Monday, April 02, 2007

Cheng Li Yuan @ Tanjong Pagar

Cheng Li Yuan (72 Tanjong Pagar Road) is quite a quiet, cosy restaurant serving unpretentious northern Chinese cuisine. It is opened by a mainland Chinese family who are here because their son is studying in Singapore.

It may be slightly salty and oily for some, but bear in mind that authentic mainland Chinese food tends to be heavier on oil and condiments.

My family seldom ventures into this part of town, but we were here over the weekend for a very good (and joyous!) reason, and therefore we fortuitiously chanced upon this place.

Crispy prawn balls coated with potato strips - this was a signature dish, and I can see why. Each prawn is coated with slightly sweet mayonnaise, rolled in potato strips and then deepfried. So it is an interesting medley of tastes and textures. The candy sprinkles are a little unusual, and probably quite unnecessary.

San Bei Ji - literally, 3 Cup Chicken. 3 cups of what, you ask? It's supposed to be 1 cup each of sesame oil, rice wine and vinegar/soya sauce. The chicken was fried before tossed in this slightly vinegary, savoury sauce, so it was not bad. There was a thick layer of oil at the bottom, which proved to be a little intimidating after a while.

Fluffy egg white with fish and broccoli - another signature dish, and quite affordable at 12SGD. There was a raw eg yolk on top that we had to quickly mix up, but I think we waited a little too long and so it wasn't cooked enough. They mixed a little vinegar into this dish as well, so it was also quite appetising.

Lamb rib stew - again a signature dish. It has a strong lamb taste, and it may not be palatable to some with delicate taste buds. They were however, quite tasty and tender and fell off the bone very easily. The white pieces you see in the metal stew dish are circles of tofu, which were probably added just before the dish was served, as they were a little cold.

Not all the dishes were a hit. This is fried pig intestines with black fungus. We thought it would be crispy intestines, and ordered it. But it turned out to be the kway chap-style and it smelt a little too porky for me. We didn't finish this one. Luckily it only cost 10 SGD.

We also ordered xiao long bao (8 dumplings for 8SGD), rice and dessert of egg white puffs filled with red bean and dusted with sugar.

All in all, the bill came up to SGD96 for 6 people, which wasn't too bad.

Service-wise, they were friendly and accommodating and even helped to watch our car as we parked outside their place. They upsized our dessert at no extra charge too.

Only worrying thing is, we were the only table in the restaurant on that Saturday night. Ummm.. which affects the turnover of the ingredients, which in turn affects the freshness of the food.


D said...

Nice to see you checked out Cheng Li Yuan. They do tend to get a mainland crowd occasionally and contrary to their opening hours which state they close at 1030pm, I've walked in close to midnight and still have been served. They do have a funny habit of randomly sprinkling the "hundreds and thousands" (the colored candy bits)on some of the dishes. They substituted sesame seeds for those once in my desert. It's like a generic garnish of theirs haha. I just find it funny that a mainland restaurant would even have hundreds and thousands in their kitchen. I can't recall when was the last time I had some in my kitchen! Haha.

DS said...

Heehee, I didn't notice you taking so many of the dishes!!

Zen said...

D: Yes I read your post about the place and was glad to be in the vicinity to try this one out.

DS: yes, you were too busy eating!:P