The only place I had in mind to eat Sichuan food in Singapore was Ba Yu Ren Jia, highly recommended by Singaporeans and that Hungry Boy in his blog. I wish Hungry Boy reads my blog because I want him to add a search widget. The fella doesn't categorize his posts except by the year which means unless you knew for sure what he ate in September 2005, you won't be able to get the info you want. I happened to have written down the name of this restaurant some time ago. All I wanted to eat was 'water cooked fish'.
We took a cab to Smith St, Chinatown and walked up and down in the hot humid weather but the restaurant must've relocated. Not wanting to end up eating a disappointing meal, we left Smith St, which, btw, reminds me of Cheng Huang Miao in Shanghai. We ended up on the main road (North Bridge Road?) and by then it was raining and our feet were numb so we settled for one of the 4 chuan Chinese restaurants across the road from The Majestic (not sure if that's a hotel or a cinema or neither). I did feel a little uneasy, but the restaurant was half-full and we were hungry. The China Chinese waitress was friendly. I still hadn't given up on Ba Yu Ren Jia, but Hub and Yi didn't share my tenacious streak when it came to seeking out new places. All I wanted to eat was 'water cooked fish'.
This was where we had the worst meal of our Singapore trip. This was the meal that ended my search for a decent Sichuan restaurant in Singapore. The restaurant didn't look dirty but I did get a whiff of the shabby wooden table and the others ignored me as usual, putting it down to my imagination and super sensitive nose. I wondered out loud that if a restaurant is dodgy in the dining area, the kitchen must be worse but Hub was already chatting with the waitress about the menu. All I longed for was 'water cooked' fish.
Yi's order of a simple cold dish of white tofu with century eggs turned out to be the best dish we had here. It was similar to what my MIL prepares, except there's a drizzle of black vinegar which made this dish very refreshing.
The waitress' recommendation of pork strips and veg in a bean sauce was surprisingly bland. Even Hub shook his head at this, which meant it was pretty bad.
A famous Sichuan dish of 'dry-fried French beans'. This was okay, barely.
Ah, my order of water cooked fish! I think of it whenever I crave Sichuan food.
Where's the fish? This bowl is full of cabbage and there were only about 5 paper-thin slices of fish that tasted soft and bland, even in that oil. I could eat the cabbage, if not for the fact that there was no ma la taste and flavor AT ALL. I put my nose to the oil and sniffed hard, but there was no flavor, not even of the chili oil. I'm sure I can cook a better bowl of water cook fish. This was just oil with no taste and flavor.
When the waitress asked, I told her what I thought, and we left. I thought you should beware of this place too especially since it is located on the busy main road and so is very deceiving. The shop's name is in Chinese only, Zhung Gou Chan Ting meaning Chinese Restaurant. How very creative.
I wouldn't ever eat here again even if it means starving.