Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Yuet Loy. Amazing Little Canto Zhi Char in Chinatown Complex Food Centre 悦来熟食 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Yuet Loy Cooked Food 悦来熟食 is a well loved little stall #02-151 in the quiet, narrow, outer fringe of the Red Zone of Chinatown Complex Food Centre. It is a hidden gem which celebrity chefs and overseas food critics quietly visit incognito, like their secret hideout which they hide jealousy. It's the nondescript type of stall which one can walk past a hundred times and not know what treasures are inside. That would be such a terrible waste.

I was early (2 hours before opening time) and in time to see stall owner Mr. Fong make his famous Golden Coin Tofu 金錢豆腐.

Mr. Fong pressed bricks of soft tofu through a sift and then gently gathered the paste into balls by hand, much like the way fish balls are made.

Mr. Fong then deep fried the tofu balls one by one meticulously with a pair of chopsticks till they were just the right golden brown colour outside.

The tofu balls were set on a bed of crunchy bean sprouts (taugeh), and doused with a golden brown sauce before serving.

The firmness of the tofu ball was soft like a warm toasted marshmallow. Holding up the tofu ball was almost like picking up a half boiled egg yolk with chopsticks.

The inside was soft and smooth like melted sweet cheese. The crispy browned skin outside had softened a little, with only a slight crisp as it sponged up some of the golden brown sauce.

Talking about the sauce, oh my... to me, it was the most amazing part of this dish. Rich, creamy, with depth of flavour. It had a layered type of savouriness and slight underlying sweetness. It had a umami kick that made my jaw dropped unconsciously, put down my chopsticks and asked myself "What in heaven is this?!" But, I dare not ask Mr. Fong about the ingredients, as I thought it wouldn't be fair to put him on the spot, asking the friendly chef the secrets that gave his sauce such a special taste.

Yuet Loy's Golden Coin Tofu is a Must Try. If you are in Chinatown Complex, whatever you are eating, come to Yuet Loy and get this Golden Coin Tofu as a snack.

$1 per tofu ball. Minimum order 5 balls. Worth every cent. I can eat 10, all by myself.

Fried pork liver (price $11).

Mr. Fong does the fresh pork liver slices perfectly.

Stir fried with stalks of spring onion and slices of ginger the old way, the slices of liver were spongy and full of savoury juices. In the mouth, the liver's gentle spring turned creamy to the bite. The savoury sauce was also marvellous and a perfect match with the savoury liver.

I felt I was eating foie gras (of a different kind, of course) and I get as much pleasure from this.

Lady boss Brenda with the fish head soup (price $10). Fish head soup (and the next dish, fried fish head bee hoon) is available on Monday only by advanced booking by phone 9170 4152. Pro tip: I suggest calling first any day you come because Yuet Loy is always packed with regulars who will call first.

Toman (Snakehead) fish head cut into big bony chunks, fried and then served in a bowl full of fish bone broth.

The yellow golden broth was made by boiling fish bone, no evaporated milk shortcut nonsense.

The soup had a round rich smooth body, depth of savoury flavour, and aroma with subtle underlying fresh fish sweetness. There's also a slight pepperiness from a dash of white pepper.

I enjoyed picking the tender sweet flesh, skin, membrane and cartilage in and around the bones. Takes a bit of effort and time, but this is more fun and tasty than fish fillet 😄

Fried fish head bee hoon (price $18 serves 2).

The wok hei was powerful in this one.

Mr. Fong used thicker and heavier bee hoon (rice vermicelli) for this dish. The type that can take more heat sear punishment from Mr. Fong's hot wok without breaking. The thicker, heavy bee hoon also absorbed more savoury caramelised sauce. The bits of fermented black bean, chili pepper and dash of white pepper added more saltiness and some spicy heat to the taste.

Yuet Loy's bee hoon has more toasty wok hei than any that I have tasted for a long time (surpassing even the fabled, now vanishing san lou "dry" bee hoon 三樓乾米粉 from JB, but that will be another story).

The hot wok also sealed in the juices and sweet flavours in the meaty slices of Toman fish.

Mr. Fong does all the cooking, and is assisted at the front by wife Brenda and daughter Mei Teng.

Mr. Fong learnt the craft magic of old school Cantonese cuisine from his mum who came to Singapore from Shunde, Guangdong. She founded Yuet Loy over sixty years ago operating a mobile stall at Cook Street in Tanjong Pagar. Yuet Loy then went on to Maxwell Market and Hill Street Food Centre, before coming to Chinatown Complex in 1998.

Chinatown still has the kampung spirit. Struck up conversation seconds after Mr. Lee took the seat beside me. We have never met before but soon, we were enjoying conversation, sharing personal stories like old friends.

4-Star (out of 5). Yuet Loy is an amazing little gem. Had a fantastic meal today. I shall be back for their other famous dishes such as beef hor fun and salted fish chicken etc. Do yourself a favour - check out Yuet Loy if you haven't before 😄 (If you have been following my blog, you will know that I normally understate and do not use hyperbole. But, Yuet Loy is really amazing.)

Directory of stalls in the Yellow Zone 👈 click
Directory of stalls in the Green Zone 👈 click
Directory of stalls in the Red Zone 👈 click
Directory of stalls in the Blue Zone 👈 click

Restaurant name: Yuet Loy Cooked Food 悦来熟食
Address: Blk 335, Smith Street #02-151, Chinatown Food Complex, Singapore 050335 (Red Zone)
GPS: 1°16'57.7"N 103°50'34.4"E | 1.282705, 103.842889  
Waze: Chinatown Complex  
Tel: +65 9170 4152 (best to call Mei Teng and book your dishes as Yuet Loy is always full house)
Hours: 12:30pm to 2:00pm | 6:30pm to 9:00pm (Weds & Thurs off)   

Non Halal    

Date visited: 12 Mar 2018

A heartfelt, touching tribute by a Yuet Loy fan. Must read.

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  1. Rayner Ng said on Johor Kaki Blog FB page: "The secret lies in the peanut oil he uses that is from HK"

  2. milky fish soup is the best! wow!


I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't.

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