Hello to the 142 of you who have followed me on Facebook!!!! Thank you for reading my posts <3. Haven’t written for awhile because Chinese New Year period is all about hotpots at home, so I had nothing to recommend to you guys.
But today, Cousin Jue Shi organised a cousins’ gathering at this place where the food blew my mind away!!!
I would say it’s quite difficult to find a good zi char (literal translation: cook, fry) place at the current area I live in. I haven’t eaten very good zi char in a while, so when Cousin Jue Shi told us that this zi char stall is very good because it serves nostalgic dishes, I was like, “Mm, kay.”
This zi char stall in Jurong specialises in Hong Kong Pao Fan (literal translation: submerged rice), so I don’t know what Cousin Jue Shi feels nostalgic about because we are not even from Hong Kong and I don’t remember eating Pao Fan before. Most of the dishes he ordered were also never eaten before in my whole life, so I really have no idea what nostalgia he was talking about.
There was no nostalgia when I ate all these dishes, but I was very impressed by almost all dishes!!! Here is my humble review of them!
1. Flower Crab Pao Fan – $38 (serves 2 to 3 pax)
Look at this unassuming Pao Fan. I was ready to be underwhelmed by it to be honest. I thought it would just be a rich broth with white rice like mui fan, you know?
But omg, the first spoonful into my mouth made my eyes fly wide open!!! What is this taste??? I loved it! Everyone around the table agreed that this was such a delicious dish! It’s really a must-try here.
I asked the boss why this combination of light, sweet broth and fried rice tasted so good! There’s this very fragrant aftertaste and both broth and rice complement each other extremely well! It wasn’t like the broth and rice minding their own business separately, being delicious on their own. It is a situation where these two were in a perfect relationship where people will hashtag them as #couplegoals.
The boss said that the broth is broiled over 2h using 老母鸡 (translation: old mother hen. Don’t ask me what’s the significance of using an old mother hen. I don’t know and I was too engrossed in my rice to ask). The crab is added for sweetness and his secret for fragrant fried rice is….USE A LOT OF EGGS! He also talked about him experimenting with better quality Thai rice and how it made all the difference. Wa, really good leh. Come here to eat zi char, can talk to the friendly boss and learn new cooking tips also.
This Flower Crab Pao Fan is really very good. I had a wisdom tooth surgery just the previous day and my mouth was in pain but I still had 4 servings of it. I really couldn’t stop eating this even when all the other dishes were served.
2. Ipoh Hor Fun – $6 (small)
“This Ipoh Hor Fun is inspired by Tuck Kee Ipoh Hor Fun!” the boss shared enthusiastically.
I did a brief Google search and all I found was a stall in Chinatown serving hor fun that doesn’t look like what was in front of us. Nevertheless, it was so delicious!!!
T.K Kitchen (T.K stands for Tong Kian and not Tuck Kee!)’s version of Ipoh Hor Fun is a sweet and fragrant plate of thin flat noodles fried in sweet soy sauce and pork lard. Pork lard really gives Chinese Food a distinct flavour that one simply cannot ignore. There aren’t many fancy ingredients in this hor fun but somehow, you won’t be able to stop shoving the perfectly wet noodles into your mouth. I’m also very impressed that despite the noodles being so wet, you can still taste the wok hei of it. This is one of my favourites here!!!
3. Red Wine Pork Ribs – $14 (small)
This dish of Red Wine Pork Ribs aims to give a little show of fire before you start eating it.
Unfortunately, it was a bright afternoon and the fire on the plate was almost invisible to our eyes.
Well, it didn’t really bother us though, because the smell of it was the highlight of this dish!!!
The fragrance of red wine is strong in this. The alcohol somehow didn’t completely evaporate away – you can really taste the alcohol in this!
It’s really worth trying. I haven’t seen this dish in other zi char stalls before. The boss told me that this dish is original and invented by his head chef! Definitely order this to try. Serving is generous even though we ordered a small plate!
4. Qing Long Cai – $10 (small)
Cousin Jue Shi highly recommended us this dish, saying that it would really bring us back to the past.
Firstly, I have no idea what Qing Long Cai is. From young until now, our family only orders either Sweet Potato Leaves or Sambal Kang Kong for our zi char greens.
Whatever it is though, this Qing Long Cai is very refreshing, crunchy and delicious. I do prefer it to the oily vegetables that we always order. $10 for it is a little pricey though.
5. Fish Head Curry – $24 (2 to 3 pax)
T.K Kitchen’s Fish Head Curry is very thick and spicy. It is unlike your usual Fish Head Curry with a thinner curry broth. Topping the fish head is a generous medley of curry vegetables like lady finger, brinjals and carrots. The curry is very fragrant and great with white rice. The boss said that he uses a special blend of Indian curry powder for it to taste so authentic and spicy.
I don’t recommend ordering this to eat with your Flower Crab Pao Fan though because the curry will definitely overpower all the delicious and delicate sweet flavour of the Pao Fan.
This Fish Head Curry is unlike those I’m used to which is more soupy and sour. Although delicious as a curry, I’m not quite sure if I really like this?
6. Kampong Chicken Curry Pao Fan – $28 (2 to 3 pax)
I need to tell you first that the boss of T.K Kitchen is a very passionate one. It is very obvious that he thinks about his food day and night, coming up with new ideas, refining them, testing them every day to make it better and better. He’s actually a 2nd gen hawker, taking over his father’s business at T.K Kitchen and always coming up with new twists to traditional dishes with his trusty head chef to keep the new generation of foodies interested.
This is why you see dishes like Kampung Chicken Curry Pao Fan.
This curry is also a thick one. “Like Scissor Cut Curry Rice!” the jovial boss grinned. I think he’s definitely a fan of thick, flavourful curries.
This curry is similar to the Fish Head Curry, except that its base broth is cooked using Kampung Chicken. The taste is slightly richer and more fragrant. The curry tastes very good but it overpowers the fragrance and wok hei of the fried rice. The fried rice might as well have been just white rice – you wouldn’t know the difference (or is it just me?).
On a sidenote, I actually wish there was prata to go along with this because this is really the perfect curry to eat with prata!
Overall, I had a great time eating at T.K. Kitchen and would definitely make a return either for the Flower Crab Pao Fan or the boss’ and his head chef’s new creations. They seem to be super on the ball for creating new high-standard dishes. I’m not a foodie but even I can tell from the food that the head chef must be a very experienced and skillful one. (Maybe I will chat with him the next time I go. I was too engrossed in the food this time.) Coupled with the boss’ never-ending enthusiasm, T.K Kitchen is really a gem in Jurong, very worthy of a visit!!!!
Thank you for bringing us there, Cousin Jue Shi! <3
Address: 37 Teban Gardens Rd, Singapore 600037
Nearest MRT station: Jurong East (Take 79, 143 or 143M from the interchange to Teban Garden Post Office)
Opening hours: 12pm-10pm daily (Closed from 3 to 6pm for break)