If you find yourself at Ka-Soh Restaurant, also known as Swee Kee Fish Head Noodle House at College Road, you may find yourself walking back in time.
”Are we at the right place? You sure” As my friend parked with that suspicious look at Alumni Medical Centre (which is near Singapore General Hospital).
We walked into the clubhouse, feeling like it never changed since the 1980s, and found Ka-Soh Restaurant on the furthest right hand side.
Compared to the Amoy Street outlet, the College Road branch felt like a throwback to Chinese restaurants of yesteryears, with simple furniture and old-school tablecloths.
The chain also has 2 outlets in Malaysia and 1 in Indonesia
Ka-Soh has been featured on the Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2016 and 2017, and is one of the few restaurants that can count various celebrities from Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and even the USA as its customers. Perhaps the last point was more relevant in the past.
Some of the signatures include the Sliced Fish Noodle Soup ($7.50++ for a single serving, $24++ for 3-4 persons, $38++ for 5-6 persons), Prawn Paste Chicken ($15.50++), Spare Pork Ribs (18.5++), Deep Fried Frog with Ginger (22++), Sambal Cuttlefish (18++), Beef and Fresh Crab Meat Hor Fun with Black Bean Sauce and Egg (18++), Fried Yam (8++).
The restaurant still cooks its signature Fish Noodle Soup in a traditional style.
The kitchen would first deep fry the snakehead fish bones, cook the stock for hours till it forms a white, almost-milky base. Many fish soup stalls now use the short cut by adding evaporated milk to give that creamy mouth feel, but Ka-Soh still use the labour-intensive way.
The soup is paired with simple ingredients of white rice noodles and crunchy vegetables, and you could taste traces of wine that made it more uplifting.
I was a fan of the soup which wasn’t too intense or ‘fake-tasting’ (as they don’t add evaporated milk), like it was full of natural goodness.
However, I thought that the fish slices could have been thicker and fresher – was it because I usually go during dinner times?
The other highlight of the meal was the Prawn Paste Chicken ($15.50++), better known as Har Cheong Gai.
I would consider the plate I had as one of the top 10 in Singapore, where there was an obvious prawn-paste flavour and aroma. The pieces were deep-fried golden brown and crisp, considered relatively juicy.
Two of my other recommended stir-fried noodles would be the Fish Slices with Tossed Hor Fun and Bean Sprouts or San Lou Hor Fun ($10), and Hor Fun with Dark Sauce Yue Guang He ($9).
The former was a comforting dish of soft rice noodles with crunchy bean sprouts. I also liked that it had sufficient wok hei and not too salty. (Perhaps they were also giving consideration to doctors working in the vicinity?)
Most reviews would comment that Ka-Soh used to taste much better in the past, standard has dropped, and there are other zi char places around Singapore with similar or better quality.
I suspect so as well. With that said, the staff here was helpful (during less busy dinner times) and it is still worth a visit for its Sliced Fish Soup and Prawn Paste Chicken.
Just wondering: Would the millennials of Singapore want to visit a heritage restaurant like Ka-Soh (without parents asking them to)?
Alumni Medical Centre 2 College Road, Singapore 169850
Tel: +65 6473 6686
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30am – 2:30pm, Dinner 5:30pm – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
96 Amoy Street Singapore 069916
Tel: +65 6224 9920
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:45am – 2:30pm, Dinner 5:30pm – 10:45pm