You Had Me At “Szechuan Food”
The Snake Year is hissing around the corner and in this time of merriment and reunion, scrumptious Chinese feasts inevitably come to mind.
If you’re looking to try something different this year – perhaps inject some spice and flavor into your reunion dinners, I may have a pretty good suggestion. Well, I know of a place that offers authentic and fiery Chinese food in the heart of bustling Chinatown.
To find out more, click on link! 😀
Last month, I was invited to authentic Szechuan restaurant Tong Fu Ju Grilled Fish 同福聚烤鱼(四川菜) at 21 Smith Street, Singapore 058935 for a traditional Szechuan lunch.
I was very excited because my lunches usually consist of boring sandwiches, pies and frozen food so a sumptuous oriental lunch definitely sounds like a worthy ‘trade-off’. Haha!
I arrived at the restaurant and was immediately greeted by this…
Bright red lanterns and tables, fancy Chinese curtains and green walls embellished with beautiful Chinese paintings.
How oriental can they get?!
For a second, I thought I was in China. I thought the decor exuded a festive mood which made me look forward to CNY even more than before.
I know I look calm and composed here but I’m actually having an excitement attack inside. Can’t wait to tickle (or rather numb) my taste buds with the delectable Szechuan cuisine that’s coming right up!
Thin Pork Slices in Sichuan Garlic Sauce 蒜泥白肉 – SGD8.80
This is undisputedly the best dish of the afternoon. The succulent flesh and spicy garlic sauce was a true match made in food heaven.
I know it’s not a good calorie bargain with its fatty pork belly and greasy gravy, but trust me, it’s worth all the extra pounds. Just imagine soft and luxurious meat melting on your tongue…
‘Nuff said. 5 Honeyz crowns!
Pan Fried Beef Slice Hong Kong Style 姜葱牛肉 – SGD18
I’m a huge fan of beef but this dish did not impress me that much. The beef slices were tough and dry, and the sauce was mild and light. It didn’t help that it was served after the soft and tender pork meat either. So I did not appreciate it as much as the pork. 🙁
So 2 Honeyz crowns.
House Special Charcoal Grilled Live Fish 招牌烤鱼 – SGD28 (Regular) SGD32 (Large)
The name of the restaurant is Tong Fu Ju Grilled Fish so I guess it’s no surprise that this baby here was the star of our lunch. The fish was at least three times bigger than my palm and was presented on a food warmer with charcoal underneath.
Besides being visually stunning, this fish was also grilled to perfection! The skin was crunchy and the flesh was soft, juicy and tender. The spiciness is also less prominent here because we have requested for 中辣 which literally means ‘medium spicy’. There are three levels of spiciness so if you prefer piquant food, do feel free to ask for an upgrade of the spice level.
Despite the lack of spice, the fish was still power packed with flavor. This is because the bean sprouts, vegetables and onions surrounding the fish were not just decorative flourish, they were part of the flavor package too. The folks at Tong Fu Ju Grilled Fish highly recommended that we have these delicious companions after the fish for a more balanced taste.
The fish we had was Sea Bass. Besides this fish, they have three other types of fish for you to choose from, namely Patin, Besouga and Grouper. Patin has the softest meat and Grouper has the firmest. As you’ve guessed it, the most popular choice in the restaurant is the Patin. The price is the same for all types of fish.
For its soft texture and flavorful ingredients, 4.5 Honeyz crowns!
Sauteed Chicken with Chili and Pepper, Chong Qing Style 重庆辣子鸡 – SGD18
The chicken meat was soft, tasty and shockingly spicy. Each piece of chicken was coated with the strong aroma of garlic and Sichuan pepper. It was a pity that I could not endure the spice, otherwise I could have gobbled it all up.
Also, beware of tiny bones that lurk within. 3.5 Honeyz crowns
Numb and Spicy Bullfrog 馋嘴牛蛙 – SGD26
Fleshy and moist frog meat soaking in fiery red chili oil – I’m a frog fanatic so I’m already drooling at this sight. Haha!
The frog meat was soft and tasty and the sauce was fragrant and hot. Although the dish was a little too spicy for my liking, I still thought it was a harmonious mix of taste and texture.
4 Honeyz crowns!
Griddle-Cooked Tea Tree Mushroom 千品茶树菇 – SGD13.80
If the bullfrog dish was too spicy or exotic for you, this mushroom dish might tickle your fancy.
Wholesome mushrooms paired with guiltless vegetables and lotus roots – it’s the ideal dish for non-spicy lovers. Even though the dish looks a tad boring, it was surprisingly flavorful.
4 Honeyz crowns.
Pan-fried Corn Cake 玉米烙 – SGD8.80
After all the tongue-numbing food, we were finally able to calm our taste buds with this crispy corn dessert. It is probably one of the best Chinese desserts I’ve ever had.
I’ve never had fried corn (it is mostly boiled) so I was relatively amazed at the tenderness and juiciness of this fried sweet corn. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
4.5 Honeyz crowns!
Afterthoughts… The dishes we had were recommended by the folks at Tong Fu Ju Grilled Fish. Even though the dishes were mostly hot and bold in taste, I thought the flavour balance of the dishes was generally good and the portions were fairly generous too.
The service is definitely a noteworthy factor. Throughout our lunch, the staff periodically asked if we were okay with the spiciness of the food or if we needed to top up our glasses.
In fact, I think the quality of the food and service ranks up with some of the best Sichuan restaurants I’ve been to. So 4 Honeyz crowns for the service and overall experience!
If you’re looking to throw an oriental dinner party this Chinese New Year without messing up your kitchen, consider Tong Fu Ju Grilled Fish!
For more info on reservations and menu, please visit their website at www.tongfujugrilledfish.com or call them at +65 6224 7071.
Thanks Tong Fu Ju Grilled Fish for the esteemed invite!
Now let’s toast to a prosperous and healthy 金蛇年！
Your friend, Juliana
Disclaimer: Please be rest assured that even though the food and services were sponsored, it does not have any bearing on the content of this post. Opinions stated are genuine and honest.