Tag Archives: Taiwan

The Salted Plum, Circular Road


When my friends suggested The Salted Plum for dinner I was afraid it’ll turn out to be one of those exorbitant priced eatery along Boay Quay. Turns out they have a very unique business proposition. All their items are priced at $5, $10 or $15, which doesn’t seem too overly pricey and to be honest, it isn’t.

My friend made a reservation which was a really smart move because not long after it opened for business there was a super long queue.

Smashed Baby Potatoes with Salted Plum Powder, $5.

Great way to start the dinner! Loved that the fried potatoes were not oily and it paired well with the salted plum powder. It comes with a side serving of chilli which I thought was not needed at all. The dish was good on its own.

Haus Fried Rice, $2.

This (and the porridge below) will be your staple for the side dishes, so ration wisely! Don’t finish them in one mouth.

Sweet Potato Congee, $3.

This is a must try. I thought this would be the big grain, watery kind of porridge with chunks of sweet potatoes within but no! Super smooth and gentle on the stomach, great base dish for all the fried and braised meat to come.

Five-Spice BBQ Glazed Squid, $10.

Not quite a fan of squid but I couldn’t stop taking seconds from this dish. The squid was rather well done, so you don’t get that overly rubbery and chewy mouthful.

Mega Lu Rou, $15.

This is also a must try. The meat was well braised and super soft. The proportion of lean meat to fats were also just right.

Hamachi Collar, $15.

Quite an interesting dish to be on the menu. The collar was well fried (again, not oily) and the meat was aplenty.

Mega Fried Chicken, $15.

This plate of fried chicken could do with more seasoning. When I saw fried chicken I immediately thought of the Shilin XXL chicken with lots of powder so I had a little expectation, and indeed I was disappointed with this dish.

Hoisin-Glazed Pork Ribs, $15.

The pork ribs were sous vide! You can be sure that the meat will fall off the bone easily and cleanly.

Steak, $10.

The steak looked good, but taste wise it didn’t meet my expectations. I guess if there was one thing you had to skip, this is it.

Burnt Chilli Chicken, $10.

Not for the faint hearted or light chilli eater, this charred chicken thighs with chilli and coriander is best eaten with the Haus Fried Rice.

Considering how much food there was on the table (I had two meat dishes leftover which I brought home for my lunch the next day), the bill came up to an affordable $120. I thoroughly enjoyed the variety and flavours of the dishes, as did my party of four.

10 Circular Road, S(049366)

+65 6260 0155

Mondays to Saturdays: 1130am to 230pm, 6pm to 930pm

Closed Sundays

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Upot, Singapore Post Centre

Worth a try.

The newly renovated Singpost Centre just opened for business and like any other Singaporean that loves checking a new mall out, I paid a visit on a Saturday evening. 

Taiwan’s famous hotpot chain Upot opened a branch here so without a doubt I had to try it out. When I reached there at 630pm the queue was super long. Likely because they were having a promotion (more details below).

Tip: Make your reservations ahead of time! The kiasu me had already made my reservations earlier in the day. 

The food is served on a conveyor belt. There’s something about clocking up as many plates as you can when dining at a conveyor belt restaurant. Challenge accepted.

The good thing about this place is that you have your own personal hotpot. You can choose your own soup base, and put in whatever items you want. You’re your own chef. 

There are six varieties of soup for you to choose from. Xiaolongkan Old Hotpot ($9.80), Japanese Kombu and Bonito Soup ($7.80), Thai Tom Yam ($7.80), Tomato Soup ($7.80), Taiwanese Herbal Pork Rib Soup ($8.80) and Wild Mushroom Soup ($7.80). 

The food items are classified into different coloured plates. Green ($0.99), Orange ($1.99), Blue ($2.99) and Red ($3.99).

I tried the Tomato Soup. Every pot of soup comes with a bowl of vegetables and mushrooms. I loved my tomato soup. It was so sweet and addictive that I drank as much of the soup as I could. My party of six tried the other soups including Xiaolongkan Old Hotpot, Taiwanese Herbal Pork Rib Soup and Wild Mushroom Soup. No complaints, except for the Xiaolongkan Old Hotpot where there was too much zha within. I also saw a couple of patrons scooping out the zha halfway through their meal. 

While the soups were rather tasty, the food items were a major downer. Essentially, what you see on the conveyor belt is what you get. There’s no universal menu to refer to, so you don’t know what you don’t know unless you ask the staff for it. For example, I had to ask the staff what sort of staples they offered (for info, rice, udon and dong fen). To add on, imagine my regret from stuffing myself silly earlier in the meal with all the meats when the mushrooms and meatballs suddenly appeared at the end. Also, it didn’t occur to me that I had forgotten to ask about fish slices until I had left the place.

