Monday, July 14, 2008
Outstanding in Geylang
Most foodies will by now be familiar with Ya Kwang. The cow, though having four legs, only came to try it recently (thanks to Winelearner) and was wowed by this Geylang kopitiam (coffee shop).
Ya Kwang is owned and ran by Jason (pictured above) and his wife. Don't let the kopitiam frontage fool you. Ya Kwang offers gems that are daring, unauthentic and novel for a kopitiam.
The Lobster Noodles ($70) featured a 700g Boston lobster! The handmade noodles were springy with a good, firm bite. Though a tad floury in taste, they were beautifully coated with a gravy that oozed delicate crustacean flavour. Unlike stronger lobster flavours like those in lobster bisque, this dish had lighter yet tasty flavours. In addition, the lobster flesh was succulent and cooked with good timing. Do take note that this dish has to be ordered in advance!
Another unusual item at a kopitiam was the Kurobuta Shabu Shabu ($38). The almost bacon-looking pork slices may appear fatty but thankfully didn't leave a greasy trail upon swallowing. Instead, the fat marbling added a perfumed touch once masticated. This was one 'unporky' pig. People who are adverse to the unpleasant porky taste sometimes associated with the meat should try this one. Just remember that a few seconds dip into the boiling pot will do. Any longer and it'll start to get tougher.
The stock was packed with savouriness and was relatively sweet. I enjoyed the chockfull of assorted vegetables that became tender and sweet after a while in the pot. The best part of the pot? Undoubtedly, the Korean tang hoon (vermicelli) that was QQ and had soaked up all the goodness of the stock!
Accompanying the slices of meat was a ponzu dip. The soy-citrus and mirin-like flavour went well with the kurobuta, not that the meat really required any extra seasoning though. I would advise you to try without the dip first and only use the dip later to add flavour variety.
Unlike the delicate flavour of the Kurobuta, the (ordinary) beef had a very strong beefy-iron-y taste which may put some people off. Perhaps Waygu would be more interesting but otherwise, I reckon the Kurobuta's a better bet.
For a kopitiam version of pasta Vongole, try the Clam Ban Mian ($10)! The flower clams used in this dish were nicely firm and sweet. However, a little grit in some of them could be forgiven. It was after all a kopitiam no? The noodles were not really Ban Mian but were narrower and more like You Mian, exactly like the one used in the Lobster Noodles and again, they were pleasantly al dente. The slightly bitter 'broth' that flavoured the noodles were like a clam stock with accents of coriander and a fiery kick from chili padi. This is one interesting dish!
Ya Kwang is truly a gem in Geylang and an oustanding kopitiam. It has novel dishes, good quality food and friendly prices plus a non-pushy/aggressive (in the sales sense) boss!
709 Geylang Road
Opens: 11am-11pm daily
Tel: 9817 0006 (Jason)
Chew On This: Come here quickly while you still can! That's about as much as I'm gonna say.