Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chuan Garden in Singapore's Chinatown

Jiao Ji Yu Pian

There seem to be a million spots in Chinatown serving Sichuan food these days, but we specifically came to this place (79 Pagoda Street, 6222-3451) for this dish, which I noticed on the menu a few months ago. See, it was on the same page as the shui zu yu, and in many ways was effectively the same dish, but with one huge difference: it used fresh green peppercorns and chilis rather than dried ones.

And that's pretty much what it tasted like too. The use of fresh spices meant that it wasn't as earthy or smoky (and the oil was clear instead of red), but it was still nearly just as spicy. Psychologically that somehow made it feel a bit more guilt-free, especially since they included a surprising clump of fresh dou miao in the center of that bowl too. OK, it was still a lot of oil and salt, but it was good enough that I shoved more than one bowl of rice down my throat in the end. And I couldn't complain about the cold noodles (in red oil) that we got as well.

Yes, I'll come back to this place. The menu was pretty darned long and looked like there were a few other things worth trying out. And normally I'm not too particular about this sort of thing, but the moderately more upscale decor of this place was a welcome relief from most of the other grimey spots around. Either way, it will be interesting to see what Hometown looks like after they finish all of that remodeling on Smith Street.

Afterthought: I assume that this place has nothing to do with Chuan on Purvis Street from many years ago. But now that I look at it again, I can't help but wonder if this was another reincarnation of it, seeing how these guys also had something with those thin slices of pork hanging like laundry. Or is that the way that the dish is always done in Sichuan?

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