Sunday, 26 November 2017

British Hainan in Joo Chiat. Singapore

British-Hainan-Joo-Chiat-Singapore

We gathered for Sunday lunch today at British Hainan restaurant which is at the intersection of Crane Road and Carpmael Road in Joo Chiat (about 15 minutes leisurely walk from Paya Lebar MRT station). A red and black bug eyed vintage Morris car stood at the front like a Queen's Guard in a red and black coat outside Buckingham Palace 😄

British-Hainan-Joo-Chiat-Singapore

Stepping inside British Hainan was like walking into a curio shop but set up with tables and chairs. The interior was chock a block with old things, not necessarily British - Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and President Obama shared the wall space with Princess Diana. It reminded me of those century old Ang Moh homes (in Ang Moh land) where great grandpa and grandma's things are still around everywhere 😂

British-Hainan-Joo-Chiat-Singapore

British or not, this place is certainly Hainan. Our's was the only table speaking in English in the full house restaurant - everyone else was greeting and bantering cheerfully in Hainanese. This was indeed a "Hainanese village" as owner Frederick envisioned.

British-Hainan-Joo-Chiat-Singapore

British Hainan's speciality is a unique genre of cuisine which was born out of the history of Hainanese immigration to Southeast Asia. The Hainanese were late comers from China to Nanyang in the early 1900s, so they established themselves in whatever unoccupied industry that remained. Many ended up in the kitchens of British military bases, homes and even ships. 

I can still remember the Hainanese Ah Ko in white long sleeves, bow ties and black pants in Tengah Officers Mess when I was a young greenhorn. It was at TOM that I was initiated to British Hainan cuisine - I will always remember the French toast but that's a story for another post 😄 

British-Hainan-Joo-Chiat-Singapore

The next step for many Hainanese chefs and their descendants was moving on to start up their own coffee shops and restaurants like British Hainan. Frederick's dad cooked for a British family and his sugar free recipes are still used in British Hainan today (exactly right for our national "War on Diabetes" campaign - why everything also must put in this type of language? 😜). Frederick's dad's boss was diabetic, hence he developed sugar free recipes replacing sugar with sweet potatoes.

British-Hainan-Joo-Chiat-Singapore

Of the many dishes that represent British Hainan cuisine, my favourites are pork chop, chicken chop and oxtail stew. We indulged in them all today 😄

British-Hainan-Joo-Chiat-Singapore

Hainanese pork and chicken chops were coated with a flour batter and crushed cream crackers. The deep fried coating has a characteristic crispiness from bits of cream crackers while the pork or chicken inside (shielded from the hot oil) remained tender and juicy - the contrast of textures and natural sweetness of pork or chicken make Hainanese chops so delicious 😋

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The chops were served smothered in a thick savoury sourish sweet sauce with lots of peas, onion, tomato and carrots. At British Hainan it also comes with a generous salad of cucumber slices, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, pineapple, tangerine etc. We were busy chatting, enjoying the food and company, so I may miss out some ingredients 😂

British-Hainan-Joo-Chiat-Singapore

I like the flavoursome sauce so much that I had to politely request the helpful staff who came to clear our table to let me finish up the sauce 😁

British-Hainan-Joo-Chiat-Singapore

I like British Hainan's oxtail stew, which is another quintessential British Hainan dish. It's a homely vegetable stew with oxtail in the pot.

British-Hainan-Joo-Chiat-Singapore

The tail joints were meaty with a bit of fat. The meat was tender and juicy with a mild beefiness. The meat had a gentle chew to the bite though personally I prefer it half a notch softer.

British-Hainan-Joo-Chiat-Singapore

I like this thick stew a lot - it had all the essence from sweet potato, potato, tomato, carrot, onion, celery and beefy oxtail in its savoury sweet beefy sauce. I was cleaning up the plate and didn't want to return it to the staff, sorry 😂 I also ate those woody Rosemary leaves, yum yum 😋 

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Frederick teamed up with Wah Eng beef noodles and now serves traditional Hainanese beef noodles at British Hainan.

The generic thick bee hoon is served with a mix of small pieces of lean beef slices, tendon, tripe and beef balls in a savoury beefy medium bodied broth. The beef was tender with a bit of chew to the bite which released beefy flavours with every bite.

British-Hainan-Joo-Chiat-Singapore

We also had the "dry" version where the bee hoon and beef were smothered in a starch thicken savoury salty dark sauce with subtle underlying beefiness.

British-Hainan-Joo-Chiat-Singapore

Restaurant name: British Hainan
Address: 75 Carpmael Rd, Singapore 429812
GPS1°18'44.5"N 103°53'55.5"E | 1.312351, 103.898759
Tel11:00am - 5:30pm | 6:00pm – 10:00pm (Tues off)
Hours: 6336 8122

Non Halal

Date visited: 26 Nov 2017




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2 comments:

  1. Tony.. Love the way you describe the food.. A 5-star great article of 'straight talking'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Bob :-D Grateful for your pic of Fred too :-D

      Delete

I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints as it makes this blog better :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is unethical in the same way as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

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