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Monday, 9 November 2015

Lunch at Fu Lin (福林) Bar & Kitchen (yong tau foo)

127 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068596
Tel: 9367 8017

Photosource:  http://tinyurl.com/o866uno

I was first introduced to Fu Lin Bar & Kitchen a few years back by a client who worked nearby, a nice elderly gentleman full of praise for the yong tau foo here. It had looked like a clean, modernistic coffeeshop back then (see photo above).

Yong Tau Foo, by the way (for the benefit of my foreign readers) is a Khek / Hakka (a Chinese dialect group)'s traditional cuisine, in which tofu was being stuffed with minced meat / fish and either deep-fried or cooked in soup. These days, the choices are wider - with stuffed shitake mushrooms, eggplant, bittergourd, lady's fingers etc all forming part of the selection, amongst other items.

I was indeed impressed with the food at Fu Lin Bar (even when it was a coffeeshop) - owner was quite friendly on a Saturday afternoon, and he joked that if the food wasn't nice I'd get a refund. Well, not only did I not ask for a refund, I remember myself wanting more.  I'd been back several times over the years.

In recent months, I was surprised to note that the flagship outlet has morphed into a hipster joint, complete with decorative lights, mirrors, stylish wood furniture etc with a modern-Oriental and rustic vibe in the dim settings.  So I told myself I must revisit again soon.

They have also extended their opening hours from Mondays to Saturdays to 9.00pm these days, because this was no longer merely a coffeeshop for a quick meal. Fu Lin Bar is now set to dazzle with its new charming settings, good music and even better service. They even serve alcoholic drinks in this new bar concept, so that you could slowly enjoy a few drinks over Asian-inspired light bites - at 3.00pm they no longer serve yong tau foo by the way.

From the vast selection of yong tau foo items, I selected what I wanted, and passed the bowl to the nice uncle, who rang up my orders and I made payment. Then we took a seat and waited for the delicacy to be served. It was my brunch - first meal of the day on a Saturday - so I was famished.

Warm Barley drinks (I'd wanted Kronenberg - the only available alcoholic drink currently besides Asahi - but they're only serving it in late afternoon) were brought to the table first, alongside some sauces for dipping.

The Noodles were served, in their signature minced meat gravy - dark, sticky and reminding me of the sauce used in "zar jiang mian". The noodles are thick white noodles - similar to your laksa strands or beef noodles, but the first time I'd eaten it, it just kept making me think of spaghetti. Anyway, the sauce was delicious, even hinted at the tiniest bit of shitake mushrooms in its flavour.

Their signature dried version of yong tau foo arrived next, with most items deep-fried. I ordered for two to share the following items - beancurd, tau pok, dumpling, seaweed chicken, vegetables, bittergourd, lady's fingers, red chilli, eggplant, spring roll, beancurd skin and shitake mushroom. Infused with the thick, delicious sauce, some of the items soaked up the deliciousness and were extra tasty. Other items such as fried beancurd skin and fried tau pok melted beautifully in the mouths.  It was enjoyable to eat this yong tau foo dish, forget about being health-conscious for a day. Though, don't linger over the food for too long because once they turn soggy from the sticky dark sauce, it would not be tasty anymore.

Two of us spent SGD$19.25 in all.

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