
Next on the list was Butter Sotong ($12). Delectable crispy and fragrant batter covers the squiggly squid on the inside. The butter aroma slowly permeates out from each piece and when coupled with steaming rice, it becomes a savoury and sweet delight. Now, I feel it would be better with perhaps a glaze or char of curry leaves.
One of the house specialties, Intestines with Dried Shrimp ($12) was ordered. A very creative dish that made one rediscover intestines in an entirely new way. Crunchy almost akin to that of soft bones, the chopped intestines are stir fried with an abudance of spices and dried shrimps that gave that wonderful meaty spicy flavour and texture. Gone in literally seconds.
Now, my verdict for the day’s special dish, Golden Glaze Pork Ribs ($12) is the utlra tenderness of the meat itself. A little sweet and not salty, the meat literally fell off the bone with the slightest touch. Well done.
Another of the day’s special dish Chicken Feet with Dried Mushrooms ($12) however didn’t present itself very well. The gravy was almost like it was watered down, lacking any amount of flavour. The mushroom was not soaked and cooked long enough leaving it tough and chewy and the chicken feet, was almost tasteless.
Sambal Sweet Potato Leaves ($6) is hardly a dish that any shop can go wrong if there is a knowledgeable use of spices, garlic and salt. The vegetables itself was cooked just right with each serving being a little salty and spicy to give that kick on the tastebuds. I called for two plates.
And now the final dish that arrived, Nonya Steamed Fish ($38). This is one dish that literally any table who visits Leong Ji Seafood will order.
I found the gravy to be rich in lemongrass flavour with a good dose of coconut milk, simmering spicingly in cubes of pineapples, pound chillies and various spices. The flavour is warm, tender and sparkled when paired with rice. The grouper itself was also fresh with the meat being soft yet firm with no bad aromatics. A true star of the entire dinner show itself.
For the dinner of 13 people, we paid a total of $128.50. And when it comes down to less than $10 per person, this Cze Char is definitely worth it. The Nonya Steamed Fish is also a must order when visiting the stall, or else how could you eat that rice without that deliciously thick rempah.
|Leong Ji Seafood|
21 Hougang Street 51
Hougang Green Shopping Mall
Hougang Green Food Court
#01-51 Reservation : 9026 1882