Thursday, October 2, 2008

Soup Restaurant - Seah Street

Who doesn't know what chicken rice is. Well, that's what soup restaurant is all about, together with their herbal soups. This is a well known chain of restaurants, with branches all over Singapore. I find that the Seah-street branch has more character. Located within a shop house, it offers that 'old school' environment which perfectly matches their cooking style.
Their philosophy is to serve 'Chinatown heritage cuisine', prepared in a traditional way. The Samsui chicken is their signature dish, and their menu narrates the full story of this truly Singaporean dish for those who haven't heard it before.

The steamed peanut snack ($4) is served as you sit at your table, but it's not complimentary. It's very well done, fragrant and soft.

A 'Samsui Ginger Chicken' portion for 4 people costs $26.80. Two layers of juicy, thick chicken chunks are arranged circularly around a large plate with the sauce served in the middle. This dish is not cheap when you consider that you can have chicken rice for a few dollars elsewhere in Singapore, but in my opinion the price is fully justified. The sauce, made from grated ginger and sesame oil, enhances the succulence of the chicken without obfuscating its flavour. You will find yourself dipping those generous chunks of chicken deeper and deeper into this addictive sauce. Lettuce is served on the side, so that you can wrap your seasoned chunks of chicken as you would do at a korean barbecue.

This beautiful 'Teochew olive rice' ($5.80) is a great substitute for your regular chicken rice. Although I disagree with the theory, every health conscious Singaporean will avoid chicken rice as it's notorious for being high in cholesterol. Olive rice doesn't feel oily, it has a very fragrant aroma, it looks beautiful and healthy and it tastes without covering other flavours (like a fried rice would do). It's the perfect combination to enhance your Samsui chicken experience.

The 'steamed San Yu fish slice' ($10.80) has a typical local flavour. Steamed fish slices, served on a bed of soy based sauce and topped with shredded spring onions and chilly. Although I like this dish, it's not what I would go to Soup restaurant for. I have tasted very similar versions of this dish at various other places around Singapore.

There is only one problem with Soup restaurant: that your neighborhood chicken rice stall will no longer taste the same.


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