Guest Writer : Lan Yingjie
Photography and Edits by Justin Daniel Pereira
As a young boy in a family that loved Hokkien food, I was often taken to Beng Hiang Restaurant along Amoy Street. Walking along Amoy Street after the dinner in an attempt to digest the food, I would frequently pass by a Taiwanese porridge restaurant that looked good, but I never had the chance to try. Until recently, that is. When invited to try the food at the soon-to-be (re)named Goldleaf Restaurant, I leapt at the chance. Why not? So off we went one rainy Monday evening to Amoy Street for a round of good food and good laughter.
It turned out that Goldleaf Restaurant was the old name of the restaurant which the older generation might recognise, having been established in the 70s. The proprietors sold the name about 20 years ago and opened this new place, which might explain its relative obscurity so far. Not to fear though, it’s being renamed back to Goldleaf soon, and I fully expect throngs of diners to be making their way down!
Braised Beancurd Appetizer
The meal opened with a serving of the traditional Mei Cai Kou Rou (preserved vegetables with pork), San Bei Ji (three cup chicken) and Fresh Cockles, all eaten with the Taiwanese porridge, of course. Indeed, it might have been my hungry stomach, but I thought it was an amazing combination.
The Mei Cai Kou Rou ($10/$16) came with slabs of juicy pork that had been stewed with the meicai for a substantial amount of time and the preparation time showed in the way the pork slabs had absorbed the meicai flavour. I’m Hakka, and this is traditionally a Hakka dish (that got brought over to Taiwan by the large number of Hakkas there), yet this was easily ranking among my favourite renditions of this dish. Paired with the porridge, this was absolutely homely: I could just have been happy with this for the entire night.
The San Bei Ji ($12/$16) was a Taiwanese classic that I’ve heard of but never tried. It was savoury, with flavours well articulated with the use of basil, garlic and dried chilli. The gravy, brimming with juices from the chicken, wine and soy sauce is perfect with the bowl of sweet potato porridge.
Sweet Potato Porridge
Fresh Cockles ($8/$14) was a new thing: I’m not a raw seafood (unless you count sashimi) person, but you have to get it with the sauce that they serve it. The cockles, itself an acquired taste, is best eaten with the tangy chilli dip. It cuts through the creamy cockle flavour, and gives a refreshed palate for the next bite.
I was pretty amazed when I saw the Cai Poh Omellete ($6/$10). The omellete, deceivingly presented as a boring pancake, is packed with ingredients within. Cut a slice out for a good serving of salted radish that goes exceptionally well with the sweet potato porridge. The omellete, fluffy and soft is a real winner and a must order.
The next round of dishes that came included Volcano Beancurd with Kong Poh Diced Chicken and Cod, as well as Taiwan Lettuce and a selection of prawns (Mongolian Prawns and Salted Egg Yolk Prawns). The cod ($9 per 100g) came deep-fried. I’m not sure about you, but my personal take is that deep-frying just kills the flavour of fresh fish. Yet this version was excellent: it had that subtle flavour we look for in cod and it was firm but yielding to the bite. This means that either the cod was amazingly fresh (and I was later told they only get a certain type of cod from a certain supplier) or they did something magical when frying it.
The prawns were fresh too! The Mongolian Prawns was simply done with pepper and salt, but it was absolutely lipsmacking good and there’s really nothing like fresh prawns lightly seasoned to bring out the flavour.
The Salted Egg Yolk Prawns had its prawns deep fried for a crisp exterior yet juicy interior. The main ingredient is then quickly stir fried with a good amount of salted egg yolk to bring out the sweet flavours of the sea in a mix of savoury, slightly salty and rough egg yolk textures.
Volcano Beancurd with Kong Poh Diced Chicken
The last round of dishes came with Tamban Fish and Traditional Prawn Rolls ($8/$12). I thought they made nice finishers, though at this point we were still rather bowled over the by the cod previously.
A good highlight of the dinner though, was the final round of desserts! We were served a selection of the Yam Paste (orh nee), the Red Tea Jelly, Green Tea Jelly, Herbal Jelly and Longan Tofu. My fellow dining companions really enjoyed the longan tofu and it was indeed smooth and just about right in terms of the sweetness.
Red Tea Jelly
The star of the desserts for me though, was the very unique Red Tea Jelly which managed to capture the fragrance of the tea and infuse it into the jelly. It was a wonderful experience and it made for a very satisfying end to the meal.
Brian, Wu Chao, Grace, Justin, Yingjie
Final words? Go quick, before everyone else discover this place to hit up for good food with a dose of nostalgia. For those familiar with the name Goldleaf, especially if you were living out your younger days in the 70’s or 80’s, this restaurant is a walk down memory lane. The dishes are reminiscent of a past memorialized. However, if you are just longing for a good dose of Taiwanese food, go for the Mei Cai Kou Rou and a serving of Sweet Potato Porridge. Whichever the case, this is a trip well worth it.
Thank You Goldleaf New Taiwan Porridge Restaurant for the invitation.
|Goldleaf New Taiwan Porridge Restaurant
110 Amoy Street
Tel : 6324 3268
11.30am – 2.30pm
6pm – 11pm