Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Beef House (Beef Ball Big King)

S$3 Beef Ball Bee Hoon

This place specializes in what are probably the best beef balls I've ever had. (By the way, those are basically Chinese meatballs, not Rocky Mountain Oysters.) I used to come here a lot on the back of a writeup in the Wall Street Journal, of all places, but I hadn't been back here in at least a couple of years. I was reminded of it recently by a Straits Times story earlier this month though. The thing that makes this place so good is the firm texture and fresh taste of the beefballs that puts all those frozen synthetic ones to shame. The chili sauce is very pungent with a heavy dose of raw garlic (dragon breath alert) but without any hint of sweetness that one finds in similar chili sauces for chicken rice. Some argue that the broth is too bland, but I find it light enough to be refreshing, and the few celery leaves on top give it the perfect touch of flavor. In typical hawker fashion, bowls are available at S$3 to S$5 (US$1.75 to US$2.95) depending on the size of the portions that you want, although I find that the S$3 bowl is generally good enough.

The original location is at the Gar Lok Eating House on 217 Syed Alwi Road (I used to come here on my way back from Mustafa), but apparently they have opened several locations now, including one on Killiney Road (I learned the hard way that it's at 118 Killiney Road, unlike what the Straits Times incorrectly wrote). Note that they are only open from 8AM to 6PM, so don't make the mistake of trying to come here for dinner like I once did.

Separately, I finally had a local (Malaysian?) "Chinese Apple" drink today, which is basically an apple soda like that Taiwanese "Apple Sidra" stuff that I love. But it's significantly watered down, so I'll still be hitting up the 7-Elevens next time I'm in Taipei.

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