The next time you are looking for a non-crowded place to bring the family for a good meal during weekends, Far East Square may be your best bet. Located in the very heart of Singapore’s central business district, it is a heritage conservation project with a vibrant mix of restaurants, cafes, and pubs, as well as shops, pushcarts and kiosks.
Although brimming with the lunch time crowd on weekdays, it is an ideal place for families come weekends as parking and restaurant vacancies are relatively a breeze! Did you know that Far East Square is home to almost 30 food and dining outlets? Ranging from authentic Min cuisine from Fuzhou, Cantonese delights as well as specialities from Thailand, Japan, Korea, India, local Singapore flavours to coffee and tea cafes, as well as sandwich, cake and pastry shops, it took a Food Trail for me to realise that Far East Square truly is the place of a delightful palate of exquisite flavours!
First up on our Food Trail was Ju Chun Yuan, a century-old Chinese restaurant that serves up an extensive Min cuisine from Fuzhou. All the dishes are freshly made and come piping hot, featuring different types of Fuzhou dishes.
The stand-alone restaurant is situated in what was once the Chui Eng Free School, established in 1854, and one of the first Chinese free schools to provide free education to the poor.
Since it was close to Chinese New Year when we visited the restaurant, there was no way we - or the monkies - were going to pass up the chance for a good lohei session.
The Ju Chun Yuan Salmon Yu Sheng Platter was not only pretty to look at, it was one of the best yusheng I have ever tasted. Not overly sweet, it was a delightful mix of freshness and crunchiness -all rolled into one.
After an appetizing start, we delved right into the main dishes and the Wok-fried Prawns with Chef Recipe Sauce did not disappoint.
Huge, juicy and succulent, the prawns were well complemented by the recipe sauce. But if there was one dish that earned the right as the best dish in the eyes of my monkies, it would have to be this.
Okay, so food blogger I am not but the Fuzhou Style Steamed Soon Hock Fish definitely tasted way much better than the photo depicts. Extremely fresh, this fish had the monkies begging for second, third and fourth helpings!
A personal favourite of mine was the Golden Crispy Chicken with Deep-fried Garlic & ‘Hua Yan’ Salt. At first bite, I was hit by the aroma of the little crackly bits of garlic amongst the crunchy skin of the chicken. Let's just say I did not stop at one.
For something a little lighter, the Wok-fried Vegetables with Black Fungus & Gingko Nuts was a refreshing change.
And since Ju Chun Yuan is famed for its Fuzhou dishes, it would be criminal if we did not sample some of its Fuzhou Street Food, such as Pan Fried Pork Bun, Yam & Pork Cake, Red Glutinous Cake, White Glutinous Cake and Pork Skin Dumpling Soup.
Housed within AMOY Hotel, JIN Fine Dining is helmed by one of Singapore’s pioneers of Japanese food, Thomas Kok who prides his food on the use of fresh quality ingredients along with skillful technique and creativity. And my, it clearly showed in the dishes we sampled.
The Hokkaido Snow Beef with Hokkaido Rice was simply put, delicious! The marbled beef slices were very well-marinated, and the rice - which was specially flown in from Hokkaido I was told - was spectacular. After so many years of eating rice, I frankly did not expect rice to be capable of tasting so good.
It was a tough fight though, when the Signature Bara Chirashi with Hokkaido Rice found its way onto our table. The fish were undoubtedly fresh, which came in generous portions of huge chunks and hid the rice! Again, the rice was delicious and flavourful, and had bits of pickles which gave it an interesting texture.
The Ikura Chawamushi was unlike the usual run-of-the-mill chawamushi that the monkies are familiar with. For one, the ikura (or salmon roe) is specially imported from Hokkaido as they are not too salty. Well, it turned out that the ikura provided the perfect complement to the comforting taste of the steamed egg.
Just when I thought that nothing could absolutely top our meal, this came along.
The Saga Beef Amiyaki ihad all of us fighting over every single piece. Beef from Saga - located on northwest part of Kyushu island - comes from cattle that are free from stress and fed on special compound feed of corn, wheat and barley. To ensure the best beef, they are slaughtered only when they are generally 30 months old. And the quality of the beef clearly showed, which melted effortlessly when placed into our mouths. A definite must-try if you are dining there!
With only two restaurants conquered during the Food Trail, this means that we will certainly be back to try out other dining options at Far East Square in the next few months. So do stay tuned for more of the monkies' gorging adventures!
CONGRATULATIONS to NEO CATHERINE & LYNNE LEE!
You have each won a $50 Far East Square Dining Voucher! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for prize collection details. Thanks to everyone who participated!
Ju Chun Yuan
130/132 Amoy Street, #01-01
Opening Hours 11.30am to 3.00pm & 6.30pm to 9.30pm (Mon to Fri), 10.00am to 3.00pm & 6.30pm to 9.30pm (Sat, Sun & Public Holidays)
JIN Fine Dining
01-02 Far East Square, 74 Telok Ayer St, Amoy Hotel, Singapore 048464
Opening hours: 7am to 10am; 10.30am to 2.30pm; 6pm to 10pm