October 10, 2009

Straightfoward Canto

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Some friends are in town and looking for some simple Cantonese food - they were just glad to be able to eat something other than Singaporean... I took them to the Wanchai branch of the Yixin Restaurant (益新美食館), a place where I've always gone for some simple and straightforward Cantonese dishes.

We had to wait for close to half an hour to get seated, as the previous occupiers of the table were slow in finishing, and the restaurant was short-staffed and slow in cleaning up tables.  We quickly ordered some dishes as we were all pretty hungry.

De-shelled prawns stir-fried with eggs (滑蛋蝦仁) - the prawns at this restaurant have always been pretty big, and there's a certain amount of satisfaction in biting into and chewing on these things.  There's the usual sprinkle of spring onions in the eggs to add some fragrance.  This is one of the dishes I always order here.

Lemon chicken (西檸煎軟雞) - another of the restaurant's signature dishes.  Even though lemon chicken smacks of American Chinese food, they do a really good job here.  The chicken is nicely battered, crunchy to bite into.

Pan-fried meat patties with preserved fish (煎咸魚肉餅) - the captain made a mistake.  I wanted to order the steamed pork patties, which would have been much more tender and succulent.  But I guess the fried version was also OK, although I wish the taste of the preserved fish were more pronounced.

Eggplant and minced meat in claypot (魚香茄子煲) - the skin has been removed from the eggplant, and the mixture of minced pork with other yummy ingredients make this dish easy to go down with some rice.

Choy sum in superior broth (上湯浸菜心) - not bad.

Grouper filet in claypot (斑腩煲) - this was the most expensive dish of the dinner, and also the most disappointing.  I normally wouldn't order this dish as I've had many misses over the years on this one, but the captain recommended it.  First of all it wasn't just pieces of filet... there were plenty of pieces of the grouper's head.  There was the usual mix of spring onion and ginger, but not enough was used and the "fishy" taste of the camouflage grouper was very evident.  I did like the pieces of tofu skin they threw into the claypot.  Oh and a quick check on the WWF website comes up with a recommendation to avoid consuming this overfished species.

This was certainly a lot of food to fill our bellies.  I think we could have done without the grouper claypot, which came out to be over 30% of the bill...  But I still like the food at Yixin overall, and will be sticking to the simple dishes in the future.

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