Saturday, August 29, 2009

Por Kee: cze char or restaurant?

with family

Por Kee is situated right in the old heartland of Tiong Bahru, right next to the famed Tiong Bahru market. In business since 1996, this eatery is like a souped up cze char place...where the food is cze char style, but you get to dine in air conditioned comfort.

The appetizer (shall I refrain from caling it amuse bouche...ha ha) is a very traditional Malay/Peranakan appetizer - the achar.

Home made chilli sauce and achar:



The appetizer (shall I refrain from caling it amuse bouche...ha ha) is a very traditional Malay/Peranakan appetizer - the achar. Achar is the Malay style of pickling vegetables. Seasoned with vinegar, salt, sugar, and left to pickle, then crushed peanuts are added. The Por Kee version is light on the peanuts, but it was good. Even my mom approved the achar. The chilli looked like it was made inhouse, and it packs some power.

Cereal prawns are a mainstay of cze char stalls:



But this was slightly different. Mixed into the cereal was the yolks of salted duck eggs. This added some level of saltiness to the coating, but also packs a rich, savoury punch. The prawns were very fresh, the shells came off easily, and the meat was sweet, succulent and crunchy. A whiff of the sea was found with the prawns, indicating excellent freshness.

Roast chicken was also a standard offering:



This chicken was very good. The skin was light, not oily, but very crispy, and tasty. The meat within was very tender, succulent, juicy, and delicious. Certainly one of the best roast chickens I have eaten. Cafe de Hong Kong also serves a wonderful roast chicken, but Francis adds some nam yue sauce to the chicken before their boiling oil bath. The Por Kee version is unadulterated. BTW, calling this roast chicken is a misnomer...typically the chickens are brined, dried by hanging. The chef then holds the chicken up with one hand while the other scoops ladels of boiling oil over the bird. This allows the hot oil to crisp the chicken, but at the same time prevent overcooking of the meat, and also prevents the chicken from being too oily.

House Special Tofu:



Regular readers of this blog will know I have a soft spot for home made tofu, done well. Here is a classic example. The tofu was fragrant. The "skin" of the tofu was rendered by deep frying and made slightly crisp, but the sauce smothers it, and makes it kind of springy...a bit tougher than the insides to hold the shape, but by no means tough...bite into each piece, the skin gives way to the teeth, and allows the fragrant, smooth interior to spill into your mouth.

Champagne pork ribs



A typical dish in cze char is coffee pork ribs, or mongolian pork ribs, or even butter pork ribs. But this is the first time I have seen champagne pork ribs. I don't know if they really use champagne (or sparkling wine) or what providence and vintage...but the pork was very tender, very succulent, and had a faint champagne bite. Very nice. The meat was a little on the fat side, and perhaps might be better if the chef had chosen a leaner cut, but maintaining the tenderness. Innovative and shiok dish.

The vegetables recommended by the friendly, knowledgable waitress recommended their 4 vegetables dish:



The vegetables were good. Fresh, and expertly cooked so that it is not overdone. The vegetables retained a fresh crunch. The mushroom was fragrant, and the bean curd bits were a bit salty, but complements the dish well.

This is fine souped up cze char store. The prices are very reasonable cze char levels. The cooking is excellent. The ambience is better than most cze chars...airconditioned, nice tables, with table cloth, waitresses who know what they are doing. Recommended!




69 Seng Poh Lane
#01-02
Tel: 6221 0582
Daily: 11.30am - 2.30pm, 5.30pm - 12.30am
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