Saturday, June 5, 2010

Kia Hiang: old, but not forgotten

with Malyn, Kennard and Joyce

I remember this almost dingy restaurant tucked in the corner at International Plaza even during my days when I was working around the corner at Anson Road...and when Malvyn suggested lunch there, I thought it was a splendid idea.

He made the reservations at 12:15, and I had arrived early, as I tend to do, at just before noon...yes, they have the reservations...but the waitress was insistent, almost to the point of being rude to me, that unless and until all in my party is present, I am not to be seated. She pointed at another Japanese gentleman standing outside, suffering from the same fate as I.

She further warned me that if my friends did not appear within 5 minutes of the reserved time, she will give the table to another party. At that point in time, the restaurant was almost completely empty, and if my friends arrived at 12:20, they couldn't have turned that table, so I see no benefit in not allowing me to seat at my reserved table. Allowing me to have a seat to wait for my friends is the only polite and sensible way to treat a customer. I felt like walking next door to eat at the Japanese, but controlled myself.

My friends arrived on the dot at 12:15, and they sat us.

The food came in furious time...very fast.



The taugeh, was tasty...very lightly seared, with fragrant salted fish, served on a hot plate. Nice, but nothing spectacular.

The omelette was interesting:



This looked like a fairly typical Chinese Omellette...fried quickly in a very hot pan, with lots of oil, so the sides are almost charred crispy, because the searing heat is only applied for a short while, the insides can sometimes still be almost liquid...half cooked. I love the taste of this style of omellette. But the Kia Hiang chef has something else hidden under his sleeve. Within the eggs, he had stuffed silky tofu, and minced chicken. This made the insides of the almost crisp shell very smooth and soft, and the chicken provided some bite. Nice touch.

We also ordered the pork ribs:



More like pork chops than ribs, these were rather large, flat steaks with bone attached at one end. It was rather fat, so was tender. The seasoning had some kick...adding dimension to the pork. I would have preferred a leaner cut of meat, especially with my recent experiences in Germany, but this was ok in taste.

Next the dish we came for: herbal spring chicken.



When it came in a claypot, it looked like a large head of cabbage. Opening the leaf of cabbage revealed a whlole spring chicken. The sauce was a wonderful, mild brownish black sauce, which smothered the tender spring chicken. Splitting the chicken open with a spoon...the chicken was rendered to disintegrate at touch with the intense heat from the cooking, revealed a bit of moey chai...typical of Ti Wang Chi (Emperor's Chicken) which gave the gravy the characteristic flavour. The dish was excellent. Very nicely done, mild tasting, but yet excellent flavour.

Overall, a very good meal, but the rude-ness and the misguided policy I experience at the beginning put a bad taste in my mouth even before I began my meal. Would have been a lot more pleasant if they had been more flexible.


10 Anson Road
#02-29 International Plaza
Tel: +65 6220 7169
Mon–Sat 11am – 3pm
Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays
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