Take a listen to this week’s sizzling hot cze char episode!
This week, Chef Daniel Tay takes us to his favourite Cze Char stall in all of Singapore. Quite the Geylang institution, this greasy back alley joint evokes a bygone era of dining in Singapore. Tables are set up higgledy piggledy along a narrow alley and you eat alongside the drain and the stray cats. It’s not the cleanest of places and there’s quite a lot of (ahem) night time action – it is Geylang, after all – but the food is worth the colourful experience! Ask any foodie and they will tell you JB Ah Meng is famous for at least 2 dishes – White Pepper Crab & San Lou fried bee hoon. These 2 signatures are certainly on Chef Daniel’s must-try list, along with a few others and I have to agree and add to that list, with my own recommendations, having eaten there a few times myself!
First up, White Pepper Crab is defintely one of JB Ah Meng’s signatures and you cannot visit without trying it. Some say it’s even tastier than black pepper crab because there is sweet-spicy kick and a tremendous wok hei that can only come from a skilled cze char master! The crabs may be on the smaller side (we’re not talking Sri Lankan monsters here), but they sure are delicious attacked barehanded and with gusto!
Chef Daniel’s next recommendation are the clams, simply tossed in the wok with garlic, chives and chinese wine. It would seem the sweet, briny clams were made to just soak up all the delicious seasonings & sauce, which is also superb drizzled all over your white rice. Be sure to leave some white rice real estate though, for the next must-try dish.
Chef Daniel swears by this Chinese-style Curry Fish Head. I completely agree. The meaty fish head is smothered in a rich, thick, coconutty gravy that is just so tasty! The more of it you eat, the more you’ll want, until you find yourself drinking the curry like it’s soup. It’s permeated with earthy, spicy warmth and it complements the mountain of fresh vegetables like lady’s fingers, brinjal, long beans and red chillis perfectly.
San Lou Mifen otherwise known as chao tah bee hoon, is a beautifully fried rice vermicelli dish that’s pillowy soft on the inside, crispy-charred on the outside and packed with flavours & fragrance from the wok. It’s studded with tiny shrimp, minced meat, egg and that indulgent essential, lots of crispy lard! Look how much they gave us! OMG, Is all we can say! Each bite of the noodles, coupled with a little scoop of lard, is heart attack heaven!
All that lard may be a bit much for the health-conscious, so how about a simple, yet satisfying soup of egg, mushroom, seaweed, cucumbers and tomato? This is very reminiscent of mum’s home cooking and has that certain comfort food factor.
As a meal starter, you can’t go wrong crunching through a dish of the deep-fried fish skins, which come with a side of sweet and sour pickle sauce, although I’d rather do without the sauce. The fish skin is good enough on its own.
Stir-fried snake beans with lotus root – gorgeous contrast in textures, with the spicy creamy-crunchy beans and the crispy lotus root chips playing off each other in the most delightful way.
One final recommendation is the Deep Fried Fermented Bean with Belly Pork, with a deeply umami taste that penetrates the fatty cut of meat that is both tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.
So Makan Kakis, if you haven’t already discovered the fire-breathed, wok-hei imbued flavours of JB Ah Meng, get there this weekend for some gut-busting, party-in-your-mouth action!
JB AH MENG
New Good Place Eating House
2 Lorong 23 Geylang S(388353)
Tel: +65 67412418
Open Daily: 5pm – 3am