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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Seletar Hill Restaurant - The best braised belly pork (kong ba bao)

If I am not wrong, 95% of the posts in this blog are about places and food in Malaysia. That is not to say that I am not a born-and-bred Singaporean and darn proud of being one. And not to say that I don't travel to other places but Malaysia. Vegas, Paris, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Cairns, I've done in the past 2 years but I've never felt like blogging about these places for some strange reason - not even Cairns just a couple of months back.

When I find the time I guess - despite it being December, I am swarmed with my current workload to the point of being discouraged and despondent. And I miss my beloved boss's calm wise presence :( It sounds absolutely insane for a worker bee to count the days till her boss returns back to the office but I am. I miss her so much it actually hurts. Mad. Anyway, talking about her brings me back the original point of this post - the really good stuff that hails from Singapore, in this case, food (as opposed to a person) introduced to me by an expert foodie colleague of mine.

Because he was a regular at this haunt, we left the ordering to him. As with most traditional Chinese dinners, we started off with soup - in this case, Sze Chuan hot and sour soup. The Slog Reviews: 8/10. This soup was served piping hot and the fragrant aroma rising together with the steam made us drool even before the first spoonful. Excellent stuff.

My foodie colleague swears by the Camphor Tea Smoked Duck served by this restaurant -he has never had duck that tasted better, so he says. I am a duck meat lover - I always claim I am allergic to chicken to avoid eating chicken meat (when pressed further for details of this unique allergy, I usually reply that chicken triggers my anger management issues and the questioning inevitably stops) - and so I was really looking forward to the smoked duck he ordered. The Slog Reviews: 9/10. Alright, I confess I had to swallow a couple of times before typing because the picture below triggered off the memory of the thin crispy skin which was laced with just the most delicate layer of fat and oil, and of the firm tender juicy meat. Simply mouthwateringly good.

Despite its rather unappealing appearance below, the sambal green beans he ordered didn't stay very long on its plate either. The Slog Reviews: 8/10. Good on its own merits but can be given a miss in favor of the duck or the next item if one has limited eating/stomach capacity.

Now, I don't eat braised belly pork at all. The idea of all that quivering solid fat is simply abhorent and triggers unpleasant memories. However, my foodie colleague told me to try or regret this dish. The pork belly was served in this manner with just enough portions for the number of diners.

Because I was reluctant to pick up the belly pork with its thick layer of fats and put it between the white buns served together with the dish AND my foodie colleague was determined to have me try the dish, he ended up making the kong ba bao below for me - not much to look at but....one bite, and all was right with my world again. The Slog Reviews: 10/10. Orgasmic. Who needs a man, what does the state of my inbox matter...irrelevant. The pork melts in the mouth - I swear - it MELTS and the sweet dark gravy which seeps into the warm oh-so-tender- buns makes the entire combination a testimony to the wonders of our good lord. The 8th wonder.

Because I had been craving durian so badly, despite my foodie colleague's persuasions to have me try the chendol, I ordered the popular durian pudding (only SGD 2) and the Slog Reviews: 7/10. No offense to the dish but come on now, who was I fooling to think a durian pudding and not the real thing could actually satisfy my craving. But it was sweet of my foodie colleague though to remember my craving. Can skip.

In any case, I got to try the durian chendol because he absolutely insisted that such pleasures should be shared. The other colleagues at the table bowed to his wiser judgment as per the pic below and had that dessert too. The Slog Reviews: 8/10. I am not a chendol person but the overall concensus is that this is really good dessert and a sweet end to a great meal. Thank you so much for taking us here!

So, for those of you who can afford the calories, or who can't like The Slog but love braised belly pork, the place to make a beeline for is Seletar Hill Restaurant located at 16 Jalan Selaseh Seletar Hills Estate.

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