Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ming Kee Live Seafood

Deep-fried eel skin

What I thought would be a typical Chinese surrounding of loud yum sengs and Hokkien pop tunes turned out to be a lavish dinner, complete with Victorian-like chairs and chandelier instead. We had the best table that night, all thanks to one Mr. Chen who made a reservation earlier. I was also informed by fellow diners that the restaurant is a favourite of the current prime minister of Singapore. The table next to ours was reserved for a certain Datuk whom we, the commoners, were eager to see. He was late though, and I assumed that it was due to the crawl at the Johor checkpoint.

All the glitz aside, what I really remembered were the impeccable dishes. Here, in this Chinese restaurant, the emphasis is not on a lengthy menu or designing names of dishes that promise a thousand years of fortune and prosperity...but more of what really matters - fresh “live” seafood, flavourful ingredients and signatures that make customers come back for more. After a few days, we were still talking about some of the outstanding dishes. Let me just say that despite the impressive clientele, service here was equally attentive to all and prices were reasonable too.

They seem to enjoy using garlic here. Be it minced and buttered as a topping for the steamed gigantic bamboo clams or fried and drizzled onto the flower shell clams, every dish screamed for a bowl of white rice. I was told that customers flock here for the dish that’s synonymous with Ming Kee – crab beehoon. The first bite was not much of a tease and some might even find it bland. I call it subtle. With each subsequent slurp, the umami taste progressively unraveled as opposed to MSG-laden type that hits the tastebuds in an instance, leaving the taster screaming for a glass of water. What really did it for me was the fact that they used yellow garlic chive, which is considered a novelty among Chinese restaurants, simply because of the price. Well, it’s still very much cheaper that white winter truffles, of course. I’ve loved it since I was a kid and that lingering, pungent, almost mushroom-y taste is really appetizing. And there was the unfamiliar smoked duck that found itself pairing nicely with a syrupy Guinness stout sauce dressed pork ribs. I would gladly have the duck with some lettuce, mustard and wholemeal bread for breakfast. For the past few months, I lamented on the scarcity of good orh nee (yam paste) after being disappointed by one restaurant’s version after another. That night, I had a good one. Mildly sweet and adequately salty, it was well executed. And how thoughtful of them to perfume the dessert with some fried onion oil! I really liked it.

What’s more fun than incessant talks of food with fellow foodies, only to be interrupted by the serving of some really delectable dishes, may I ask?

Flower shell clams

Relatively larger than the usual type

Crab beehoon

Best eaten with the flesh

Steamed bamboo clams with buttered garlic

Vegetable with tofu

Smoked duck breast

Orh nee

556 Macpherson Road
Singapore 368231
Tel: (+65) 6747 4075

Check out Camemberu’s post for all the dishes we had that night and links to other foodie friends whom were equally satisfied with the food at Ming Kee that night. Thanks for making the reservation and the wine, Mr. Chen.


ciki said...

fwar, so changgih u ate where the PM ate.. erm, then again, sing is so small i think .. a lot of plcs the PM eats at, right? :P
I like cooked garlic too, in my food. can't say i like the raw one.. too much gives me a headache plus cumi won't come near me :P

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

yummmmm...but yes i do c alot of garlic, not overpowering meh?

J said...

Orh nee dessert?
(Oh my, almost sounds wrong! Haha...)

Selba said...

Like food with garlic... I even actually prefer the raw garlic better to bird eyes chili to company my fried food, but it's just not common to eat it like that here, hehehe...

The flower shell clams look so pretty...

~Christine~Leng said...

the more garlic the better! yum yum... ;)

Life for Beginners said...

You had me at "deep-fried eel skin", you did, you did.

Makes me wanna come visit you in Singapore this very moment, bro... :)

Anonymous said...

It was certainly interesting for me to read this blog. Thank author for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to them. I would like to read more on that blog soon.

mimid3vils said...

I think I'm the only one who don't like garlic, i will pick out 1 by 1 when i saw them in my dishes!!

Nic (KHKL) said...

ciki, yeah, u r right la. too much raw garlic gives me headache too. ooohh, and no wonder why girls dont like to come near me la..haha

joe, nope, not overpowering. that's the interesting part. they even use butter to tone down the taste for one of the dishes.

j, ooooo, i never really thought of that! haha. interesting observation!

selba, yeah, sometimes, i would mix raw garlic with steaming hot rice. works for me! :)

Nic (KHKL) said...

christine, agree agree agree! :)

kenny, ahhh, this was the dinner you missed la. we can always do this again. let us know when you coming! :)

anonymous, cool! thanks for visiting. hope you like the blog. :)

mimi, well, i guess i like garlic for both the taste and the health benefit that comes with it. i eat lots of it when i'm down with a cold. :)

Me said...

I loved this post. I landed on your blog when I did an online search, after writing up my own post on seafood. Check it out!

Nic (KHKL) said...

Me, awesome! thanks for visiting. will drop by yours. :D

The Hungry Cow said...

u're most welcomed. :)

it's been months since this dinner but the delicious memories remain so vivid!

Anonymous said...

I was there this evening with my wife and daughter. I went there once and this is my second visit. We ordered 3 dishes which is steam mussel, chilli crab and steam fish.

The issue is that the steam fish has flesh like rubber instead of being silky soft and smooth. I asked the manageress if the fish is frozen, considering that it costs S$40, or live?? She started telling me of fish from fresh water compared to fish from th e sea is different blah blah blah... All rubbish.

This is not the first time I'm eating live fish and also I've eaten frozen fish before. I can tell the difference.

I find that either this restaurant is dishonest or that their quality is bad ot that they can't cook fish well.

Jerry said...

Ming Kee has moved to a spanking new premise at 520 Macpherson Road. The owner Ivan will be doing the cooking himself for now. Don’t miss his marvellous cooking! Call 67445520 for reservations.