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Aug 30, 2007 08:39 PM

Yellow Ginger . . . Singaporean in Mountain View?

The list of Singaporean/Malaysian restaurants participating in the SingporeAmerican Business Association's satay cook-off tomorrow includes one unfamiliar to me, Yellow Ginger in Mountain View. It's in Baba Neo's former space.

Opinions, 'hounds?

A Singapore Affair 2007 in celebration of our Nation’s 42nd Birthday -

Yellow Ginger
311 Moffett Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043

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    1. I was there last week and think it's great. I tried the eggplant salad, grandma's curry, eu char kway and an okra dish. The eggplant salad is delicious. The menu says that the eggplant is roasted, although I didn't really taste any smokiness like one would taste with its similar thai cousin dish. The most interesting dish was the eu char kway, chinese doughnuts with squid paste and deep fried again. The other 2 dishes were good but nut quite as flavorful as I would like. They were fragrant and seasoned correctly but the curry dish lacks pungency and the okra dish lacks the taste of shrimp paste (?). I would definitely come back again. Service was excellent.

      3 Replies
      1. re: KathyM

        "eu char kway, chinese doughnuts with squid paste and deep fried again"

        A new one for me, can't wait to try it!

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          This place is equivalent to what Xanh is to vietnamese food. It's more fusiony then authentic. I was excited to see some very interesting dishes on its menu like the aforementioned chinese doughnuts with squid paste. Like Xanh, it has a lot of potential, perhaps unrealized.

          1. re: KathyM

            Thanks, Singaporean food is "fusion" to start with, so it will be fun to try some contemporary takes on the cuisine.

      2. I was there on Friday night and thought it was just okay - my family concluded that we preferred Spice Island across the train tracks in Mountain View. The roti prata was pretty good but a relatively small serving for the $5 charge. The beef rendang was not as spicy as we would have hoped but the chicken rice was a disappointment - a very small portion of chicken and the rice, while whitish (which I prefer to the very yellow versions) was also served at room temperature (not intentionally). The service was very enthusiastic but not terribly efficient. I might go back for the curry puffs - note that I was told you have to call ahead to order them in advance. They were full-ish on Fri night, so business seemed to be good.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Pinkster

          The online menu says dishes can be ordered extra spicy. Did you do that or just go with the default spicing.

          Yellow Ginger
          311 Moffett Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043

          1. re: rworange

            Default spicy, didn't think of customizing this time around...

          2. re: Pinkster

            Thanks for posting. The restaurant was participating in the Satay cook-off on Friday night, so that might have affected staffing and quality.

            1. re: Pinkster

              "chicken rice was a disappointment ..."

              The only rice dish I could find on the web site is Hainan chicken rice. If that's what you ordered, it should be served with rice cooked in chicken broth -- which means yellowish -- and room temperature. Intentionally. With sides of soy, garlic and pepper sauces. And if they're really traditional, a soup of chicken broth and savoy (Napa) cabbage.


              1. re: teleme

                It was indeed the Hainan chicken rice and the color actually varies - I believe the rice only turns yellow upon addition of further spices. In Singapore, the classic served at Chatterbox at the Mandarin on Orchard Rd is a white rice that's been fried with garlic/chicken fat when raw and steamed in chicken broth. In Thailand, where it's also very popular, the rice is always white, never yellow. In my experience, the rice is usually served hot, the chicken is served at room temperature.

                1. re: Pinkster

                  Pinkster is right. I've also had Hainan Chicken Rice at the touristy Newton Hawker Center, Chatterbox at Mandarin (both in Singapore) and the rice is exactly as described. The same goes for this place in Hong Kong that's quite famous, a Singaporean restaurant near the defunct former Lee Theater in Causeway Bay (I guess you can say Hong Kong style) which I think is more enjoyable than what I've had in Singapore in '99.

                  Chatterbox was expensive, like US$10+ for HCR. I guess that's somewhat synonymous with beef soup noodles in Taiwan, where touristy upscale places are that much or a tad bit under. This is really an el cheapo street food comfort dish. I guess the Canto equivalent is dried fried beef chow fun.

                  Yellow colored Hainan Chicken Rice (almost like a rice a roni look) is only something I've ever seen in the Bay Area and more prevalent with Malaysian restaurants.

                  1. re: Pinkster

                    Oh yes, you are quite right. I misread Pinkster's description as the chicken being served, unintentionally, at room temperature.

                    As to Melanie's remark that Singaporean food is "'fusion' to start with". Well, this is quite true, but that's pretty much true of most cuisines -- just not usually so obviously. The problem is that there's such a dearth of genuine Singaporean food in the US, singa-fusion dishes just seem like near misses.