23 September, 2008

大吃の喜 - The Bamboo Noodle's Specialist

Its origins dated back to the nineteenth century of Qing Dynasty – affectionately known as Bamboo Noodles, or 竹升面, it is highly regarded for its smooth and tangy texture. The secret to its delectable taste and texture lies in the rigorous production process.

Traditionally hand-made, it is rubbed, kneaded and mixed into dough before being pressed with a long and thick bamboo pole. Using his whole body weight, the master chef will skillfully maneuver the pole back and forth to achieve the springy bite of the noodles.

However, at 大吃の喜, thanks to the ingenious engineering brain of
Mr John See and the support from his wife, Amy, one no longer needs to travel all the way to Guangzhou, China (where John first discovered the dish) to sample this appetising noodles – he spent 18 months to invent his very own bamboo noodles production machine! What used to painstakingly take 2 hours to produce this wonderful chow is now reduced to a mere 45 minutes!!! Located in one of the refurbished shophouses along Joo Chiat, at the corner of Koon Send Road, 大吃の喜, or Tai Shek Hei, is a noodle specialist that produces their own palatable noodles with the freshest ingredients.

The first step is to load a block of lumpy dough onto the machine.

With a press of buttons and turning of knobs, the bamboo pole begins to pound on the dough.

After 7-8 rounds of pounding process, the chef proceeds to cut the much smoother dough into 3 thick portions.

The second step is to load onto the next machine that seeks to turn the dough into a thin sheet.

Every time the dough goes through this machine, it gets thinner. This monotonous process goes on for a good 7-8 rounds until the dough gets really flatten.

The whole roll of dough is then transfer to the final machine that shreds the thin sheets into strands of noodles.

The chef will sprinkle flour at various intervals to prevent the noodles from getting sticky.

Final end product are heaps of thinly strands noodles good enough for 200 servings that will be kept in a temperature-controlled room for 2 days before vacuumed packed for future consumption.

The verdict: This was probably one of most “
Q” or springy noodles HFB has ever tried in his life (The trick is to slurp the noodles, as quickly as Japanese eating ramen, when served, and not wait too long, especially the soup version, as the texture will start to turn soggy).

And unlike the typical noodles one finds in
Singapore, there’s none of the lye water taste or “Kee”, in dialect, presented in the noodles. Like how the old Gardenia Bread Ad that goes “It is so good that you can eat it’s on its own”.

Price ranges from $6.50 to $6.80 and comes with choices of
Dumplings, Roast Duck, Soy Chicken, Char Siew and even Mushroom and Curry Pork! And that is not to say there’s nothing else good to eat at this restaurant – the appetiser dish of Deep-fried Enoki Mushrooms with Mayonaise (off-menu item) was simple but delightful. It was well fried without the greasy aftertaste and every bite produces an enjoyable crunch.

Another off-menu item of
Marinated Chilled Chicken Wings was said to be Amy’s favourite dish in China. Marinated and slightly coloured yellow, it was served chilled for consumption. Slightly salty on it’s own, this would probably go along better with the noodles – however, HFB’s intolerance for cold food means he didn’t appreciate it fully.

Fried Tobiko Dumpling ($4.00 for 4 pcs) was excellent in its own right. The skin, also home-produced by John’s machine, came with an excellent taste and texture that gave one a perfect crunch. Bountiful with ingredients, the dumplings were full with meat and prawn, and the extra dash of Tobiko, or Flying Fish Roe, freshly imported from Japan gave one an extra dimension to the dish.

However, the same astonishingly couldn’t be said about their soup version ($8.00 for 8pcs). Perhaps soaked in the soup for quite awhile, the skin just wasn’t as enjoyable as the deep-fried ones, and HFB found them a tad salty. Initially HFB thought it was the tobiko, but
John confirmed that it was the meat instead that was intentionally marinated saltier to compensate for the clear soup.

Roast Combination dish of Roast Duck and Char Siew ($10.00 for small serving) was another hit and misses. Everyone knows it is the skin that rates the duck, and 大吃の喜’s version is pretty good. Health conscious eaters would be happy to discover that the duck didn't come with much fat at the bottom of the skin, but yet the thinly strips of skin was so scrumptious and crispy. However, the char siew didn’t exactly wow HFB. He felt the char siew was under-flavoured and could be roasted slightly longer and make do with stronger marinates. Also, the lacked of fats also means it was slightly on the tougher side.

Chives & Egg Pancake ($3.50 for small serving), shaped like mini curry-puffs, was another healthy option. However, HFB believed that the strong flavour of chives would probably turn many people off from it, although he himself thought the dish was not too bad.

Lunch was rounded off with a dessert of Fungus with Red Dates ($3.00) served chilled. Double-boiled with plenty of ingredients, the pleasant surprise was the inclusion of thinly strips of orange peel that gave a lovely zesty vigor to this otherwise straight forward dessert. On the other hand, HFB thought that the chef was pretty generous with the rock sugar.

283/285 Joo Chiat Road
Singapore 427539
Telephone: 6345 5095

Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited taste test. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank John and Amy for their generous hospitality.

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Anonymous said...

i went today, their noodles are really good. but i didn't get to see the noodle making process because they just make it yesterday. bad timing. haha

red fir said...

I got a neckache reading your review.

Why does the roast duck look like roast chicken? Skin color is off...

His Food Blog said...

LIC: Yeah the noodle making process was pretty interesting. One will appreciate what machine can do for us humans, heh.

ice: I dunno, that you would need to ask the chef - but who cares when the skin taste that good. ;)

momo esther said...

the photos is making so hungry!!!
great photos!!

Unknown said...

Hi there,

I came across your site via linkreferral and thought it was a really great site! Loved looking around a bit!

Keep it up.

Christoff Gouws

His Food Blog said...

Hi Wenn and Christoff: Thank you for your kind words and support.

Unknown said...

I pass by before but never went in.... Hmmm another place to visit next time :-)

Hungrybear said...

HFB, feasting on the photos. Great shots and thanks for sharing. HB :))

His Food Blog said...

keropok: Go try and lemme know what you think :)

HB: Thank you. Glad you enjoy ur stay.

Unknown said...

ok. but must find a reason to go so far away first :-)

His Food Blog said...

LOL. Same here. I just have this hunch and feeling that you stay very near me.

Cos we always end up eating at the same area.

Perhaps we can meet up one day to makan and take photos. :)

Steve said...

Superb post... HFB - and I will certainly be checking this one out. The combo disk of Roast Duck and Char Siew sound like something I would love. I hope that your comments re the Char Siew are listened to, because done right this dish would be the height of decadence.

His Food Blog said...

Thank you - I am flattered.

cactuskit said...

Thks for sharing. : )

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