Lai Huat Sambal Belacan Fish
Stumbled upon Lai Huat Sambal Belacan Fish while driving to our hotel. Did a search on the restaurant and decided to give it a try since it was near the hotel. The restaurant was quite busy considering it was a weekday night and patrons were mainly families.
The first dish we ordered has to be what the restaurant is famous for, Fried Sambal Fish. The fish was deep fried until crisp and not very oily. It was smothered with the spicy sambal belacan. The fish was crispy on the outside yet the meat inside was still tender and juicy.
The real winner has to be the sambal. In spite of its looks, the sambal wasn’t too hot but very fragrant with just the right concoction of chilies, shallots and belacan (prawn paste).
Two other simple dishes of fried eggs and stir-fry potato leaves with garlic rounded up a rather satisfying meal.
J.B. Ah Meng Restaurant (新山亚明小廚)
One of the more well-known dishes from Singapore is chili crab but this restaurant in Geylang is famous for its white pepper crab. In fact the dish is so popular that even famous chefs and TV personalities such as Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain have dined here.
It used to operate in the back alley of Lorong Geylang 23. It moved to a more spacious corner coffeeshop on 534 Geylang Road a year ago. As we were at the restaurant at 6pm, it was relatively empty. Apparently during weekend peak hours, it can be rather chaotic and reservation is recommended.
We tried two of the signature dishes – White Pepper Crab (白胡椒螃蟹) and JB San Lou Meehoon (新山三楼米粉).
Don’t be deceived by the look of the flat and unappetising vermicelli dish. It was actually very tasty, flavourful and fried with enough ‘wok hei’. The vermicelli is stir-fried with shrimps, cuttlefish, egg and vegetables before being flatten like a pancake.
The white pepper crab didn’t disappoint either. The crab is stir-fried with white pepper, ginger and spring onion. The fiery pepper is spicy yet not too strong to overwhelm the sweet taste of the fresh crab meat.
328 Katong Laksa (328 加东叻沙)
Katong laksa is a dish that is uniquely Singapore. A variant of ‘laksa lemak’, it is believed that this coconut based curry noodle dish was created after interaction between the Peranakans with the local Singaporeans. It got its name as the dish originated from the Katong area.
My first taste of this dish was a couple of years back and took a liking to it. The tasty broth is made up from the mixture of spicy chili with a healthy dose of flavourful creamy coconut milk.
A unique characteristic of Katong laksa is that the noodles are cut into shorter strands and only a spoon is needed to eat them. Each bowl of noodle is served with a few pieces of cockles and shrimps, slices of fish cakes and bean sprouts.
The otak-otak wasn’t too bad either as a side-dish or appetizer to go with the bowl of Katong laksa.
There are a few outlets of 328 Katong laksa in Singapore but the best place to try it is no other than East Coast Road.