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Friday, 27 June 2014

Lunch at Yixing Xuan Teahouse

Having passed by Yixing Xuan Teahouse for years, and being keenly aware of its existence all this while, today was the chosen day to have my lunch there. This traditional teahouse / Chinese eatery cum tea art centre is located at 30 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088453 among a row of shophouses, and the number to dial is 6224 6961.

This authentic teahouse is interesting because it is a restaurant serving lovely dimsum dishes, it is a school teaching tea appreciation, and it is a retail shop selling many kinds of traditional tea leaves as well as tea equipment (teapots and teacup sets). There are also tea appreciation workshops that one has to book in advance, to learn about the beauty and benefits of drinking tea.

Thedining area is done in a very ancient Chinese style, complete with white marble-top tables and an Oriental backdrop. The service is rather attentive in a sincere manner, and the ambience brings one back in time, back to olden Chinese days where one is soothed by a quiet tea hut and may relax to enjoy a good meal.

I ordered a cup of Pu-er tea (SGD$4.00, if I remember correctly) to start the meal with. The tea is brewed with real tea leaves, and harbors a very thick and strong flavor - aromatic, no doubt, and rich the way I like it (and expected, from a tea house!).

The first dish was the Har Gow (SGD$3.30) - steamed prawn dumplings, that almost every table ordered. My hopes for fresh, succulent shrimps dashed the moment I took the first bite. Disappointingly, the prawns were not fresh, and I could not understand why everyone ordered this dish. There was no bouncy sweetness to the flesh; there was an almost sour tinge to the dumplings, and the crystalline skin embracing it was nearly too sticky.

Next, I had the Chicken Feet (SGD$3.30) which were rather natural, without the overly-expanded texture most chicken feet in dimsum restaurants feature. The chicken feet (skin) was tender, and I enjoyed the spicy sauce it was infused in.

Finally, the Seafood Tofu (SGD$10.00) with meltingly-soft beancurd in a very smooth texture, topped with minced mini-patty of seafood (prawns detectable), and infused in a tasty savoury gravy - this was a very lovely dish and the beancurd pieces were so silken smooth one could just slurp it in (like soya beancurd) and it would slide the throat beautifully (I think).

All in all, this was a rather interesting dining experience, and I would like to come back to try the tea appreciation worhsop (SGD$20.00 for 4 types of tea) or tea appreciation session with dim sum lunch (SGD$30.00 for 4 types of tea and assortment of dimsum items).

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