Review of Fu Lin Bar and Kitchen
Kept tucked away in Telok Ayer is the oddity called Fu Lin Bar and Kitchen. I frequent Telok Ayer and have walked past this discreet shop front countless of times in the evening with the usual bar going crowd occupying its alfresco seats out at the front of the shop. Another boring bar in the city that is no different from any other.
Boy, I was wrong.
My ex colleagues asked to meet up for lunch and one of them suggested we have yong yau foo at Telok Ayer. I was wondering what store in Telok Ayer sells yong tau foo. I went, I saw, I don’t remember.
Turns out it was Fu Lin (yes, that little hole in the wall). The place serves two crowds. By day, it’s a store serving yong tau foo. By night, its a bar:
When I walked in, my eyes had to adjust to the dim lights. It had this cavernous feel to it due to the lighting (it is a bar) and also the difference in temperature (at least a few degrees cooler than the hot weather outside). The decor appears to be red inspired with murals of Chairman Mao and even a small statue of him in the middle of the restaurant.
The place was packed for lunch with a long queue of people waiting for their chance to pick their food.
The price appears to be fair at $5 for 6 pieces and $6 for set (6 pieces + noodles). Each additional piece is $0.80:
The variety of food is quite impressive (equal to if not better than an average yong tau foo stall):
I went with 7 pieces and decided to also order a half pint of draft Asahi (where else can you have draft Asahi with yong tau foo?). The waiting time was short. I waited for approximately 5 minutes before my beeper summoned me to collect my food:
The yong tau foo is served dry having been first fried and then having a generous amount of their specialty gravy ladled over them. The noodles is served with Fu Lin’s own gravy. Their gravy is not too thick somewhere in between a soup and a “thick soup” (or what we Chinese call a 羹).
If you tried the yong tau foo at Hong Leong’s basement before, this is quite similar to that. In terms of taste, Fu Lin’s variant is not as strong and less salty (which I think is attributable to the thickness of the gravy). However, the overall dining experience is better at Fu Lin. The bar vibe is still there and more importantly the selection is wider (wayyyy wider) than its nearest competitor. There is nothing worse than heading down to a store only to see a few bits and pieces left.
If I were to rate Fu Lin, I will give it one star out of three (it is good for its category but not good enough to make a detour or a special trip to have it). So if you are ever in Telok Ayer during lunch, consider popping by for a plate of yong tau foo.
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