From the best of Commonwealth and Queenstown comes…
I didn’t need to. There was no reason to. Still, I wanted to go visit Shanghai Renjia but alas, I didn’t. I don’t know why, but deliberating on Shanghai Renjia feels like firing a rifle for the first time, really…
I don’t remember the first time I fired a live round on the SAR-21. I remember the day, every single laugh and conversation I had, the best nasi lemak ever and since. I even remember the tracer rounds that I fired, which made the range look all Star Wars-y. I do remember the nerves prior to fighting, though. It’s a sick feeling in the stomach until somebody fires the first round, and I revert back to “soldier mode”.
The Eastern Chinese restaurant has long been a “must-visit” of mine, but I don’t know why it stirs up such an anxious emotion in me. Perhaps, it’s the disappointments that I’ve had with journeying to Ang Mo Kio North and finding the queues closing in front of me. Someday, I might try again but this afternoon, I decided to go somewhere closer: Two Chefs Eating Place.
Sounds familiar? Two Chefs Eating Place comes from the district in the west I like to affectionately call “the zhi-char cluster”. Seriously, there are some ridiculously popular zhi-char restaurants in the vicinity of Queenstown MRT station including Zi Yean (now called Zi Ran) and Stirling Seafood. Two Chefs Eating Place is revered for a whole course of signature dishes including Vegetables with 3 Types of Eggs, Golden Mushroom Beancurd and Butter Ribs. I don’t exactly know when it happened, but spurred by their popularity, Two Chefs Eating Place decided to open a second branch in Sin Ming. The restaurant is technically at Blk 409, which used to be an all-vegetarian coffee shop, presumably to cater to the worshippers of Bright Hill Temple just beside. However, Two Chefs now appears to be an anchor tenant, and besides the ubiquitous drink stall, there’s also a vegetarian food stand and an Indian roti prata stall which seems to have a small but steady stream of customers.
Fans of Two Chefs Eating Place will be pleased to find that the menu bears all the favorite perennial classics that customers love Two Chefs for. But say what you want, but Ang Mo Kio-Bishan is heartland central, and zhi-char stalls are pervasive and omnipresent with everybody loyal to their favorites. Brand recognition, as Shakey Pizza, Udder’s and Boon Tong Kee found out, is not always a guarantee of success in this part of Singapore. To say Two Chefs Eating Place has been struggling outside its hometown of Queenstown would be putting it lightly.
I was unimpressed by the menu for the one-person portions, so I decided to order a Hotplate Beancurd with Rice. It was a little more expensive, but I didn’t mind quite mind the expenditure. It was, well, sad looking. Still, it tasted nice enough (not the best at any stretch of the imagination) for me to consider visiting again if I ever get lazy to travel further afield.