Thursday, June 15, 2006

Cheng Li Yuan, Tanjong Pagar

String Beans

I was getting my hopes up for another great restaurant owned by a couple of mainland Chinese (72 Tanjong Pagar Road, 6227-2551, across from Xin Tao Yuan), but was pretty bummed when I left. Basically each dish got worse and worse as the meal progressed. Similar mainlander-owned places like Hometown do an absolutely perfect plate of string beans, bursting with oil and flavor. Here, they were limp and soggy. The mabo tofo was a bore, and they used so much of that salty bean chili sauce in their dishes that they appeared again in the dan dan mian, at which point we took one bite and gave up.

Shrimp - with rainbow sprinkles??The pinnacle of all this must have arrived when we got the waitress-recommended shrimp, which she pointed out to us in a picture. It looked interesting with all these deep fried strands emanating from it. But when she finally brought us the dish itself, we craned our necks closer to the dish and asked ourselves, "Are those rainbow sprinkles??" They were. Oh no! To be fair, the shrimp, mayo, and shoestring potato combo wasn't too bad on its own (and the sweetness of the mayo to some degree made the sprinkles more palatable), but still, flashbacks of fifth-grade birthday party cupcakes could not be avoided with that taste. That just wasn't right (it was almost like putting flower-power and peace stickers on the back of a Humvee).

Perhaps we ordered the wrong things. These guys are apparenly from northeastern China, so I guess those aren't the right things to order. A neighboring table had some dumplings and flatbread things that looked decently good. Perhaps I'll give it a second chance with those items on a lunch break one of these days. But yeah, this meal was so unsatisfying (and nearly laughable) that it wasn't too encouraging.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the dumplings here, the first dumpling item on the menu. The xiao long bao's are decent but not filled with juices although juicy.

The broccoli with fish and egg is good. My friend recommends the claypot brinjal.

The Zha Jiang Mian here is excellent. (noodle dish with sauce and minced meat).

Desserts - the sweet potato is a must try. Dip it quickly into the water to cool and break the caramelised honey/ sugar strands.

The glutinous balls in red bean paste was also yummy.

Basically, I read about this place and then I went to try it with a bunch of girlfriends. We went back soon after coz we craved the dumplings. And in between, one of us had brought her parents there and they enjoyed it very much.