Rong Cheng bak kut teh back with three new stands
If you are a fan of Rong Cheng Rou Gu Cha, you will be happy to hear that founder Lim Hai Chay, who retired five years ago, is back with three new booths.
Mr. Lim, who is 70 years old, opened a point of sale with his new disciple in Ang Mo Kio at the end of October and another in Bedok last Friday (November 26). A third will start in Tampines on December 16.
Mr. Lim founded Rong Cheng in Sin Ming Road in 1976 and introduced what he calls “dragon ribs”, which are loin ribs with a long bone, in peppery soup. The dish is the highlight of the new stalls and is definitely worth the top $ 9 price tag for the juicy and flavorful meat. The dish with normal pork ribs costs $ 6.50.
There are other dishes worth ordering, like the pork liver soup ($ 5.50). There is no funky smell and the liver is not overcooked.
Braised pig’s trotters ($ 6.50) are also a good choice. Mr. Lim doesn’t boil it until it falls off the bone, so the skin stays a bit gelatinous and the meat has a bit of bite. Order it even if you don’t think you can finish it. Leftovers are great for frying with Beehoon.
Instead of the simmered kiam chye or salted vegetables sold at other bak kut teh stalls, Rong Cheng offers mui choy ($ 1.50). The sweet candied vegetable goes well with baby walkers.
Or: Rong Cheng Rou Gu Cha, block 505, avenue Ang Mo Kio 8; Block 59, New Upper Changi Road; Block 201C, rue Tampines 21
TRM: Ang Mo Kio / Yio Chu Kang; Bedok; Tampines
Open: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily (Ang Mo Kio); 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (other points of sale)
Opening of Hanare by Takayama
Chef Taro Takayama, known for his upscale kappo restaurant Takayama in the Downtown Gallery of Shenton Way, opened a casual concept in the Takashimaya mall called Hanare by Takayama.
It specializes in kamameshi or kettle rice, a dish of rice cooked in a small iron pot. Cooked with dashi, the rice is topped with ingredients like unagi, abalone, ikura, and wagyu.
For lunch, kamameshi comes in sets ranging from $ 48 for ikura to $ 72 for simmered abalone. Each set includes chawanmushi, sashimi, miso black cod, soup, pickles and dessert.
At dinner, the rice pots contain only soup and pickles and are cheaper, ranging from $ 32 for grilled kinmedai (a deep-water fish) to $ 56 for abalone. But the menu has more a la carte items like braised pork belly with onsen eggs ($ 32) and fried tiled fish ($ 48) to complete the meal.
The abalone kamameshi I tried is delicious, with the rice infused with the subtle sweetness of seashells. The fresh abalone pieces are tender enough to bite into, but still have enough to chew on for me to enjoy their unique flavor.
But if you prefer a stronger flavor, the wagyu set ($ 58) offers delicious slices of beef coated in a sweet sauce.
Or: Hanare by Takayama, 03-07 Takashimaya Shopping Center, 391 Orchard Road
Open: 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day
Phone : 8298-9369
Keyaki Winter Kaiseki Menu
Few Japanese restaurants here offer kaiseki, a formal Japanese meal made with seasonal ingredients prepared in different ways. Keyaki from Pan Pacific Singapore is one of them.
His Winter Special Kaiseki, priced at $ 165 per person, is a six-course meal featuring seafood from Japan.
The meal begins with the kobachi, a small plate made from a whole raw scallop with touches of yuzu kosho served in a hollowed out yuzu fruit – a great starter to whet the appetite. Next is a sashimi class featuring three types of fish chosen from what’s available that day. Then come the cooked meals, starting with a grilled kinki fish that I love for its sweet meat. It is served with green onions or negi from Shimonita in Gunma Prefecture, a town known for producing negi with fat and sweet white stems.
The meat dish includes American beef simmered with onion miso and served with winter vegetables. The meat is cheaper than Japanese wagyu, which helps lower the price of kaiseki.
It is also less fatty, which leaves room to enjoy the last savory dish of fried snow crab, tempura style, over rice. A bowl of the accompanying miso soup helps wash everything down before a simple dessert of Japanese fruit and daifuku mochi.
Or: Keyaki Japanese Restaurant, Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard
Available: Until January 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day
Price: $ 165 per person
Phone : 6826-8240