The Soup Restaurant originated in Singapore back in 1991, and its premises on Smith Street (Chinatown) was one of our fave places to enjoy their version of Cantonese-style poached chicken or “pak cham kai” (白切雞). Purportedly prepared the way the ‘samsui’ women of Singapore did from back in the 1930s, the Soup Restaurant’s version was moister, more tender and tastier than *any* Hainanese-style poached chicken we have in Singapore! The minced ginger dip was literally to-die for, and complemented the poached chicken (called Samsui Ginger Chicken here) perfectly.
Note: The ‘samsui’ women were an important feature of early Singapore – they came from the Sanshui district of Guangdong (Canton) Province in China, in addition to Shunde and Dongguan. Known for their red bandana head-covering (they are referred to as ‘紅頭巾’ in Chinese), more than 200,000 of these tough women came to Singapore in the 1930s/40s to work in the construction industry. All remained single as they swore never to marry, and lived in tightly-knit sisterhood communities.
Anyway, I digress - back to the food. The Soup Restaurant in KL opened in January 2012, and I was happy to report that they managed to replicate ALL the dishes perfectly here in KL:
- Samsui Ginger Chicken, which I’d described earlier. A delicious must-order.
- Tofu prawns – this remained another firm favourite of mine as the sauce was *exactly* the same as that for Singapore chilli crabs: spicy, sweet-sour and eggy. The prawns were bouncy fresh, and the egg tofu provided a nice textural contrast. Steamed white rice would be a nice accompaniment.
- Steamed minced pork with salted fish, topped with julienned ginger strips and seasoned with light soysauce. I never miss ordering this whenever I’m at the Soup Restaurant (it’s got 14 outlets throughout Singapore, including Changi Airport’s Terminal 2).
- Sweet potato leaves stir-fried in sambal belachan – the best version of this vegetable dish around!
We also ordered the Teochew olive rice out of curiousity, but found it too oily and salty for our taste. Also, its strong flavors were jarring and did not go down well with the gentle, subtle flavors of the chicken at all, nor the spicy-sweet-sour sauce of the tofu prawns.
Lot G210A Ground Floor
1 Utama Shopping Centre
1 Lebuh Bandar Utama
47800 Petaling Jaya
Tel: +603-7727 2788
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