This container of complex chemical bonds is a sentimental object. Its slow, gradual dissipation of heat to provide warmth in food is a technical feature unachievable by both metal and plastic. Especially the unglazed type, when kept improperly scrapped (hygienic eaters may disagree), it provides a nice taste for the next cooking.
And these are just some of the reasons why we love our claypots. In Chinese eateries, a suggestion of a claypot dish is almost subconsciously mandatory. Claypot tofu, claypot curry, claypot rice, claypot everything. Even abalone tastes better when cooked in claypots.
It's that hearty, warm spoonful of gravy/rice or the explosion of flavours in the soup from the long hours of simmer that makes it so special. Yes, hexamine fuel tablets ensure that the steamed fish comes steamy but the sauce may burn after some time. Solid fuels are rarely heard of, in the case of claypots.
While people of a more pragmatic mindset choose to reflect on the achievements and ways of improving themselves, a current personal reflection has drawn me into realizing that I've been eating quite a number of claypot dishes in the past few months. Adding to the list are Kok Sen's homemade yong tau foo, 2nd Kitchen's garoupa photophores (very Avatar-sounding, right?), watercress with pork ribs soup from Yummy Kitchen and the really oily braised pork belly from Tong Chiang. Let's not forget the seasonal favourite of claypot rice with assorted waxed meat during the lunar new year celebration.
It's perfectly alright to apply claypots for aesthetic purposes but to deliberately state that it's cooked in it as well is to commit a culinary fraud. And it's as common as piracy these days, I'm afraid. A hot dish in a cold claypot sounds wrong, doesn't it?
Yong tau foo at Kok Sen Coffee Shop
Tonkotsu-like, garoupa's photophores soup at 2nd kitchen
Watercress soup with pork ribs at Yummy Claypot
Claypot rice at Yummy Claypot
Claypot rice at Tong Chiang
Very oily and blinding braised pork belly with preserved vegetable at Tong Chiang
On another note, the braised pork (kau yuk or kou rou) bee hoon at Yummy Claypot, though lean, is quite delicious.
Kok Sen Coffee Shop
30A Keong Saik Road
592 Balestier Rd
Tel: (+65) 6254 3676
340 Joo Chiat Road,
Tel: (+65) 63457345
Junction of Serangoon Road & Lavender Street
Tel: (+65) 6296 4456/6296 4228