Good Zi Char Dinner @ Keng Eng Kee (KEK) Restaurant & Teochew Opera on 9Jun2014

S$10 claypot liver

S$10 claypot liver

i had wanted to try keng eng kee (KEK) the last time the few of us were doing a hawker & zi char tour but had never gotten to it.

was watching a teochew classical tunes (operatic) concert at singapore concert hall at 7.30pm by ngee ann cultural centre, singapore teochew federation & nan hua opera (南华儒剧社) – program here, so decided to have early dinner at KEK on 9.6.2014.

i must say i really enjoyed the teochew opera singing. used to listen to them a lot when very young, so even though had not listen to some for decades, the songs were still familiar. 🙂

the singing was good & the ones by 孙小华 (芦林会) & 陈纬恬 (刘明珠) was outstanding, extremely emotive, moving & captivating. 陈纬恬, singaporean, is just 11 years old. she performed 小蝴蝶 in (莫愁女) in shantou, china when she was 5! this young girl is set to be a super star.

S$10 claypot liver

S$10 claypot liver

we were there at 5pm on a monday. the indoor aircon seating was fully booked, & 1/2 of the outdoor seating at the coffeeshop was also reserved with the names on the tables.

famous dishes at KEK includes claypot liver, moonlight nor fun, mingzhu rolls (明珠卷) & salted egg crab etc.

#1 i do like liver but am not particularly fond of claypot liver which is like a liver overkill. we ordered it anyhow & it turned out to be really good! the liver was not overcooked, had great wine flavours & very sweet & just the right texture. an excellent dish! 🙂

S$25 nonya song fish head

S$25 nonya song fish head

#2 we were deciding between black beans bitter gourd with sliced snakehead (生鱼) or a song fish head(松鱼头). the server recommended the fish head nonya style. it was very good, the sauce was the same as the very nice fish head at forture seafood but dryer & less curry. i would think that angkoli (red snapper) which forture used would go better than 松鱼 for this dish.

cuttlefish kang kong

cuttlefish kang kong

#3 cuttle fish kang kong was competent & tasty, the sweet sauce though was kind of overpowering.

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明珠卷 mingzhu roll

#4 the 明珠卷 mingzhu roll (6 pieces) was good too. however we did not really need this dish. the other 4 dishes were already too big for 3pax, so we tapao (take out) remaining 3 pieces.

S$5 moonlight hor fun

S$5 moonlight hor fun

#5 the moonlight dry nor fun was a good dish. it was a strange concoction combining char kuay teow with hor fun(河粉), and came with chinese sausage & also prawns & squid with thick hor fun. it was not really my favourite. i would prefer the usual hor fun or san lor hor fun (生捞河粉) to this.

keng eng kee alexandra village

keng eng kee alexandra village

S$25 nonya song fish head

S$25 nonya song fish head

there was no service or get. the bill came up to S$60 for 5 dishes for 3pax. the food would easily have served 4pax. i would rate KEK on par with kok sen & much better than two chefs. i would expect the song fish head(松鱼头) at 香港街珍记 (Hong Kong Street Chun Kee) to be better but then the menu range at the latter is small.

this definitely a eating place that i will come back again! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Post Australian Open 2014 Finals Dinner @ Red House Seafood on 26.1.2014

bbq squid

bbq squid

3 of us went a friend’s condo in the east to watch nadal vs wawrinka autralian open finals on sunday 26.1.2014.  the starting time was 4.30pm. i brought some durians – mao shan wang (猫山王) & mei qiu (美球). both were very good, mei qiu was very creamy but the mao shan wan was still creamier. 4 of us ate durians while the players were warming up.

we were all nadal supporters, but were quite ok for a wawarinka win. i still did not see wawrinka beating nadal. the match did not turn out to be the epic we anticipated, but nadal had given his best in the circumstances (he was clearly in great pain & conflicted & i thought he should retire during or after the second set rather than to risk his career with serious injury, fortunately it did not seem afterwards that the injury had lasting consequences, hope not anyway..), and wawrinka was playing as well as he could without a nadal in top form to bring out his best.

post match, we decided to go to red house seafood 小红楼for dinner. i had not been to 小红楼 for >10 years. the place was quite well patronised on a sunday evening, but its neighbour jumbo was simply overflowing.

my friend ordered the famous bbq squid, 椒盐salt pepper crayfish, 1 steamed sri lankan crab, steamed razor clams, fried garlic asparagus & mee goreng. the food was better than expected. the price was quite steep. with OCBC card 10% discount (20% for lunch) the bill still came to S$238nett for 4pax w/o drinks (only tea).

garlic steamed razor clams with tanhoon

garlic steamed razor clams with tanhoon

pepper salt crayfish

椒盐 pepper salt crayfish

steamed sri lankan crab in wine

steamed sri lankan crab in wine

stir-fried asparagus

garlic asparagus

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the red bbq squid with jelly fish was their house special. like a friend said it was more like cuttlefish (cuttlefish had a cuttlebone & the difference i saw in wet markets being that cuttlefish were squat & flat so looked round & from my experience had a lot more ink for squid-ink pasta, while squid were long & cylindrical) . i had never had this before. it was excellent! the seasoning was a bit sweet but i liked it.

the steamed razor clams with tanhoon in garlic sauce was very good as expected. many restaurants now do this very well. so i didn’t think it was better than long beach or jumbo or ah yat, but anyhow it was a very nice dish. 🙂 i also did a good steamed razor clam in garlic oil myself but of course there was no comparison with what these restaurants produced. 🙂

the crayfish was fresh & sweet. 椒盐 pepper salt was not my preferred preparation as it came with a light batter. i preferred the usual sambal or the teochew style with yellow onions & egg.

the “medium-size” sri lankan crab i estimated about 1.2kg. my friends didn’t want pepper or chilli so we had it steamed with wine. it was quite good, the meat was sweet & quite firm though the crab was not “thiond” meaning firm & filling the shells.

the garlic asparagus was good. the mee goreng was very tasty with good amounts of seafood. my friend picked very nice dishes. the food was good & better than what we anticipated.  great tennis get-together & great dinner! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy