Sunday, May 3, 2009

Singapore - Tai Shek Hei House of Traditional Bamboo Noodles

Every now and then, you have to take your hat off to the person who’s trying to make a difference. Even if he’s not at perfection yet, you know he is on to something. So give it up for that someone who is passionate about trying to make it right, and is willing to put his bottom dollar investing in doing so.

John See is passionate about his noodles and the history of it. The art of bamboo noodles, a South China specialty is almost a lost art form these days. While Hong Kong and Macau might still boast a dwindling few who still persist in this technique of making their egg noodles as springy as they can be, John is probably the only one in Singapore who’s bothered to do this – in an age where machined noodles are less costly and quicker to make.

His Tai Shek Hei House of Traditional Bamboo Noodles is testament of his passion. Since I spend a good part of my time in Hong Kong, I have to be honest and say that John’s noodles are definitely not the best I’ve had. But his passion and commitment to what he does is commendable. His philosophy of using “enough eggs to bring out the fragrance”, of using Tobiko is his dumplings to give it the sweetness and juicy crunch is of not cutting corners as your customers are also your worst critics! AMEN!

So while not amazing nor outstanding, Tai Shek Hei is worth a visit for a little something different. Of course, try the noodles – if you’re having the soup version and are a slow eater, salvage the noodles and eat them from your plate as the noodles lose their springiness fairly quickly in the hot soup. This way, you can keep the texture and still enjoy the MSG-free soup separately.

The wantons with Tobiko are different because the Tobiko lends a nice juicy crunch every time you burst them in your mouth. A good way to create succulence but he might be better off using a better combination of minced pork and crunchier prawns to make it even better.

The salt-herbed chicken was also decent and reminiscent of how Grand Aunt used to make her traditional steamed salt chicken – a Southern Chinese village dish commonly made in the old days (without refrigerators) to preserve the chicken for longer.

The side dish of cereal tofu was also good. Dry-roasted cereal with curry leaves and chillies lent a nice crisp fragrance to the otherwise bland but soft and silky tofu. The tofu was also cleverly dunked in Agedashi tofu type flour, lending a nice chewiness for bite. This made for a nice side.

So support the ones who want to make a difference. That is the only way we can ever get to better!

Joo Chiat Road
Tel: +65-6345 5095

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