Located right next to Forty Hands at East Coast Road, Isshin Machi 一心一町 is the newest addition to the East Coast Plan.
Isshin Machi 一心一町 might sound like the name of a Japanese izakaya at a glance, but in fact, this is a Taiwanese eatery which has strong Taiwan vibes.
There is an extensive menu of more than 80 dishes ranging from Appetisers ($1 – $7.20), Fried dishes ($5.90 – $12), Snacks ($6 – $18), Rice ($7.80 – $13), Soup ($3.90 – $9.90), Noodles ($5 – $13), to Coffee ($3.50 – $6) and Tea ($7.90).
The 70-seater space is considered cosy, beautifully decked with wooden furniture pieces and mural art painted in white and blue, depicting the various iconic places in Taiwan such as the Jiemei (Sister) Lakes (姊妹潭) in Alishan, Taiwan.
I decided to go with their signature bowl of Hakka-style Braised Meat Rice ($9) aka Lu Rou Fan, the must-have iconic dish when in Taiwan.
The bowl came with both fatty and lean strips of braised pork, pickled vegetables, sliced cucumber and a whole braised egg.
Compared to the Lu Rou Fan in Taiwan, the Hakka-style Braised Meat Rice here comes with a more generous amount of braised meat and sauce, drizzled onto the soft and fluffy white pearl rice.
There was an almost-equal ratio of lean to fatty braised meat, which enhanced the chewy sensation whereas the braised sauce leaned towards a viscous texture, with flavours on the robust and savoury side.
A meal is not complete with another iconic dish, the Taiwanese Braised Beef Noodles ($12) with an option to change the usual La Mian to Tainan Guan Miao Noodles which has a similar texture as our Ban Mian.
The beef soup was clear and flavourful, the slices not being overly gamey, whereas the noodles were soft and chewy.
I did wish that the braised beef was less fatty with a higher proportion of meat so that it would not taste that greasy.
On their rice menu, there was a total of 12 rice dishes, including the famous DTF-style Egg Fried Rice ($7.80), Fried Rice with Shrimps & Eggs ($12) or Specially Marinated Pork Chop ($12.30) and Fried Rice with Crispy Chicken Cutlet ($12.90).
The Fried Rice with Specially Marinated Pork Chop ($12.30) came with thin slices of grilled pork well-seasoned with soy sauce and salt.
However, Uncle Roger may not approve of this Fried Rice though, which was unfortunately on the dry and perhaps lacked of seasoning.
Golden Fried Chicken ($6.90) is a common street snack found in Taiwan night markets, usually deep-fried on the spot before sprinkling salt and pepper on it.
The Hakka-style Golden Fried Chicken had a thick and crunchy golden-brown crust, sprinkled with an assortment of dried chilli and salted vegetable.
The texture of the chicken pieces was tender, lightly marinated and not heavily-flavoured.
Words of cautious: eat it while it is hot to enjoy the crisp and crunch (because it somehow lost the crispiness pretty fast).
Isshin Machi also serves a list of Taiwanese drinks such as the globally-recognised Brown Sugar Caramel Pearl Milk Tea ($3.90), Brown Sugar Caramel Milk Tea ($3.20), Taiwanese Roselle Tea ($3), Taiwanese Black Sugar Winter Melon ($3), Assam Milk Tea ($3.20) Sour Plum Juice ($3.80) and Taiwan Shih-Chuan Ready-to-Drink Vinegar ($2.80).
The Brown Sugar Caramel Pearl Milk Tea ($3.90) was on the sweeter side but the pearls were really soft and chewy with a caramelised-sweet aftertaste.
The familiar and nostalgic Taiwanese accent of the service crew, the enthusiastic and heartwarming service and a menu written in both Traditional Chinese characters and English, all of these bits and pieces of my fond memories of Taiwan can be found here.
Isshin Machi will probably be one of my go-to-places to satisfy my cravings for Taiwanese food if I am on the East side of the island.
Isshin Machi 一心一町
224 East Coast Road, Singapore 428921
Opening Hours: 11am – 9.30pm (Mon – Sun)
* Written by Nicholas Tan @stormscape who loves all things [NEW]. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.