While Toast Box teemed with tourists, I walked straight into this place, excited that I finally had a reason to come here.
Ever since I visited China last year, I find myself unable to let go of the Chinese fast-food restaurant. Sure, the branding of each particular chain parallels certain Western offerings, but beyond the marketing and blatant interior rip-offs, the food is in a league of its own. The flavors were absolutely mind-blowing. Just a tad closer to home, Hong Kong’s Cafe De Coral, which borrows Japan’s Pepper Lunch concept to a tee but serves Hong Kong cuisine instead, has demonstrated the possibility of a Chinese-themed fast-food restaurant. Make no mistake, I’m not calling for the commercialization of Chinese food. Despite all’s being said and done, fast-food restaurants are a great initiation into a less familiar cuisine. For instance, Nando’s and Barcelo’s have done for South Africa what South Africa could never have done, and in the Far East, Korea’s Four Fingers has introduced Americans to a whole new, healthy way of eating fried chicken, and Korean cuisine on the whole as well. Panda Express is doing its bit for Chinese cuisine in the States, so it’s a little strange that little’s being done within Asia. I mean, it’s great and all, that cultures are incorporating various cuisines in their cooking, but it is, ultimately, an evolution of those cuisines, and not Chinese’. Ruyi, by Singapore’s Tung Lok Group is a great step, and so far, it’s a niche act, which I guess in Singapore, a country where affordable and good Chinese food is rampant, should be the way. A few years ago, Crystal Jade started its own fast-food concept, but quickly shut it down.
You’d probably think I’ll lose my credibility, not that I had any in the first place, but I love Chinese fast-food. It’s not anything wonderful, intricate or sophisticated, but it’s just one of those things. The Ruyi Fried Noodles exemplifies that – the closest you’ll find to the elusive Singapore Fried Noodles, but with a slight but distinctive, curry tinge, it was a perfect “wake-me-up”.