Friday, October 1, 2010

Singapore - Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant

Happy National Day, China!

So how apt for me to do a post about one of China's greatest inventions.  The dumpling.  Although Nanxiang seems to have done the literal translation of 包 which is bun.  I guess they do buns too.

I try and avoid Chinese food when I visit Singapore since I always feel that I can get much better in Hong Kong, where I live, and for greater value too.  I also try to avoid Bugis Junction since the parking is horrendous.  So on this very odd occasion when the 2 no-nos met, Mom and I found ourselves at Nanxiang.

It's a fairly comfortable place to eat at - bright (read stark white and made even brighter with natural lighting in the day).  First time - so we limit our order to "chef favorites".

To start, we got the Homemade Tofu.  It was surprisingly very firm - almost bouncy - from the abundance of meat and seafood infused into the tofu.  So it was really a slab of meat/seafood roll infused with tofu.  Served with a sweet chili dip, it was pretty tasty - most deep-fried things are.  Personally, I would have preferred the presence of more tofu and a softer texture though.

The Bean Sauce Minced Pork Noodle (炸酱面) was mediocre if you have had the same in Beijing.  This is a less oily version but while the mince was salty enough to give the noodles a little bit of lift, it was a pretty flat taste.  Hardly a hint of anything else to allow the eater to think about what else went in to make the sauce.  The noodles were borderline firm enough, and the julienned cucumbers were a tad soggy even if chilled.

The stir-fried string beans (干煸四季豆)were pretty addictive though.  Well fried to still retain a good juicy crunch, even if this ain't the most healthy way to eat vegetables, it sure is tasty.  There was just enough minced pork to give the beans a salty and smoky flavor, they did not overpower.  Would be nice with steamed rice but not too salty to have on its own.

Our finale was the quintessential reason for this place's existence.  The Crab Roe and Pork Filling Steamed Bun (蟹黄小笼) is 2 prices up on the traditional pork only but what the heck, the other being the crab meat and pork filling.  Note the little wooden sign in the bamboo basket which says crab roe in Chinese - so there is no confusion in delivery.  The skin was thin enough for the most part, but I had to spit out the part where they pinch it at the top of the bun to make the ripples down the sides of the bun.  It was far too thick and had been dried out for some reason so it tasted crusty.  The filling had a little more pork bite than the traditional which I tend to like, since it's not so fatty, but the roe was probably not the best kind as it did little to add any hint of the sea at all.

Overall verdict: if you happen to be stuck in the area, it's ok to grab a quick one here.  There are definitely noticeable differences in standards from its home in Shanghai, and I think you can probably get better ones, even in Singapore.  Besides, the price point at Nanxiang isn't low enough for that to even be a consideration.

200 Victoria Street
#02-53 Bugis Junction
Tel: +65-68357577

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