Zi Char dishes are of course timeless and would always bring about feelings of nostalgia and comfort when thinking about them.
However, with the passing of time our local Zi Char dishes have evolved with a influence of flavours and cooking methods from other countries including China and neighboring Malaysia.
KL Delight Seafood is one such example, where you can experience Kuala Lumpur (KL) styled Zi Char at their new location.
Previously located at Balance Delight Coffeeshop at Toa Payoh Lorong 4, they decided to move to an air-conditioned restaurant along Geylang Lorong 27 to provide their customers with a larger more comfortable dining experience, while introducing their KL-inspired Zi Char dishes to more diners.
With a focus on bringing you the most authentic KL seafood experience right here in Singapore, you’ll find delicious recipes created by Malaysian chefs.
The interior is clean with ample space to accommodate groups of different sizes — a choice location for groups of family and friends to come together for celebrations and bonding over a nice seafood feast.
Speaking of a seafood feast, here are some dishes we tried that showcases the unique and different flavours of Kuala Lumpur zi char:
Deep Fried Beancurd with Wasabi Sauce ($12 – Small)
This vibrant dish of deep fried beancurd is dressed with wasabi mayo for that added spicy kick. Fret not, the spice from the wasabi is not overpowering and complements the handmade beancurd really well.
Being self-made, the beancurd texture is outstandingly different. Furthermore, vegetables and meat are added into the mix to enhance the flavour of each bite.
The crisp cereal exterior coating gives a nice crunch, which contrast the slightly firmer croquette-like textured beancurd to provide a nice mouth-feel. I would highly recommend this dish for starters.
Stir Fried Mantis Shrimp ($20 – Small)
This was my first time seeing mantis shrimp served in a zi char restaurant and I couldn’t resist but to quickly dive in to try it for myself. Each shrimp was lightly battered and fried till golden brown before being tossed in fried garlic, dried chilli and spring onions.
As the shrimp is smaller in size, I would recommend eating two or three pieces in each bite in order to fully enjoy the crunchy textures and sweet flavours of this dish.
Steamed Red Grouper in Thai Style with Lime (By weight – $60 per kg)
KL Seafood Delights offers up to 11 cooking styles for their seafood dishes, and this sour-spicy combo is hardly found in other zi char stalls, which really brought out the taste of the fish really well. A pity that the fish we had was slightly over steamed resulting in a flaky flesh and rubbery texture.
Still, the bright, zesty and slight tinge of heat towards the end of each bite is one that you shouldn’t miss out on.
Pro tip: Suck on a slice of lime before eating a piece of fish just for for that added citrus-y burst of freshness that cuts through the taste of the fish.
Haw Sauce Pork Ribs ($13 – Small)
The first bite of the ribs brought me back to my childhood when I spent most of the time snacking on my favourite hawthorn candy slices. I simply couldn’t resist the sweet caramelised and slightly tart flavours of the pork ribs which were evenly glazed with the glossy red haw sauce.
Each bite of meat was tender and slightly chewy showing that the ribs had been cooked to perfection. It was indeed a lip-smacking delicious experience!
Kam Heong Crab (By weight – $68 per kg)
A cooking method founded in Malaysia, Kam Heong which translates to 金香 is a method of frying together bird’s eye chillis, crushed dried shrimp, curry leaves, dark sauce, oyster sauce and various seasoning to produce an aromatic and fragrant dish.
According to the head chef Peter, this dish prepared by KL Seafood Delight even adds in licorice root for that added sweetness to the dish with additional health benefits such as boosting one’s immune system and relieving stress. Hmm…no wonder I found myself feeling slightly less stress after devouring this dish.
The slightly dry, sticky, yet fragrant coating complemented the sweetness of the crab meat, which was a delight to enjoy with the meat still firm and moist even after frying.
Not to worry if you want to try their Crab but find the price too steep, KL Seafood Delight is now having a 2 for $38 crab promotion until 14 October 2016. Each crab weighs around 500g to 600g.
Sea bass cooked in Nonya Style (By weight – $30 per kg)
This fish really stood out more, as compared to the Red Grouper steamed in Thai Style with Lime. Spotting a softer but leaner meat, the sea bass was doused in a sour-ish, sweet and spicy sauce made with assam, red chilli and lemon grass.
Do be careful of the bones though as they can be quite hard to spot with the sauce poured over.
Clams in Dried Chilli ($10 – Small)
The combination of dried chilli, onions and spring onions really accentuate the sweet, juicy flavours of the clams. The sauce which is slightly salty and tangy fuses together with the heat from the mildly spice dried chilli.
In fact, the taste of the sauce kind of reminds me of a less thick version of the gong bao gravy when ordering frog leg. The chewy clams remained juicy and would instantly convert any non-seafood lover into a crustacean fanatic.
Crab stewed in Beehoon (By weight – $68 per kg)
This dish embodies the essence of what a good crab beehoon should taste like. The beehoon was moist and absorbed the pork bone broth in which it was stewed in — it even has pork lard pieces mixed into the beehoon for a richer taste.
You could choose between eating the beehoon on its own, or have it together with the sweet juicy crab flesh as intended by the chef. This was our favorite dish in the restaurant, must try.
Si Chuan Frog Leg ($20 – Small)
The frog legs are stir fried together with Si Chuan peppers, spring onions and garlic to produce an aromatic blend of sweet and spicy flavours. However there were some down sides to this dish as I found certain parts of the frog meat to be a little tough, and would have preferred if the frog legs had absorbed more of the gravy.
Each step of preparing this dish is meticulously thought out — the frog legs are first flash-fried in hot oil to seal in the juices, before it is stirred fried together to marry the two individual components (Si Chuan pepper and frog legs) together.
Stir Fried Green Dragon Vegetables (青龙菜) with Pine Mushroom ($14 – Small)
Green Dragon vegetables are not commonly found among zi char eateries and restaurants in Singapore. I really enjoyed the texture of this dish which is pretty similar to Chinese spinach, perhaps a little crunchier.
Stir fried together with pine mushrooms, garlic and oyster sauce the dish provides a good balance of salty and savoury flavours — a perfect addition to lighten up the palate after all the heavy seafood dishes.
Black Pepper Crab (By weight – $68 per kg)
There would be no better way to end this review then to feature the black pepper crab. This Kuala Lumpur version of the dish, features the Sri Lankan crab coated with a sticky sweet black pepper sauce, sweeter in taste, slightly different from our local version.
An additional sweetness comes from the prawn paste when frying, and the crab meat did not disappoint. The flesh was plump and juicy and definitely finger licking good! However, as a true blue Singaporean, I am still a lover of the spicier version of this dish.
I really enjoyed the KL interpretation of some of our local zi char dishes. Though there were slight hits and misses, I am glad that zi char is constantly evolving and I am really looking forward to other unique and interesting dishes that will be introduced in the future.
Expected Damage – $30 – $50 per pax
If you would like to experience the different styles of crab dishes, KL Delight Seafood is now having a 2 for $38 Crab promotion until 14 October 2016. Each crab weights around 500g to 600g with a minimum order of 1kg. So hurry down now!
*This post was brought to you in partnership with KL Delight Seafood