keng eng kee seafood, alexandra.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

technically not my first visit to keng eng kee- i went previously when my colleague wanted to treat us to crab. i was in charge of the googling that time, so my search brought us there. we'd made a reservation for a weekday lunch, so even though there were only four of us, we got an air-conditioned table. i remembered the chili crab to be not bad, so when my mum said she wanted crab (what's new), keng eng kee immediately came to mind. my sister called for a saturday night reservation, and was told that if we wanted a table, we'd have to go at 5.30, which frankly speaking, is kind of a weird timing for dinner. way too early for us to have dinner, so we decided to just show up at 6, assuming that it would be alright.

due to unforeseen circumstances, i ended up being the first to reach at 6. the chaos that greeted me at the restaurant (really more of a coffeeshop stall that has taken over the entire coffeeshop space) was alarming. i was really glad we'd made a reservation, because there were groups of people waiting around and queuing for a table. the staff was harried and the entire place was buzzing with activity. i had to wait around for a bit before i was even ushered to the table, and was told that i'd have to order immediately because the food would take about 25 minutes wait, and we had to turn over the table by 7 (!).

so after consulting my sister on the phone, i placed the order. the guy who took my order gave me raised eyebrows when i was almost done ordering, prompting me to ask, is that too much food? he squinted at his notepad, laughed, and said that it would be okay for the five of us if we have good appetites. that sounded about right, so i just went with the order.

the food arrived right on time at about 6.30, but some dishes didn't make their appearance until much later.

i'd wanted to try the mingzhu roll ($12 for six pieces) since the other time i was there, so of course, i ordered it. it was fried taupok stuffed with SALTED EGG YOLK, prawn, ham, mushrooms and parsley, but i could hardly taste the salted egg yolk. it was alright, but not something i'd get again.

for the requisite vegetable fix, i picked the chinese spinach with three eggs ($10), because eggs! to be honest i've never had this dish, though i know it's quite common at zi char places. i liked it, but then again i like most things with eggs. it was comforting, soupy, and best of all, not oily.

our zi char orders never go without the yam basket ($20) if it's available. my dad commented that it's smaller than usual, but i found it to be of an okay size. best of all, it was yummy! i liked how the fried yam basket wasn't too greasy (though that probably prompted me to eat more of it than i really should).

and of course, we had to get the moonlight horfun ($5), which is their signature dish. my parents, who are traditionalists when it comes to chinese food, said that it was a non-traditional version of horfun and expressed concern over the raw yolk perched on top. but then they cleaned out the dish anyway, so... i did remember it to be nicer the previous time i was there, though! much more wok hei, for one.

we ordered several other dishes- fried rice ($4) which my parents liked better than the horfun, cereal prawn ($18) and sweet & sour pork ($10). (didn't bother with pictures because i was too busy stuffing my face.) the food was good though, especially the super crispy cereal prawn- though my sister did get food envy seeing salted egg yolk prawn served at other tables. they even offer an option of deshelled prawns, but i didn't go with that- it's the crackly shell that adds extra texture and flavour.

but of course, the star of the dinner was the chili crab ($65/kg) which, fittingly enough, appeared last. i was too lazy to get my hands dirty (crab is way too much work for too little meat) so i only tasted the sauce. ordered mantous to dip into the sauce, because that's what chili crab is for, isn't it? instead of serving fried ones, they served steamed ones, which my colleagues didn't like previously, because it was way too soft. my family, surprisingly enough, liked the steamed mantous. kind of pricey though- i think they go for $1 each. my mum (who is a crab fiend) and grandmother basically cleaned out the entire crab between the two of them- the rest of us, like me, just aren't that into crab. she commented that the crab was fresh and pretty good, so i'll take her word for it.

of course, given that the crab only appeared at close to 7, we finished our food way after 7. no one came to chase us away (i think they were too busy) so that worked out fine. the bill came up to about $30 per person, which is quite reasonable given that we had crab. weekend dinners are a no-no without prior reservations, though!

keng eng kee seafood
block 124 bukit merah lane 1

reading menus is one of my hobbies.