Sheng Li Restaurant, Tampines Round Hawker Centre, Tampines, Singapore
- Limster May 27, 2006 09:23 AM
Not a restaurant per se, but a stall at the hawker centre and an excellent one at that. While many hawker centre stalls specialize in a small number of street food dishes, Sheng Li belongs to the type of stall that does a broader range of Chinese cooking, typically known as zhu3 cao3 or "cook stir-fry" stalls (a lot is lost in this literal translation) that cook a vast range of main course dishes like any Chinese restaurant in many parts of the world. Bears a strong resemblance to the da4 pai2 dang4 cookery in HK and Taiwan.
The chief cook at this stall is apparently quite reowned, having represented Singapore in international cooking competitions. Instead of staying at fancy restaurants, he decided to downscale, and has been very successful.
Coffee flavoured pork spareribs are justly one of his signature inventions, a light dusting of coffee powder on the spareribs, the hint of earthiness and bitter flavour working tremendously well with a hint of sweetness. I hear that it's been copied broadly in Singapore now.
A decent batter fried chicken in a sweet spicy sauce gets a fresh tangy angle from red apple, cut into matchsticks. The apple's a touch of genius, the sweet sour combination a revelation.
Kang kong (Water Convolvulus) with shrimpy, spicy sambal is a common dish in Singapore; this version is very well made.
Wolfberry leaves are like a delicate cousin of spinach, and are perfectly cooked (just past wilting) in a soup with minced pork and egg.
I wasn't super excited with the minced fish stuffed chicken wings (they were good just not great), probably inspired by the Cambodian original, but my parents loved it.
Waits can be long at peak hours but a stall worth seeking out.