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Kew Gardens and Restaurant @ Tan Boon Liat Building

12:00 PM , 0 Comments

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I'm not sure when was the last time I dined at a Hakka restaurant, even. Thanks to Fave by Groupon, the decision to check out Kew Gardens inspite of the not so stellar reviews online was made easier. Being a cantonese, little is really known about Hakka food except the usual suspects of abacus seeds and soon kueh. For sure I've patronized hawkers that do decent Hakka food, but I have not found a Hakka restaurant I'd revisit...plus, there are just so few of them doing good Hakka food!

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Anyhow, I was greeted by tables of chinese tourists at Kew Garden over a weekday lunch. It was such a chop chop curry pok affair, the moment the guests took to their seats, food was served in automated fashion, rice was served in baskets and within the 45 minutes we were there, we witnessed three seatings happen.

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The menu is straightforward, Hakka dishes and chinese dishes to the likes of dumplings, soup noodles and glutinous rice balls. It is easy to be misled into thinking Kew Gardens is just another zichar restaurant.

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I wonder how these cup noodles are utilized. 

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Hakka Abacus ($10)

These flour dumplings are served with gravy, topped with fried shallots, minced meat and mushrooms, which are really different from the usual abacus seeds I have tried. Mostly made of flour, which explains the very loose consistency, I thought this was tasty but definitely not authentic. 

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Steam "He Ye Bao" ($3.20)

Otherwise called kong bak pau, these were steamed too soft, and soggy to some extent. 

Hakka Mei Cai with Pork Belly ($12)

Clearly made ahead of time, this was barely salty and a rather average pork belly preserved vegetable dish. The strange thing is, my mom does a meaner version of this and she's not even Hakka. 

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Deep Fried Hakka Yong Tau Foo ($8)

Now this, was a dish worth returning for. The meat paste was a combination of dried flat fish and minced pork instead of the usual minced meat only. Very fragrant and tasty, infact I thought this was the best of Kew Gardens.

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Hakka Noodles 


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At first glance, this reminded me of bak chor mee. And fair enough, it was close to the real deal except there weren't any al dente noodles, fried flat fish nor dashes of vinegar and would qualify as a bak chor mee anyway, with the generous serving of minced meat, mushrooms and shanghai greens. It made me wonder if bak chor mee was Hakka by origin?

It could have been a case of brand being sold off, hence the mixture of dishes on the menu which is a huge pity because I am sure back in its heydays, Kew Gardens must have been quite something to the Hakka community. 

Kew Garden Restaurant
315 Outram Road #02-313
Tan Boon Liat Building

A foodie born to eat, shop and travel. Forced to work.

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