Monday, December 17, 2007

Lai Lai Family Restaurant, 20 Liang Seah Street

Lao Lai Family Restaurant
Though it says Lai Lai Family Restaurant, the Chinese name of this Taiwanese eatery actually reads 'Lai Lai braised beef noodles'. And a pretty good braised beef noodles this place did. The specialty of this shop is apparently Taiwanese beef noodles and the service staff here were real Taiwanese. Having never been to Taiwan, I had no idea how it stacked against the original beef noodles from the country but I found myself liking the ones served here. Then again, localisation improves on the original in some instances for me. I'm referring to their lu rou fan, a Taiwanese dish which by name describes 'braised meat rice'. That name is a little misleading because the original dish usually contains just rice drenched in a fragrant braised meat gravy with no meat at all.

The ones here are served with braised pork belly.

Lai Lai has various options for noodle type in their noodles. One gets to choose between Taiwanese noodles, glass noodles, kuey teow and potato noodles. I haven't a clue what are potato noodles,but I would presume that they are made with potato flour. One can opt to top up with beef tendons and additional meat. There's a choice for portion size and whether one prefers the dry or the soup variety.

This was a first visit. We grabbed the small bowl of soup Taiwanese noodles; which were thick noodles with a chewy consistency similar udon. Came in a broth that was spicy and savoury. Which was coincidentally what we were looking for in the recent cool weather. The braised egg in the bowl had mild herbal aroma like the tea eggs. As a whole, the flavours were spicy and clean. I thought it was pretty good.

And this would be the abovementioned lu rou fan. Rice with braised pork belly and its gravy. Would have been one step from close to perfect if there weren't those sprigs of coriander in them but they were easily removed. What I liked about the braised pork belly were the flavour from the stewing and the soft fat. There's the use of the starchier short grain rice which by its own was sweeter. Served hot with these braised pork toppings, it was a "lethal" combination of comfort food.

This was braised intestines. Pretty similar to what one can find from kuey chap stalls. They were served piping hot with texture that was tender and chewy. I'm thinking that these here were way better than what we've had from kuey chap places. Worth a try if you're one for offal. Will get them them again the next time.

Another side dish from the menu was the braised pork ribs. I'm not normally into Chinese herbal stuff but I have to admit that these ribs with easily slurped off the bone meat were pretty tasty. The starchy sauce was unremarkable, I was just glad the herbal part wasn't overpowering.