The Eastern Restaurant – Go Zha Jiang Mian!
Since Beijing is all talk of the town now due to the Olympics, let’s have a look at some familiar Northern Cuisines.
Zha Jiang Mian 炸酱面, otherwise known as meat sauce noodles or ‘Chinese spaghetti’ is a popular noodle dish, though there are many variations. The usual version comes with minced pork stirred fried with fermented beans.
Do you know the style in Beijing can be very different?
Eating Zha Jian Mian at an authentic restaurant there can be as interesting as watching a performance. The waiter would come with a huge tray containing bowls of ingredients ranging from diced garlic, tofu, shallots and yellow soybean paste. After selecting the ingredients (pick ALL if you are indecisive), the serving staff will throw each ingredient into a large bowl of noodles at an amazing speed, along with clanging sounds of the bowls. An eye-popping experience.
Though we have none of this clanging here, you can try a very good bowl of Noodle with Minced Meat & Mushroom in Spicy Sauce ($7.80) at the Eastern Restaurant.
Although it is termed Shanghainese, the selection is the typical noodle, rice and dumplings. The Zha Jiang Mian is one of the best I had, with an abundance of brown sauce over hand-pulled noodles, along with crunchy cool cucumber on the side. While most other versions can have very dry pork or tough noodles, this one comes warm and moist.
The Xiao Long Bao ($4.00 for 4 pieces) doesn’t disappoint as well. As their signature dish, it promises to be succulent with hot juice spurting out once you have a full bite into the dumplings.
Some of the other dishes are a let down though. The appetizer peanuts were cold, hard and tasted past its best. The Yang Zhou Fried Rice ($9.50) was also dry and lacked the fragrance and almost felt like I was eating stale rice.
The aunties were very friendly and made us feel at home, and even offered to change our order of fried rice after we ‘complained’. This restaurant has potential, with some hits and one excellent Zha Jiang Noodles, but is unfortunately chucked at a cold and sorry state of a corner behind an escalator at Centrepoint.
The Eastern Restaurant, Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road Singapore 238843 Tel:+65 6736 2638
Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm (Daily)
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