The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Singaporean @ Hainan Chifan, Tokyo

We were due for a whole-family lunch date last week, and we'd planned to enjoy some Okinawan food at a restaurant in Daimon. When that plan fell through (the restaurant had a notice on their door saying they were shut that day, or something like that, in Japanese), someone suggested walking to the nearby Shiodome, a walk that took about half an hour (that person who came up with that bright idea may have been me, actually). Half an hour is not that long a time, but it is when everyone is starving. In any case, it was good exercise that worked up an appetite for the good meal to follow, and it was a good family bonding time as we all had to talk to each other (mostly about whether to have Indian, Vietnamese or Singaporean at our destination). Apparently half an hour wasn't long enough to decide what was for lunch, because by the time we got to Shiodome City, we still hadn't decided, so we left it to my sister to decide since she hadn't been to any of them yet. Honey chose Singaporean, so it was off to Hainan Chifan. We have eaten at Hainan Chifan a few times before, so we knew which dishes would be good.

The restaurant has a "happy hour" deal which runs during the day time until just before dinner time, where all drinks (alcohol beverages included) are only 300yen each. Honey liked the sound of the Lychee and Grapefruit Cocktail so she ordered one, and Rob and I shared a Singapore Sling because I've never had it before. We shared a plate of Satay to start off the meal, and it includes both chicken and beef. Deliciously peanut-y.

That's Rob's hand sneaking in the bunny ears into the shot:

We got a half order of the restaurant's specialty, Hainanese Chicken, and the black Chai Tau Kueh (stir-fried daikon cake), and these were good as usual. That reminds me, we ought to make chai tau kueh at home again.

We also shared a plate of the Seafood Horfun (stir-fried rice noodles in egg sauce), which came with nice large slices of roast pork and generous servings of prawns. Seems like this dish is different everytime we order it, but they were always pretty good. It was also nice that fresh, not dried, noodles were used in this dish, which does make quite a difference.

Seafood horfun, as it was served, and stirred through:

We couldn't pass up on ordering some Durian Ice Cream and Bubur Pulut Hitam (black glutinous rice with coconut milk) for dessert. The ice cream had lovely chunks of durian pieces in it, and it reminded me that I had bought a log of dodol durian (also known as lempuk durian, made with 88% durian and sugar only!) during our trip to Malaysia in October, and it was still sitting in my pantry waiting to be eaten. The dodol was delicious, but back to the topic at hand - the ice cream was full of the durian flavour and appropriately creamy. The pulut hitam was also good, and its similarity to the Chinese red bean soup is uncanny in spite of the very different ingredients used (rice versus beans).

I wish that Malaysian/Singaporean food is not so expensive and more widely available in Tokyo, so that we can eat it as often as we would in Malaysia.

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