Tasty, Traditional Charcoal Steamboat with Fish

Hello Makan Kakis, with the Lunar New Year looming, how about some reunion dinner inspiration in the form of a hearty steamboat meal? Our Foodie Friend, restaurateur Jason Ong of Uni Gallery & Caviar, returns with this tasty and traditional recommendation for old school charcoal steamboat that’s economical, chock-full of ingredients and great for sharing!


Click to listen/ download podcast of this week’s bubbling hot & steamy episode!


So if you’re craving for the nostalgia and taste of charcoal steamboat, check out this stall at Whampoa Market. According to Jason, there are two sections – one is the very busy hawker centre that comes alive at night and then there’s the other section that’s mostly open for the daytime crowds. It’s in that quieter-at-night section you’ll find steamboat stalwart Xin Heng Feng Guo Tiao Tan. The stall’s name is slightly misleading in Mandarin, because it simply touts kway teow noodles, which is but a small part of their menu!

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This Head is Steaming!


Feeling overstuffed? Been indulging too much lately? Then how about something really lovely, light yet intensely comforting? How about some steamed fish head?

If you’re squeamish, hang on a minute – the portion served at this week’s recommendation includes much more than the head, there’s a little bit of meaty torso involved here – this is one steamed carp you’ve got to try….

But first, a word on fish heads – this is where all that delicious fishy flavour resides! And as for steaming, ask any skilled Chinese chef and he will tell you that the most difficult, challenging aspect of working in a Chinese restaurant kitchen is mastering the steaming division. Which is what makes this steamed carp so special – it is done with great care and skill.

Seetoh has been going to this zichar place since he was a child – the Mother is still there, the Father is semi-retired, but has passed on his culinary skills and techniques on to his children. One son focuses purely on steaming and his super-fresh steamed carp head is always steamed to perfection – lots of textures, ranging from soft, smooth and meaty,  to oozy, gooey and melt-in-your-mouth.

And then there’s the sauce – a lip-smacking combination of soya sauce, oil, tau cheo, sour plum, scallions, chillies and for extra umaminess, salted fish! Drizzled all over the fish, garnished with a decadent sprinkling of crispy, deep-fried lard “croutons” and accompanied with a steaming-hot bowl of fluffy white rice, this steamy dish is so comforting, so simple, so delicious, so DIE-DIE-MUST-TRY!

Sik Wai Sin Eating House

287 Geylang Road

Open daily for Lunch & Dinner: 12pm-2.30pm, 5.45pm-9pm

Tel: 67440129