Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ba Yu Ren Jia

We like to eat China restaurant food. Not the normal chinese Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew restaurants, but the Sichuan, Beijing restaurants that have been sprouting up in Singapore in recent years.

Having tried most of them in Chinatown (South Bridge Road, New Bridge Road and Smith St), and having read good reviews of this place, we decided to venture here. Lavender. Near Textile Centre. 791, North Bridge Road! I'm not too sure what Ba Yu Ren Jia means, but Babelfish says Ba Yu Ren is Palestinian Chongqing. So Ba Yu Ren Jia means Home of a Palestinian Chongqing person? Dunno man.

We came on a Saturday night. We could see it was quite popular with the China Chinese community. I think we could have been the only table of Singaporeans. Ba Yu Ren Jia offers 2 dining options - $13.80 Mala Steamboat (which we didn't try), and ala carte (which we did).


I had intended to order the cold cucumber appetizer, but it turned out to be stirfried, with sichuan peppers (aka prickly ash) and dried chillies. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but it was ok.

Marinated Chicken Feet

Tangy Chicken Feet with pickled celery, peppers and chillies. Quite hot and tasty, but it was rather tough. Maybe it's supposed to be like that.

Kou Shui Ji (Saliva Chicken, Salivating Chicken, Mouth-watering Chicken)

The first time I had Kou Shui Ji was at Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Pao. It was delicious, and I've been a fan ever since. The Kou Shui Ji at Ba Yu Ren Jia is the best I've ever had. The chicken (and cucumber at the bottom) was covered in a most fragrant, spicy, numbing hot sauce!

Ma Po Tofu

Ma Po Tofu is quite a common dish in Singapore, and it can be found in many restaurants, coffeeshop zi char stalls and is also cooked at home. However, it was only in recent years that I've discovered that the Ma Po Tofu I've grown up to know is not really Ma Po Tofu! Ma Po Tofu is not just tofu in a spicy minced meat sauce. It needs the all essential magic ingredient - Ground Sichuan Pepper. Yum. This Ma Po Tofu is also the best I've ever had.

Tan Tan Mian
After mixing it up, the noodles were covered in a thick peanut sauce. Delicious. Better than the one at Crystal Jade. Also the best I've ever had. I've ordered Tan Tan Mian in different places and very often, it turns out quite differently. It made me google to find out what Tan Tan Mian really is. Wikipedia says peanut sauce in Tan Tan Mian is a modern adaptation, but modern or traditional, it was still damn nice!

Sichuan Beef Noodles
This was good too, but the amount of beef was too stingy. Ok, good but nothing to harp on about.

Total bill: $44.70 for 3 persons, including 2 cups of chinese tea. We were also charged $1 per person for 1 small saucer of sichuan pickle and 1 small saucer of peanuts, and another $1 per person for wet paper towels. Quite a rip off, but ok, at least there's no service charge and GST.
So, it's recommended I'd say. Better than any other Sichuan restaurant we've gone to. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that the chef used to be from the fine Si Chuan Dou Hua restaurant. Go eat!

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