Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sin Huat's Crab Beehoon and Gong Gong

The seafood dinner E and I had with my parents last night was stupendously good, not in a refined classy way like the Japanese kaiseiki or French degustation, but in that belly-rubbing; guilty pleasure; this-surely-can't-be-good-for-me-but-i'm-going-to-do-it-anyway; way. You get the message.

Sin Huat Eating House has got to be the only small coffeeshop that is so famous that it has been featured in both the New York Times and Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour. I had once sampled Chef Danny's famous crab beehoon a few years ago on a Makansutra food tour led by the irrepressible K.F. Seetoh, which left an indelible impression upon me. First-time visitors, please look past that dingy darkened coffeeshop, algae-encrusted fish tanks, take a deep breath, and just plunge right in and order the Crab Beehoon and Gong Gong. That is, if Chef Danny the OMO deigns to come out of the kitchen to take your order. Otherwise, just skulk around and wait patiently for his Highness to notice you. You chose to come here, didn't you?
OMO: One Man Operation

The live Gong Gongs (or sea conches, judging from their shape they are close relatives to escargots), were very large and served simply steamed. This came with the most awesome chilli dip which had a salty and slightly sweetish thick base (it could be some type of bottled seafood sauce), with lots of garlic, chopped spring onions and chilli padi in it. I would try making this myself at home in future.

The star of the show finally made its appearance on our table 45 minutes after we ordered (I am told that this is a relatively short wait). But that wait was not in vain. Two of the hugest Sri Lankan crabs I've ever seen, with every single strand of beehoon lusciously soaked in a superbly umami secret stock. There was more crab than beehoon....ratio was about 2 to 1!! The crabs were so much more sweeter and "crabbier" than your usual Sri Lankan crabs, I seriously have no idea and don't really want to know where this chap gets his supply from. My dad the indifferent and agnostic eater ate with so much more gusto than I've ever seen him eat in his life. I also remember my friend S telling me about the fantabulous frog legs cooked with two bottles of Brand's Chicken Essence but we just had no more room to stuff in more.

look at the amount of leftovers! This is a 20cm wide 10 cm deep claypot!
In fact, the four of us who are very small eaters couldn't finish at least a third of the crab beehoon so it got packed up and made a very indulgent and simply divine Sunday lunch. If possible, this tasted even better sitting overnight. I am not ashamed to say that we practically licked our shells, plates and the pot clean! Sin Huat has got to be the priciest coffeeshop around - the crab beehoon cost us SGD128 and the gong gongs SGD50 - but hey! there are some things that one has gotta try at least once in your lifetime.

Sin Huat Eating House
Geylang Lorong 35
Open only from 6 pm till late

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