I’m on a constant quest to find good Sichuan food
in Singapore. My Sichuan buddies and I have a crazy plan to try all (ok, most) of the Sichuan restaurants in Singapore.
Andrew had read a review by Wong Ah Yoke
on Ba Yu Ren Jia
at North Bridge Road. The Chef-Owner used to work for Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant @ Plaza Parkroyal. It sounded interesting so we decided to give it a try. It’s a good thing we did because this place became our current favourite Sichuan restaurant in Singapore! I am so hooked onto this place that I have eaten there 5 times in the last 4 weeks!
I love the Sichuan Preserved Vegetables (top of the pic, next to the chili) because it has a hint of Sichuan peppercorn flavour, which causes the tongue to tingle.
Here is the plate of appetizers that my Sichuan lunch buddies set aside for me on our first visit. I got held up at work and was late in joining them for lunch. The Sichuan Liang Fen (cold noodle salad) was pretty good as it had an interesting texture and was tossed in a spicy dressing. The Kou Shui Ji (Mouthwatering Chicken @ S$8.90) was delicious! It’s essentially chilled chunks of poached chicken marinated in a spicy Sichuan peppercorn and chili sauce. This is a MUST-TRY as its the best I’ve had so far in Singapore.
Chong Qing Ge Le Shan La Zi Ji (Spicy Fried Chicken) @ S$15.80
The La Zi Ji here is delicious! The deep-fried, bite-sized, juicy morsels of chicken were well-seasoned with Sichuan peppercorns, chili and salt. However, they’re hidden in a mound of dried chili so it’s like playing “hide-and-seek” with piquant chicken bits. We didn’t mind it all as the reward was well worth the effort. It won rave reviews from everyone. HL told me during dinner a week later that she couldn’t stop thinking about this dish. This is a MUST-TRY!
Mapo Tofu @ S$7.80
The Mapo Tofu
had a very starchy gravy which unfortunately lacked the “ma
” (tongue-numbing) component that I love in Sichuan food
. It would have been more enjoyable if it was spicier, had a less starchy gravy and had more ground Sichuan peppercorns.
Sichuan Hui Guo Rou (Twice-Cooked Pork) @ S$11.80
The Hui Guo Rou here is excellent! The pork belly slices were tender and well-coated with the fragrant, rich and spicy sauce. We all gave the thumbs-up for this dish. This is a MUST-TRY!
Ba Yu Shui Zhu Yu ( @S$15.80
If you have a high treshold for pain…oops, I meant chili & Sichuan peppercorns…definitely order the Shui Zhu Yu (loosely translated to mean “water cooked fish”) . It looks intimidating with the amount of dried chili and Sichuan peppercorns on its surface but fret not, the service staff here will help you to remove most of the chili and peppercorns.
Here’s a picture of the dish sans
excessive quantity of Sichuan Peppercorns and Dried Chili. If you’re trying this dish for the first time, drain as much oil as possible from the ingredients. Most of the “heat” is in the chili oil. You can always add a little chili oil to increase the spice factor, treshold-permitting.
Here’s my bowl of fish with potato starch noodles (the dark coloured strips) and cabbage. The fish was very fresh & tender. Andrew didn’t like the soft texture as he prefers a firmer fish but I was very happily chomping away on the dish. The potato starch noodles were an interesting variation which looked unappealing at first. Upon biting into the noodles, we were converts as the noodles had absorbed the flavours of the broth. The Shui Zhu Yu
is definitely a MUST-TRY
!The uninitiated will probably feel like they’ve lost all sensation on their tongues after a few bites of the fish. Don’t worry, after you get over the initial shock, you should be able to taste the sweetness of the fish. Believe it or not, the numbing sensation is addictive. Most of my Sichuan food buddies (I have converted quite a few) tend to crave the numbing sensation that this dish offers.
Ma Yi Shang Shu (Ants Climbing up a Tree) @ S$7.80
This is one of my favourite Sichuan dishes but its next to impossible to find a place in Singapore that serves it. We were lucky that they were willing to dish it up for us even though it wasn’t on the menu.The name of this dish is intriguing. Why would anyone call a stewed mung bean vermicelli with minced pork dish such a name? Sam explained that when one picks up some of the vermicelli with a pair of chopsticks, the minced pork that clings to the threads looked like ants climbing up a tree. Hence the interesting name.Now that we’ve got the strange name out of the way, let’s talk about how it tastes. It was excellent! The threads of vermicelli had been thoroughly infused with rich flavour of the spicy bean paste. It was a perfect complement to a warm bowl of steamed rice. My parents loved this dish so much that we ordered a second plate because we couldn’t get enough of it! This dish is definitely a MUST-TRY
The people running this place are PRCs and so it would help if you can speak some Mandarin. Nonetheless, they have an English menu complete with pictures, so you can point out the dishes that you’d like to order.
Ba Yu Ren Jia
791 North Bridge Road,
Tel: +65 6297-9148 / 9233-5378
Daily: 11.30 am to 3.30am