Grazing Cheaply at Century Village Eating House in Singapore

07/10/2017
Melvyn Teillol-Foo

Does it have to be Expensive to be Luxury?

You don’t have to be rich
To be my girl
You don’t have to be cool
To rule my world….

When it comes to food, we’ve found on AlphaLuxe that the answer is “Not always”.

We’ve had some amazing, world-class eats at the cheapest dives (Kau Kee) and credit card busters (Petrus) less than 2 miles apart in Hong Kong.

As the true cost of luxury is the choice that it affords, sometimes the rare availability of something is the luxury in itself viz. kopi luwak (yuk!)

Let me take you through a Graze at Century Village Eating House. Even the name is so cheap — ‘eating house’ instead of ‘restaurant’.

Century Village Eating House

Century Village Eating House
3014 Bedok Industrial Park E,
East Bedok #01-2152,
Singapore 489980

Opening Hours: 11:00H – 23:00H

It ain’t the prettiest locale but stay with me and it will get better.

First, you need to book a flight to Singapore…..

Fish Head Steamboat – Unique Selling Point

What the eating house lacks in décor, it makes up for with its star attraction – Authentic Fish Head Steamboat, which it has been serving since 2001.

Fish Head Steamboat

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted the charcoal fired steamboat. Indeed, this is one of the few remaining charcoal steamboat outlets in Singapore. Most places now use gas rings and even electromagnetic induction coils for that dreaded and lame reason: “Health & Safety” . There is a token nod to that here; the steamboat sits in a water bath mainly to protect the table rather than the clients.

The key to the yumminess is the creamy white broth that tells of hours of boiling bones and cartilage. Of course, the Spotted Coral Grouper is very fresh and the yams, tofu, seaweed and cabbage add to the melee but the broth is the ‘secret ingredient’.

Mr Ping

Unlike Po’s adoptive dad Mr Ping in Kung Fu Panda, this secret ingredient soup really exists!

 

Fish Steamboat

We opted for the regular Fish Steamboat because not everyone wants a whole head with eyes staring back at you.

Steamboat

Voted as one of the best Seafood Fish Head Steamboats in Singapore, they have won many awards and titles. They were named King of Kings for the Fish Head Steamboat Category in the local foodie television program ‘Yummy King’, where local cab drivers nominate the top-three Kings and a bus-load of tasters vote for the best after tasting all three in one day.

 

Ngo hiang (Five-spice roll)

Ngo Hiang tofu skin roll at Century Village Eating House

‘Ngo hiang’ also known as ‘lor bak’ is a Chinese Hokkien and Teochew dish served in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Cebú in the Philippines as well as its place of origin in eastern China. It is a composition of pork, vegetables and other ingredients, such as a sausage-like roll consisting of minced pork and prawn, seasoned with five-spice powder after which it is named, rolled inside a beancurd skin and deep-fried. It is usually served with chili sauce or a dark sweet sauce.

Another dying art, I haven’t had great lor bak since my childhood in Penang, where you can see the individual layers of ingredients in cross-section rather than a homogeneous mash. The serving at Century Village is better than most modern outlets in Singapore but below, is the real Penang version.

Lor Bak in Penang

 

Pork Ribs in Stout

Pork Ribs in Stout

Another Signature Dish, these meaty ribs marinated in stout beer and deep-fried are absolutely delicious. The unctuous coating with crispy bits gives way to a tender meat and flavour profile that is moreish. Forget the fish head, I could just eat these all night! Preferably with a cold pint of Guinness.  Okay…maybe two pints!

Guinness stout

 

Deep Fried Tofu in Silky Egg Sauce

Deep Fried Tofu in Silky Egg Sauce

What’s not to like? Crispy fried tofu is silky soft inside for that textural contrast. The whole dish is made decadent by the silky egg white sauce that adds umami goodness that slips down so easily.

For even more “luxury”, you can ask for crab meat in the sauce but that may be too decadent!

Fried tofu with crab sauce

 

Untried Recommendations

I’ve not tried their versions of a couple of Singaporean Classics but they are my usual favourite dishes at such “Stir Fry Eateries”….

Fried Prawns in Salted-Egg Sauce

The yolks of salted duck eggs forms the basis of the sauce. For extra luxury, ask for dishes with Three-Egg sauce, which is chopped chicken egg, salted duck egg and century egg….redolent with umami-ness.

Singapore Black Pepper Crab

Although many countries in S.E. Asia lay claim to inventing the Black Pepper Crab stir fry, the Singaporeans have made it their own by declaring it their National Dish.

 

AlphaLuxe Two-Thumbs Up

On balance, I can recommend this eatery.

It’s hot, hectic and humid but worth it just for the local foodie experience.

 

 

Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)

Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.

Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).