“A slice of Taiwan”
Lee’s Taiwanese brings the popular street culture food in a restaurant setting. And it doesn’t stray too far from the prices either; Lee’s introduces a Taiwanese ala carte buffet in the mighty west. Yes, that’s right it means you can get your hearts desire of 超大鸡排 (Chicken chops), Chicken bites, Sweet potato fries, bubble tea etc.
Red lanterns are strewn across the restaurant. I quite like the whole oriental feel to it but snapping photos was quite tiring with all the red light. The Star Vista outlet has a pretty modern feel to it with the whole place being enclosed in a little capsule. This buffet runs only on weekdays at $16.99++ in the JEM outlet for lunch while the dinner buffet goes at $19.99++ for both the JEM & Star Vista outlet.
Sadly, both outlets are only located in the west. I started off my meal here with some milk tea and grass jelly. Personally, I found it a tad too sweet but I loved the grass jelly that came with it, smooth and silky that just glides down your throat.
Lee’s holds true to genuine Taiwanese street food tradition and only uses pig intestines in its 大腸麵線 mee-sua with pigs intestines ($8). What I like best about the mee sua here is that it comes in a standard blander form – at the end of the day, everyone really has their own preference to the amount of vinegar and pepper they like. However, if you are sure you already want your mee-sua spicier and stronger just raise to the staff to you want more garlic and chili added to your bowl.
The 牛腩麵 beef brisket noodles ($13.80) has a flavorful but wet stock that goes nicely with the thick, flatter noodles for contrast. Do take note that for buffets the servings are scaled down to smaller proportions (unlike that of the photos in this post), Lee’s Taiwanese a la carte buffet works similar to a Nihon Mura style. If you do not wish to participate to the buffet, you are free to dine in separately just ala-carte.
I like how the 滷肉飯 Braised pork over rice ($9.80) here has an appropriate fat-meat ratioe so the dish does not come off too greasy. Just the right amount of pork fat melting in your mouth without that sickly cloy-ing feeling. The owner Fiona pays a great attention to detail; choosing to import pearl rice from Taiwan just for this dish. And that I realized was what really made the braised meat rice here up a notch.
If you prefer something a tad bit healthier, opt for the 台湾雞飯 shredded chicken rice ($7.80) instead. Its more of a Taiwanese take on the chicken rice which I felt was more like a cleaner, drier version of the braised pork rice. I personally quite like this innovative take on the dish.
The 腐皮券 crispy beancurd rolls ($4.80) was pretty good too. A splash of sweet sauce over beancurd skin without all the messy grease. That was my favorite part about Lee’s Taiwanese. I could get all my favorite street food here in Singapore in the comfort of a nice restaurant without all the squeezy crowds and at the same cheap prices too.
Ah of course, the 大雞排 chicken chops ($7.80) and 鹽酥雞 chicken bites ($6.90) are signatures of Taiwanese snacks you have to try. I could have this all day, just sitting down in the restaurant, chilling and catching up with a group of friends. In contrast to the street stalls, including that of Singapore, the no-use MSG policy was very well appreciated.
I didn’t find myself feeling sickly from eating too much of the chicken chop/bites. Moreover, it was very lightly seasoned with just a dash of pepper and a thin layer of fat to enjoy. The sweet potato fries were really popular round the table too. Chunky pieces lightly fried to a tender crisp.
Sadly, desserts are only included as part of the dinner buffet. Those who head during lunch can still enjoy the dessert menu items at a discounted price of $2.80 (u.p. $4.80). Amongst the few items available on the list, I liked the 紅豆芋圓 yam balls in red bean ice best to wash down all the fried food throughout the buffet.
What i like best about Lee’s is that they go out of the way to make sure the food does not come off too jelat while still retaining that Taiwanese street food taste. I could go on sampling the different dishes throughout this entire buffet without feeling myself heating up.
My only gripe is that they offer a rather smaller range of 20+ dishes; I wish they would have other Taiwanese snacks like the 大腸包小腸 (Taiwanese sausage wrapped in Glutinous rice) or smelly tofu to be added but I’m pretty contented stuffing myself with the Fried Chicken for now.
If you find it too much to put yourself through the entire buffet, do remember Lee’s is concurrently open to ala-carte orders with their buffet. Hence, if you happen to have that one specific craving, pop down Star Vista or JEM and pay these guys a visit.
Expected Damage: $18 – $23 per pax