Monday 12 July 2010

Gim Tim Restaurant - Traditional Hokkien Dishes

Gim Tim Pte Ltd (Restaurants) or well known as “锦珍” started from a small HDB area restaurant in a corner located at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4. Gim Tim has grown into a group of 3 restaurants, serving exquisite cuisine with Hokkien, Szechuan and Cantonese dishes. And I believed most of us have a deep-impression of their mobile kitchen where Gim Tim has a mobile fleet that is specially fitted to cater for outdoor functions.

Same as Lim Hai Sheng’s Carrot Cake (Click HERE), Gim Tim is also one of the featured restaurants in Clarke Quay Food Street as well as the Singapore Chinese Dialect Heritage Feast too. And out of the 3 restaurants that Gim Tim has in Singapore, only the branch that located at Ang Mio Kio Ave 4 served authentic Hokkien Heritage Dishes.

Before we start off with today’s Hokkien dishes, let’s take a look at who is behind the kitchen whipping out all these fabulous Dialect Heritage Cuisines. Chef Lai Yong Meng - 赖泳鸣大厨 is the Master Chef of this restaurant who leads his team of chefs and helpers in preparing these delicious cuisines that will be featured during this Friday 16 July – 25 July 2010 Food Street event.

Chef Lai has a very friendly personality and we really enjoy chatting with him during the food sampling session. Through the conversation we can sense his passion towards his customers and food that he prepares with his professional skill. He has spent more than 30 years of his life working as a chef in major Chinese Restaurants in Singapore and Malaysia. Chef Lai also holds a position as the Second Vice President of Society of Chinese Cuisine Chefs (Singapore).

Before I came to this food sampling event, I don't really familiar with what are the commonly traditional dishes that most Hokkien people loves to cook or order during their eat out. What I have in mind was only their famous Kong Bak Pau or Hokkien Mee. But today after the conversation with Chef Lai I actually learnt a lot through him from this event. Now let’s us take a look at the first Hokkien Heritage Cuisine which is “Fish Maw Soup - 福建鱼鳔羹”.

Take a closer look at the ingredients; it is really full of Fish Maw chunks, julienned carrots, mushroom and etc. The soup tasate more or less like shark's fin soup texture but without adding shark’s fin in it. I have tried a few Fish Maw soup in different restaurants previously and I find the one served at this restaurant really brings out it’s full flavour and some how or rather you might really think that you are eating the real shark’s fin. You can grab a bowl of this to sample it tasate at the coming Clarke Quay Food Street at affordable pricing too.

Here comes today’s “Special” Hokkien cuisine which is known as “Fried Tapioca Roll - 福建大茨粉”. Accordingly to Chef Lai, this is a very old traditional Hokkien cuisine that is hardly found in most of the Hokkien Restaurants these day. This dish is fried with some handmade Tapioca roll that is cut into roughly 0.5” by 2” long strips. At first glance you might think that it look quite similar to the Hakka Abacus Seeds but with rather long strips instead of seeds. Although this cuisine might not look appetizing due to it’s colour (seems black) but I can assure you that if you love spicy food, you will love this. The dish is fixed with Chef Lai self-made Chilli paste that taste similar like “Hae Bee Hiam” (consists of crispy-fried pounded dried shrimp, spices and chilli) and it definitely brings out the bland taste of the tapioca strips.

I am sure you are familiar with this black sauce "Hokkien Mee - 福建面" where you can get it from some of the Cze Cha Stalls in Singapore. Eating this dish at a restaurant and having it at the Cze Cha stall seems a bit different perhaps due to psychology thinking. The noodle used here is those flat yellow type of noodle, which is different from the usual yellow noodle that is found in other stalls.

This is a complimentary dish from Chef Lai, “Hokkien Hei Zor - 福建虾枣” which is also one of the featured dish that will be available at the Clarke Quay Food Street. Look at the display, this is my first time seeing "Hei Zor" served with Achar as side dish, interesting combination right!

Look at the inner section of the Hei Zor, this really taste different from our Teochew Ngoh Hiang. They used more on prawn, water chestnut and fatty pork as the main ingredients. You must not give this a missed during the food fair. According to Chef Lai, they might be selling this for S$1.50 a roll during the food street fair. So keep an eye on this....

Lastly I must thanks Mr Desmond Liap and his crews for their warm services during this food tasting session despite that they were all very busy with the on-going banquet during our visit. Thanks for making everything so smooth during the interview and food sampling too.

Gim Tim Restaurant at Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 has both indoor and outdoor dining area to smooth the crowds during weekends and festive seasons. If you are interested to try these Hokkien Dishes from Gim Tim, do drop by their stall at counter #21/22 at the Clarke Quay Food Street and Singapore Chinese Dialect Heritage Feast from 16 July - 25 July 2010. More information can be found HERE. Posted by Picasa

Gim Tim Restarant - 锦珍
Block 157, Ang Mo Kio Ave 4
Singapore 560157
Telephone: 6459 7766

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