You know the feeling when you’ve just murdered someone for the first time?
The adrenaline’s still pumping, the smell of iron in the air is staggering and, and…what the hell just happened…you didn’t mean it… I mean, I mean…it was just a quarrel…he came over me and I just reacted in self defense. Yes, self defense. I’ll be fine, I didn’t mean to kill…no, I’m didn’t kill. No, I’m not a murderer… You’ve got blood all over your face, all over your skin and you’re cleaning up. You use hand soap, but the stains won’t come off. You use detergents and your hands are still filthy. So, you overcompensate by just showering and showering.
After the desolation of Yong He Eating House, I think my soul died a little. I desperately needed my Lazarus Pit to resurrect and inspire my interest in living, yes, living. You see, food is colorful, food is culture, food is history, food is family…that’s a beautiful thing. And if we’re losing it, if I lose that, that’s everything. That’s my soul. Fortunately, within the deceased, despoiled and debauchery of the motley quarters of Geylang, lies pockets of temples and shrines devoted to the veneration of the gourmands and the gastronomers.
But seriously, Yong He Eating House is quite bad.
Since Darren didn’t think Yong He Eating House quite approximated to what he could consider dinner, we moved down the street and found ourselves passing by one eatery after another, and eventually called at Mongkok Dim Sum.
When you first look at it – the original restaurant at Geylang – most diners wouldn’t give it a second look. The atmosphere of the coffee shop could best be described as “sparse” and “touristy” – it was a cemetery compared to the neighboring eateries (and this was dinner time), and the few here were Westerners. The menu too, seemed typical of garrish touristy restaurants that you find all over the world – touts, big A3-sized menus with clear pictures of the dishes in various languages… Were it not for the pretty good reviews online, I honestly wouldn’t have indulged them in a visit.
And surprise, surprise, the food turned out not only decent but it was pretty good, especially compared to Victor’s Kitchen several weeks earlier. Yes, better than Victor’s Kitchen. Get your head around that!
Liu Sha Bao (below)
We began with the liu sha bao, which was just delicious. While it lacked the contrast of the deep distinction between the salted egg yolk custard and that sweet richness of the condensed and evaporated milk that one might find at Swee Choon, Bosses or Canton Paradise, it still managed to strike a pretty good flavor. The filling was most runny, which is always a plus. Although the buns commanded quite a dimension, the custard chamber was regrettably most insufficient.
The prawn dumplings were bonafide exquisite, if only the skins didn’t stick to the bamboo basket. Otherwise, it was immaculate, and looked pretty too, the semi-transparent skins teasing vibrant cantaloupes of fresh prawns. Unlike Victor’s Kitchen, which you might recall that I mentioned that their dumplings had an odd sense of artificiality to them, Mongkok Dim Sum’s version looked honest and personable.
I noticed that the menu had deep-fried soft shell crab, which was something I was looking forward to. Back in my school days of weekly after-school Sakae Sushi, Seoul Garden and Cafe Cartel high-tea buffets, the soft shell crab was something of a delicacy among us frat boys. Remember Sakae’s salmon kama? That was just brilliant at the time, wasn’t it? Remember Cafe Cartel’s St. Louis Pork Ribs when it used to be good? Remember how we just kept stocking Cafe Cartel’s free-flow of bread well into dinner time to pass time? Ahhh…memories. The soft shell crab here was encased in a crackle, sheltering a reservoir of succulent roes.
Last, but not least – well, I thought it was the least in our line-up anyways – is the deep fried paper wrapped chicken. I can only surmise that it’s a simile, because it’s not 纸包鸡. Rather, it’s a wafer-thin curry chicken puff. With the curry packing quite a punch, it was certainly an unexpected kick. Still nice, though.