Saturday, August 19, 2006

Tian Tian, Tiong Bahru, Singapore

It's almost routine now to stop by TianTian (239 Outram Rd) on my way back from the airport as I'm usually quite ravenous by then due to my ongoing boycott of airplane food. This place caters to the dinner and supper crowd and opens till late. It's located near some big nightclubs so you get to see a rather interesting mix of people both young (mainly female) and old (mainly male). I usually opt to sit behind in the alley because it feels more hardcore (a la street style) and I also avoid the constant inhalation of exhaust fumes if I sit in the front just by the road.

This place offers quite a variety of live seafoods which consists of a range of shellfish even including geoduck clams. The steamed bamboo clams with garlic is my appetizer of choice. The flesh is steamed just right, developing a certain degree of crunchiness whilst still holding on to a tender texture. I love the sauce they use on this, I'm just a sucker for anything that has oil and roasted garlic.

I swear, this place has one of the best fried rices I've had in Singapore. It has a smokey aroma and each grain is coated with just enough oil to make it smooth without being too oily. This one was a "custom order" of chicken, barbecued Chinese pork (char siew) and salted fish. I love it that they only use beansprouts because I utterly detest frozen veggies such as peas, carrots, corn etc in my friedrice.

Another one from the live seafood selection. These are medium sized oysters, they used to have larger ones but recently seem to have depleted their stock. These can be eaten au naturale but I normally choose the batter and quick fry method because I prefer to eat something steaming hot at night. The sweetness and juiciness of the oyster is totally contained due to the encasing of thin, crunchy batter around it. I normally eat this dish with mayonaise, local chilli (they have a pretty kickass sambal balacan too) or a mixture of the two. Sometimes (depending on the chef?) they sprinkle abit of rock salt on top the oysters and that is enough seasoning for me.

Probably one of the better salt and pepper squids in Singapore. This place uses a hard crunchy batter instead of a lighter, crispier one like the ones you get in Asian restaurants overseas. This dish of theirs has been improving over the years although I still find the batter a tad bit too heavy and they could use larger pieces of squid which would provide slightly more bite.

Tian Tian quite consistently delivers a safe, trialed and tested meal. They have a pretty mean chilli crab and black pepper crab as well which I usually order to go because it's so much more convenient to get messy at home. They're supposedly famous for their steamboat as well but despite patronizing this place for years, I haven't tried it yet. Something about a hot pot of boiling soup in a non-airconditioned environment and 30degC weather doesn't make it seem that appealing. Maybe when Singapore starts snowing.



Anonymous said...

Hmmm..... wonder if this Tian Tian is the same as the one who previously opened at a coffeeshop nearby my house. Their "zi char" is very good and attracted many customers to the coffeeshop.... After they left, business dwindled at the coffeeshop.....

Anonymous said...

Hey I think this is the place just down from No. 3 Crab Delicacy. I tried the steamboat and was not impressed. We ordered 1 or 2 tze char dishes which were quite nice though. Was it expensive?

- cindy

Unknown said...

Goody, another find to try out!