Confirm plus chop worth a try (Sorry can’t help with the pun and also chance to show case Singlish)
I decided to tag along with my colleagues for lunch and we headed down to Amoy Street Food Centre. For my foreign readers, Amoy Street Food Centre together with Maxwell Food Centre (about 500m or 550 yards away from each other) offer a trove of awesome eats for those who brave the heat to eat at these non-air conditioned venues.
As I normally frequent Maxwell Food Centre and not Amoy Street Food Centre, I did not have any specific stall in mind when heading over for my lunch. Instead, I decided to just see what little treasures I could unearth from my unexpected visit.
Amoy Street Food Centre is spread over two floors. The ground floor has both halal food and also non-halal food. The second floor is non-halal. As my Chinese colleagues were aiming for some fish soup stall on the second floor, we made our way up in the search for some apparently good fish soup.
While I never got to try that fish soup as the queue was surprisingly long even though it was already 1.40pm in the afternoon, I assume it is good and you can try it if you are there (just find the fish soup stall with the longest queue).
Instead, we instead deeper into the complex and something caught my eye. I saw the words “Chop Chop”. The image of a pig. And the words “Biryani and meats”. What an odd combination. Biryani is an Indian dish and typically is halal to cater to the Indian muslims. So it is very interesting to see it being served with what potentially could be pork:
When I got closer, it is clear that my assumptions were right. Its some Indian-Chinese fusion food stall serving traditional Chinese Roast Pork with Biryani and also other variants:
As it was my first time there, I asked the young guy over the counter what’s good. I got an unexpected answer from them. They apparently sold out on all their dishes except for their roast pork. I went along and ordered my Biryani with roast pork.
Out of curiousity, I asked them what were their best sellers and it was according to them their roast pork (yay!) and also their masala pork (another interesting combination). I commented that their dishes involve very unique combinations. To which, they politely thanked me and added that they were still trying out these combinations having just opened 6 weeks earlier. Really awesome stuff to try something new.
Okay back to the overall presentation of the dish. Other than roast pork and Biryani, the dish is normally served with some cabbage, salsa, papadum and also a 5 minute soft boiled egg (reminds me of the flavoured japanese soft boiled eggs). They offered to let me have a taste of their squid version of the dish by scooping a generous serving of their leftover gravy over my rice. As it was late in the day, they had ran out of the cabbage and offered to replace it with more salsa:
Many photos later (definitely more than the photo above), I tucked into my food.
The Biryani is average or slightly above average. I think there are two ways of preparing Biryani. One way is to have the taste of the spice infused into the rice. So while the rice appears to be plain (i.e. you can see the rice grain as is) the rice is packed with the fragrance of the spices. The other way is to load more spice and the rice grain is coated with more spice than the former method. Chop Chop’s approach to this Indian classic involves the latter technique. While I prefer the more subtle approach, their variant is decent.
The game changer I think is the combination of flavours. I have never ate roast pork with Biryani before. The slight fattiness of the pork provided a different perspective to the Indian classic.
And just before the fattiness and the strong flavours of the Biryani spices overpower the palate, you balance it off with a spoonful of salsa. In a split second, you are brought from continental India over the mountains of Tibet into Southern China before crossing over the Pacific into Central America. You get the freshness of the vegetables from the Salsa and also the refreshing taste of what appeared to me to be coriander. Then the pineapples strike you and adding a tropical twist to what is already an awesome Mexian salsa dip.
Then you have the papadum. The colour of their papadum is somewhat darker and more orangey in colour compared with the others found outside. I found their papadums taste better than most. Another +1 for me.
Just as I was overwhelmed by the flavours, I suddenly remembered I still have that soft boiled egg on my plate. I decided to cut it open with my spoon so as to extract that golden goodness over my Biryani. And the horror happened. It squirted and the yolk splattered across the table towards my unsuspecting colleague. Haha. Another testimony of a perfectly done soft boiled egg:
No, I did not forget about the squid gravy (for my lawyer friends, I still remember my Chekhov’s gun):
I had asked what this gravy was made from. The owner / guy at the store said (in somewhat imperfect cantonese or what could have been anglicised pronunciation of the words “金香” (Golden Fragrance). While I had no idea what this meant, further research revealed that it “is a signature Malaysian stir-fry style that is renowned for the fragrance imparted during the cooking process, hence the Cantonese term “Kam Heong (金香)”, which means “Golden Fragrance”.” It “incorporates ingredients from Malay, Chinese, and Indian cooking” and the “main ingredients that give the “Kam Heong” dish its unique taste are fiery bird’s eye chilies, aromatic curry leaves, crispy bits of dried shrimp, savory curry powder and soy bean paste”. True to my research, I remembered munching into bits of dried shrimp when tasting it. While the taste is good, I don’t remember this as well as I did for the rest of the meal. Partly because of the strong flavours of the Biryani which I believe would mask the flavours of the 金香.
I would give it at least a one star (good for its category) out of three. Maybe another half star as I think it may be worth a detour to try it. It was definitely worth it given its affordable price and unique flavours. Confirm plus chop must try.
For more information, please visit their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chopchopamoystreefc/
Why not pop by Amoy and support them?
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