The upside of it is that the meat slices are sliced shabu-shabu style so it’s quite shiok to eat. If you visit from now till 11 Nov 17, they are having a 1-for-1 promotion on all red plates (all meats). In my opinion, it’s not that worth it to eat without the promotion. Look at my plate of beef above — 4 to 5 slices for $4? Don’t forget the GST and service charge. 

There’s a charge of $2 if you want the sauces. Honestly, their sauce variety is not anything out of the ordinary so I really can’t reconcile them charging me $2 just to have soya sauce with garlic and spring onions. 

40 plates for a company of 6. The bill came up to $160 (about $26 per person with the promotion. Without the promotion it would have cost about $32 per person). Talking about the plates, this place is way too cramped. It was a challenge to maneuver my space with my pot of soup, cup of drink, bowl of vegetables, bowl of cooked ingredients, and the pile of plates which can’t be cleared because they need to count the number of coloured plates for you to make your payment. One way is to pile them on top of the conveyer. Unglam, but you have no choice.

Definitely not that worth it compared to other steamboat places like Beauty in the Pot and Shi Li Fang. Won’t be back here again, but you could try this out for the novelty. 

10 Eunos Road 8, #01-137/138, S(408600)

+65 6741 6666

Daily: 1130am to 3pm, 530pm to 10pm

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Shi Li Fang, City Square Mall


Edit 21 Dec 17: While I highly recommend the branch at City Square Mall, my friends who visited the Orchard Central branch didn’t have a good experience. Firstly, the staff insisted on selling them the Christmas set, saying that set menus are not available for dinner. I know this to be not true, because I visited Shi Li Fang City Square Mall again recently and could totally purchase the non Christmas set menu. Secondly, the staff didn’t allow them to top up $1.60 for free flow drinks, citing that it’s only for people who purchased the Christmas set. Now again I know this to be not true, because free flow drinks from the set menu costs $0.60. Ala carte free flow drinks costs $1.60. So rightfully my friends should have been able to top up $1.60 for free flow drinks. Instead, the staff kept trying to sell them canned drinks. Shi Li Fang if you don’t get your act right you are going to lose a lot of customers.

Original post below:

It took me a lot of courage to walk into this restaurant. The outlook totally looks like it’s meant for kids and that everything within would be a gimmick. Even the staff puts on a Pikachu cap. Gosh, super hard to take this place seriously.

I finally decided to try Shi Li Fang at City Square because I figured that if they could not only survive for that long but also open branches in places like Orchard and Tanjong Pagar, it shouldn’t be that bad right? Also, I googled and found out that they’re a Taiwanese steamboat chain. That explains the cutesy outlook of this place.

They seem to have a perpetual 50% off all ala carte dishes.

They have set meals which I thought made my life so much easier. One thing about having steamboat is that you’ll want to have a basket full of vegetables or a platter of assorted meat so having to pick out your dishes one by one is a no go for me.

You’re allowed to choose two soup bases. I picked the tonic chicken soup as well as the tomato soup. The pot came with a “pocket” where you can cook your meat without losing them into the big pot of soup. Awesome!

Boutique Set Meal for 2, $46.80 + $1.20 for free flow drinks. 

The set meal consist of Japanese Kurobuta, Japanese Wagyu, fresh pork tenderloin, Australian beef and vegetable platter. I was pleasantly surprised that the meat was fresh (I.e., not frozen) and the quality was really good. My only qualm is that the meat was too thinly sliced.

Little Boutique Set Meal for 2, $35.80 + $1.20 for free flow drinks.

The little boutique set meal consist of chicken, pork and seafood. The prawns were really fresh and the scallops were of satisfactory size. The meat however, wasn’t quite to our liking. The chicken is seasoned with some spicy marinate, and the pork slices were not as delicious as those in the Boutique Set Meal.

Vegetable platter with assortment of vegetables and an egg.

拉面! Which they will pull in front of you sometime halfway through your meal (see below).

Don’t expect it to be pulled into fine strands of noodles. It’s more like a long strand of Mee Hoon Kuey.

Shi Li Fang has a pretty decent sauce counter with the usual condiments.

 Free flow of drinks. Shi Li Fang takes this whole cartoon thing very seriously. Even their drinking cups are kiddish. Mine was minions I think.

Overall, I think Shi Li Fang is worth the money. Granted, it’s not as atas or high standards as Hai Di Lao or Beauty in the Pot, but  it serves as a quick fix for your steamboat crave. The price is very reasonable for the quality you get. The staff aren’t really the most friendly ones around like you see in Taiwan, but that’s a small issue.

And oh, every $38 spent at Shi Li Fang gets you one stamp. The stamps can be accumulated and exchanged for stuffed toys. A giant stuffed toy requires about 10 stamps.

180 Kitchener Road, #02-53/54, City Square Mall, S(208539)

+65 6636 7899

Daily 10am to 10pm

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