Hock Leng Seafood was my secret haunt for cze char for quite a while. Their dishes have a special place in my heart as they saw me through 'Sunday book-in nights' during my NS years. However, after the boss-cum-chef felt he needed a break, Hock Leng Seafood was closed and the space rented out to Mad Jack Cafe.
So about a year later, it was to my surprise that I saw a familiar face of a person walking out from a stall on the usually quiet end of the 2nd floor of Bedok Market Place. It was Hock Leng Seafood's lady boss. She told me that her husband, the boss-cum-chef, had hands that were itching to cook and so decided to open a small cze char stall- Simpang Kitchen.
Since then, I have been back to check out familiar favourites as well as new dishes.
The Sotong in Salted Egg Yolk ($8) was still as delicious, with a soft-springy texture and a savoury salted egg yolk sauce scented with spring onions and chilli.
This was definitely something new. I felt the love when the boss treated me to a plate of pipping hot Fried Bishop's Nose (chicken backside lah). Smooth chicken flesh with crispy tasty skin, this was way better than KFC. This item is not available on the menu but hey, if you fancy some yummy chicken backside, why not try asking?
The Kai Lan with Roast Pork ($8) was a hearty veggie dish! The roast pork was salted well and had a fairly nice crackling.
But what was better was the Nan Ru Rou ($8). This dish of fried strips of pork marinated in fermented beancurd is great with both rice and beer! The fragrance of garlic and fermented beancurd made this really tasty.
I remember I didn't quite take to their Hor Fun at their old place (yes, old wounds can be hard to heal) so I decided to try the Beef Ee Mee ($4). The gravy had specks of fermented black beans while the noodles were nicely fragrant but a little hard during this visit. What I like is that the beef slices were just lightly-tenderised. This retained more beefy flavour.
A dessert to end the meal with was the Yu Tou Sha ($6)- finger-length sticks of yam and sweet potato coated in sticky maltose glaze. Dunking each stick into the iced water created a thin, hard candy coat that gave a layer of texture before one's teeth hit the starchy core.
A smaller stall means lesser kitchen space and staff which can translate into a scaled-down menu and longer waiting times during peak periods.
But for now, I am very happy that a then soon-to-be-lost comfort is now back in action. God Bless Itchy Hands.
Bedok Market Place (Simpang Bedok)
Opens: 11am-3pm; 5.30-10pm
Closed: Alternate Mondays starting from 11 Jan 2010.
Tel: 9669 5293
Chew On This: For dishes such as their homemade Fu Long Tofu and Steamed Chinese Pomfret, one has to order in advance now. I guess that now that it's a small stall, space and manpower constrains on some dishes are inevitable.