My very first restaurant review! Yep, just went for an invited restaurant review at Chaozhou Inn (Parkway Parade) together with fellow bloggers Passionate About Baking and Precious Moment, as well as a writer from omy.sg.
When Sharon from Chaozhou Inn contacted me, I was rather surprised as my blog is not a food blog per se and just personal ramblings on things that interest me. Was also worried due to the recent bad publicity on bloggers attending food reviews. Nevertheless, I decided to go with an open mind. And I was glad that I did coz the session was enjoyable (I need me-time and more social life being a SAHM!) and most importantly food was great (another restaurant to add to my list of dining places for family). Our usual haunt for family gatherings are the more common Cantonese-style restaurants like Crystal Jade, Tung Lok, Kam Boat etc. Although my grandmother and mum are Teochews, it never occur to me to go to a Teochew restaurant and I'm ashamed to admit that I have limited knowledge on Teochew cuisine. Hence, this is an opportunity for me to find out more.
This is a side dish, homemade Pickled Papaya which I like very much. Crunchy and sourish, certainly whets the appetite!The first dish served was a new item from the Dim Sum Selection, Steamed Spinach Dumpling with Prawn & Dried Scallop 瑶柱菜苗饺 ($4.50). The translucent skin of the dumpling was nicely done, not too thick yet didn't break easily. The dumpling was juicy with succulent prawns, crunchy water chestnuts and refreshing spinach. I always lament the lack of veggies in Dim Sum, so this suits me well.
Next up was the Braised Pork Belly Bun Chaozhou Style 鲍汁扣肉包 ($3.60). I'm a big fan of Pork Belly. Give me anything Pork Belly and I would be a happy gal. The bun here was very soft and pork belly very tender. Not too oily and nice proportion of bun to meat. Would be better if more juice can ooze out from the bun but considering that a leaner cut of meat was used hence less sinful, I was satisfied.
The third Dim Sum was Pan Fried Black Sesame Cake 豆沙煎软饼 ($3.90). Not a fan of red bean but when paired with this mochi, it was not bad at all. I like it that it was served warm with interesting combination of crisp mochi skin, QQ mochi, smooth red bean paste and nice aroma of toasted black sesame. Hmmm, would even be better if a bit of savoury ingredient could be added for even more depth to the item. Ok, I'm asking for too much.
From the Soup selection, we had the Double Boiled Old Yellow Melon Soup 八宝老黄瓜炖盅 ($8.00). Oh, this soup I must rave about it!!! The presentation was interesting; the centre of the yellow melon was dug out and filled with generous amounts of bite-size pork, prawns, sea cucumber, mushroom and lotus seeds and the entire melon was double boiled. This method of cooking retains heat of the soup well which is really thoughtful.
I don't really like old yellow melon soup but this, I was slurping mouthful after mouthful as the soup was really sweet.
From the Marinated/BBQ Selection, we had the Braised Platter Chaozhou Style 潮州卤水拼 ($10.00). The braised sauce was nice and duck meat very tender. I also like the duck wing which was very chewy and flavourful being well marinated with the braised sauce. The duck gizzard was a bit too tough though. There was also silken tofu which paired quite well with the braised sauce too. Unfortunately the chilli sauce didn't make the cut for me, not spicy and sourish enough.
A new item from the Main Dish selection, Battered Fried Oyster 金钱蚝仔酥 ($8.00). Rather disappointed with this dish as there was no taste of oyster at all and the batter was overwhelmed by salt and pepper. I thought the dip of thai-style chilli sauce was a bit too casual, probably could have concocted something more special.
The Steamed Pomfret Chaozhou Style 潮式蒸仓鱼 ($22.00), signature dish of Teochews fared well. White pomfret (supposedly the most coveted pomfret species) was used and for the generous size and affordable price, this was a really good catch (pun intended). The broth was very light and fish meat fresh and sweet. Definitely a must-order!
The restaurant also started a Lunch Special consisting of a steamed rice and soup. We tried the Steamed Rice with Spare Ribs 原盅豆豉排骨饭, and soup of the day 每日例汤 ($6.90) was Winter Melon soup. I enjoyed the steamed rice which was tasty with the spare rib sauce. But the spare rib was a little starchy. As for the soup, well, after tasting the Double Boiled Old Yellow Melon Soup, this paled in comparison. Nonetheless, this is definitely a value-for-money set.
For veggies, we had the Chao Yang Four Treasure Vegetables 潮阳四宝蔬 ($9.00). The four treasures were long cabbage, tofu, three mushrooms (shiitake, button and straw) as well as ginko nuts. The braised sauce was good and paired well with the veggies especially the long cabbage which was cooked till very tender and soft.
From the Porridge selection, we tried the Pomfret Porridge Chaozhou Style 潮州仓鱼粥 ($12.00) which came in an urn-like pot (like those old-time urn used to prepare medicinal soup), I guess to retain heat? Once again, serving was generous for its price. Apparently, a whole pomfret was used to cook the porridge. The broth was very sweet and fish meat fresh. But I did have one piece of meat which was a tad fishy.
Yeah, we've come to Desserts!!! Yam Paste with Gingko Nut and Pumpkin 福果芋泥 ($4.90) is a must-have for Teochew cuisine. I used to look forward to dessert during wedding banquets if Orh Nee was served =D The pumpkin was a nice touch and together with the ginko nut made the otherwise plain-looking yam paste looked so much more refined and appetizing. The Yam Paste was really smooth and light and most importantly not oily and not too sweet.
The Homemade Soya Beancurd 桶仔豆腐花 ($4.50 for 2 pax. $7.00 for 4 pax) is a hot favourite sold at Chaozhou Inn's sister eatery, Sweet Spring, so they brought it over. Quite a cute idea to serve it in a tub like this :) The beancurd was so smooth just like silken tofu. I didn't even need to add the sugar syrup.
We ended the tasting session with the latest creation Sweet Potato Paste with Pineapple. The paste was so smooth and creamy as sugar and butter was added, but a tad too sweet for our liking. Instead of just canned pineapples which looked boring and plain, probably could think of other ingredients to complement the paste and enhance the presentation.
All in all, I was impressed with the quality of the food yet affordable pricing, attentive service and warm hospitality of Chaozhou Inn. Would certainly recommend to my friends and family. Already thinking of bringing my family there for our next gathering and can't wait to try the other dishes.
Thank you to Sharon once again for the invitation and hospitality.
Chaozhou Inn80 Marine Parade Road, B1-84D,
Parkway Parade, Singapore 449269