Gluttonian 1’s mother-in-law was in town last week so we decided to bring her for a simple Zi Char dinner at the Tiong Bahru area. “Zi Char” or “Tze Char” is a local term used to describe food served in small scale restaurants or hawker stalls, and which consists of a variety of chinese styled dishes. Places serving Zi Char usually involve a very casual setting, hence offering one a cheap, simple and relaxing environment for eating and chatting.
We visited a seafood Zi Char place called De Classic Golden Spoon, it was my first time there and I had a great dining experience because the food was so fresh and delicious! The fresh aspect was really important because seafood is equivalent to junkfood to me if the ingredients aren’t fresh, even if the Chef is highly skilled and able to whip up a storm.
This Zi Char place is located right next to an outdoor open air carpark. It was pretty convenient for us as we managed to park outside and then immediately walk into the eatery. The setting in De Classic Golden Spoon is your typical humble Zi Char eatery, a very casual atmosphere with a decent number of round tables and chairs, bigger than those roadside shophouse type of Zi Char stalls. The place is also air-conditioned so it is appropriate for more formal friend gatherings and family meals too. The service is decent and the waiting time was not long, at least that was the case for me the night I visited. It was a weeknight, Monday, around 8pm and the place was not packed, but I am not sure how weekends will be like.
Being Gluttonian 1, my sister has a habit of raving on and on about something that she likes and telling everyone how good it is. Hence, it was no surprise that she ordered the house specialty (one of Gluttonian 1’s favourite dish) on our behalf which is the crab meat bee hoon, and proceeded to scoop each one of us a bowl. She then kept asking us how good we found it for the rest of the dinner! But because I was busy stuffing myself with all the delicious food, I wasn’t bothered by that constant little buzzing at the corner of my ear;]
Before the food came, there was the usual serving of appetizers and chilli sauces. The boiled peanuts were good and the wet chilli sauce was addictive! All 3 of us Gluttonians were starving so while waiting for the food to come, we ate the chilli sauce and had to ask for more! Besides the crab meat bee hoon, we also ordered fresh boiled prawns, crispy baby squid, ngoh hiang, cereal tofu with pumpkin sauce and prawn paste chicken. My verdict of the spread lies below:
The CRAB MEAT BEE HOON was huge, it came in a large bowl and the crab and vermicelli was drowned in what I thought was soup. But after tasting the ‘soup’ I realized that it was actually thick gravy flavoured with the essence of the crab, it was very tasty and went well with my bowl of steam rice. And yes I am a ‘fan tong’ a.k.a rice bucket; I eat rice with every meal even if there is noodles ordered;] I mean how can anyone live without rice right, do you O.O ? Oh, and I have a little confession to make, I did not eat the crab because I was feeling lazy to crack the shell, so me saying that the dish was tasty is based on the gravy and bee hoon alone. But Gluttonian 1 and 2 were busy gobbling up and digging for gold within the crab shell so I guess the crab can’t be anything less than decent;) Overall, I would recommend you to try this dish if it is your first time there.
Next came the CRISPY BABY SQUID and NGOH HIANG, which is essentially pork rolls wrapped in beancurd skin. Both dishes were pretty lip-smacking good. The fried baby squids were delicious, a nice crunchy and crispy texture mixed in sweet sticky sauce, it reminds me of the rojak sauce taste. I ended up finishing two-thirds of the whole squid dish by myself while others were busy going for the other dishes. The ngoh hiang was good as well, not over-fried and it was the crispy exterior kind that I love. The other type of ngoh hiang has a softer beancurd skin exterior which is nice too, but I prefer the ones with a nice sturdy crust because I feel that the added crunchiness complements the soft minced meat filled interior that tiny bit better.
The live PRAWNS were a real delight, the meat was firm and springy yet tender to the bite. The de-shelling process was a breeze because the prawns were fresh and the shell did not stick to the meat, making the eating experience all the more enjoyable. I enjoyed it so much I peeled all the prawns for my sisters alongside my own:)
The PRAWN PASTE CHICKEN, a.k.a HAR CHEONG GAI, was decent too. I was not blown away by it though, I have tasted better ones before.
And now, THE BEST FOR LAST. My favourite dish of the night was the CEREAL TOFUL with PUMPKIN SAUCE! I am a huge fan of cereal prawns so I was a bit disappointed when Gluttonian 1 told me to forget my cereal prawns and to try this cereal tofu instead. But I am glad I did because I loved what I tasted. The fried tofu was nicely done with a lightly fried outer layer and a tender soft inside. The creamy pumpkin sauce was sweet and tasty; together with the cereal topping it was a match made in heaven. After today if anyone asks me what could be better than cereal prawns, I’ll scream CEREAL TOFUUUuuuuuuu!!!
I had a really enjoyable meal at De Classic Golden Spoon and I certainly see myself going back for more. It is a nice place to bring those looking for a good Zi Char joint that serves classic dishes and is not too harsh on the wallet. To prove my point:
At the end of the meal Gluttonian 1 and her mother-in-law were practically fighting to foot the bill. Gluttonian 1 was as swift as a ninja when the bill came, she threw her credit card onto the waitress’ hands. As the waitress was walking away, mother-in-law was shouting “Hey come back, come back! I have CASH, take mine take mine!! Why are you walking away from cash!! Stupid Gluttonian 1, why you so sneaky!” as she whipped out crumpled notes of cash dug out from the recesses of her pants pockets.
I always love watching Gluttonian 1’s mother-in-law fight to pay the bill, she is just so comical. She once raced my dad from the dining table to the cashier, and they’re both senior citizens, lol:)
RESTAURANT: De Classic Golden Spoon
SPIED AT: 62 Seng Poh Lane, #01-11, Singapore
OPERATING HOURS: If I remember it correctly, they do not open on Tuesdays.