Singapore - General Tso's Chicken & stuff from Seletar Hills Restaurant
The couple who owned & cooked at this 20+ year-old restaurant are Singaporeans, but who learnt their trade in New York's Chinatown, which explained the presence of American-Chinese dishes like General Tso's chicken and Mushu pork on their menu.
We dined here last evening, and I actually liked the General Tso's chicken - crisp-fried battered chicken covered with sweet-sour-spicy sauce. Other dishes we ordered included:
- Sichuanese hot-and-sour soup. Not as intense nor spicy as we'd expected - I preferred the version served over in Hua Zhu Restaurant, Farrer Road.
- Dongpo Pork served with steamed mantou buns. Tasty, but standards seemed to have declined from a few years back - we noticed new cooks employed to man the kitchens instead of the owner-chef, Pang Kok Hua.
- Steamed red sea bass, Teochew-style. Unfortunately, the fish was not fresh enough here - another let-down.
- The house special fried vermicelli with eggs, chicken & shrimps. The dish was a tad dry & hard.
- Mapo dofu was tasty, but could have been spicier.
- Stir-fried string beans with chilli-bean sauce. Again, not as tasty as I remembered.
I used to really like this restaurant - I just hope the owners will come back & run the kitchens themselves again.
Seletar Hills Restaurant
16, Jalan Selaseh
Tel: 6483 0348
Reading your report made me think of something else - do you think it is possible that the current generation of diners in S'pore (and M'sia) and/or current patrons (whether old or new) of restaurants have a lower tolerance for heat/chili/spiciness? How about prevalence of tourists in restaurants there? Just wondering.
Yes, I do detect a slight drop in tolerance for chillies amongst younger generation Chinese-Singaporeans and Chinese-Malaysians. One of the consequences of globalization is, surprisingly, closer integration of Chinese communities around this region, and "purer" Chinese tastes have developed. Hong Kong-style wanton noodles, for example, is commonplace in Singapore these days, whereas as recent as back in 1992, I have to go all the way to Noodle Garden in Centrepoint - the only place to serve HK-style noodles in those days!
Seletar Hills Restaurant is far enough from the beaten trail for any stray tourist to discover - everyone's local there!