Zai Shun Curry Fish Head in Jurong East
Zai Shun Curry Fish Head was introduced to me by C & L last year. I've been back a few times and on my last visit, actually took half a day's leave from work to be able to make it on a weekday!
Fried Bitter Gourd with Salted Egg
It seems crazy to have to use my annual leave allocation just to get a Cze Char (Singaporean lingo for food that's cooked to order) fix on a weekday but I have my reasons. For a while, each time I visited on a weekend they didn't serve or were sold out for my favourite dish, Fried Bitter Gourd with Salted Egg. I had to make it down on a weekday for a better chance of getting the dish and was really pleased to discover that they've decided to make this dish again on weekends. Looking like a scrambled eggs dish, the firm yet tender slices of bitter gourd had been fried with a combination of regular chicken eggs and salted duck eggs. The slight bitterness of the bitter gourd helped to counter the saltiness of the salted egg yolks which added flavour to the beaten egg. The chunks of salted egg white added a different texture. The perfect balance of saltiness and bitterness within a dish, this is still by far the best I've had in Singapore. Definitely a Must-Try!
Even though Zai Shun Curry Fish Head seems to specialize in curry fish head, the most popular dish is the steamed fish. I've very rarely ever seen a table without a steamed fish each time I visit. I've never tried the curry fish head as I'm not crazy about fish head but I guess I should sometime, just for reference. For a coffeeshop, Zai Shun carries a wide range of quality fish that can rival the selection at most decent Chinese restaurants. The key is to go early (before 11 am) to take your pick. Zai Shun offers fish like Green Wrasse (known as Qing Yi, a popular dish in fine Chinese restaurants), garoupa and parrot fish amongst many others. Steamed perfectly, the flesh of the fish is tender and juicy with savoury accents from the light soy sauce. We could barely finish this between the 4 of us. The steamed fish here is a Must-Try!
Steamed Minced Pork with Salted Fish
One of my favourite comfort dishes is a simple plate of Steamed Minced Pork with Salted Fish with plain porridge or steamed rice. I opted for Zai Shun's Teochew-style porridge for a lighter meal and so I could have more room for the dishes. The minced pork had probably been minced by hand because it had a soft and almost fluffy texture thus resulting in a tender meat patty that was dotted with deliciously savoury morsels of salted fish. This is also a Must-Try at Zai Shun.
Hae Bee Hiam - Spicy Dried Prawn Sambal
Another dish that I've loved since my childhood is Hae Bee Hiam. A spicy dried prawn sambal, I used to love to put a copious layer between 2 slices of buttered bread for breakfast. It's also a great companion to porridge. It's hard to find Hae Bee Hiam with the right balance of heat, saltiness and touch of sweetness these days and Zai Shun does a pretty good job of it. If you like, you can squeeze some lime juice over it for a tangy touch that cuts through the grease that gradually oozes out of the Hae Bee Hiam. This is also a Must-Try!
Prawn Paste Chicken
I was starving so I ordered the Prawn Paste Chicken dish as well. Unfortunately, whilst the fried chicken wings had a lovely crisp skin, the flavour of the prawn paste was so mild, it barely gave us an umami kick. The chicken had a hint of freezer burn flavour, which didn't sit too well with me. I'll give this dish a miss the next time I visit.
Zai Shun Curry Fish Head
Block 253 Jurong East Street 24
#01-205 First Cooked Food Point
Phone: +65 6560 8594
Thursday - Tuesday: 7 am to 3 pm