Cheap and Good Zi Char!!
Beauty world Hambaobao had been sibei hot recently due to left, right, up, down, in-out-in-out gangbank by food blogges. But there is one more gan tokong Zi Char Cafe just next door, called Little Gobbles Cafe located in the lao pok Bukit Timah Shopping Centre which not many people know. Tbh, if you tasted the food from this joint, you will find waiting 1hr 30mins for a hamburger machiam bodoh peh kambing
Visit this small eatery is like visiting my ah ma house and she cooks all my favourite dishes. Indeed there is an ah ma taking orders and for the whole 1 hr I was there, she was all smiles. Pure embodiment of friendliness and warmth in one body. Makes me forget my own ah ma is who.
Ordered their signature Fish Head Curry along some sides like Salted Egg Yolk Pork Chops, Basil Cai Poh Prawns and Ma Po Toufu.
Salted Egg Yolk Pork Chops
The chops are tender, juicy and well-marinated with Chinese 5 Spice Powder and Hua Diao Wine. The wine makes the pork marbok and soften the muscle fibres in the meat, allowing the flavour of the spice to be better absorbed, which enhances the overal taste and flavour. This also allows the meat to retain its natural juice which is why you need be careful as the hot zap will squirt in your mouth make you mc 2 days. The salted egg yolk sauce is creamy, thick and has a mild eggy taste. Not too salty, mild sweet and taste abit similar to Pumpkin Puree. It is indeed a match in heaven for these 2 to come together.
All the tables have this one dish. It look machiam plain jane as the curry zap is those light yellowy-orange kind and not that see liao steam red-orangey Deborah kind. Now this is the part where “Dun judge the book by its cover” came in. The flavour is majestically orgasmtic. The flavours of the masala, coconut milk just explodes in your mouth followed by waves and waves of umami that makes you yearn for more scoops of the curry.
The key behind the umami waves is because they added powdered dried fish. Dried fish contains inosinate which is a main component for the umami taste and it also adds a smokey fragrance to the dish. Lots of onions are added to give the curry an overall sweeter taste and to reduce the jerlakness from the coconut milk. Fish is fresh and meat is tender with hardly any frozen smell.
This dish wok hei level 9999. The smokey flavour comes from the orgy of caramelisation of sugar (which is present in the sweet dark soya sauce added), Maillard reaction (chemical reaction between amino acid and reducing sugars that gives browned food a distinct flavour) and smoking of oil. The fragrance of basil leaves is overwhelming to smell but not to taste as you can still taste the individual components distinctive flavour like the garlic, the cai poh and the sweetness of the prawn. Eat this prawn and I can confirm chop that other prawns you donate to SPCA.
Ma Po Toufu
Warm in mouth, warm at heart. Mild spicy and very fragrant with the fermented beans added. But not too spicy. Silky smooth toufu that comes straight out from Pantene commercial. Eat this you will remember your ah ma’s love for you.
Come here for cheap and good homely flavoured Zi Char if you are sick of those jumbo mambo bullsheet out there.
Little Gobbles Cafe
Address: 170 Upper Bukit Timah Rd Bukit Timah Shopping Centre #B1-48 S588178
Operating hrs: Mon to Sun 11am to 8pm
*Ah Beng Cooking Tips*
For meat marination:
– If marinating in acidic liquid (vinegar, wine, lemon juice). Meat should not marinate for more than 2 hr as the acidity will toughen it.