Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ah Hoi's Kitchen

Ah Hoi's Kitchen, located at Traders Hotel beside the rooftop swimming pool, is one Chinese restaurant that surprised me when it comes to ambience. Most people will have a misconception that Chinese Restaurants, particularly in hotels, should adopt a Oriental outlook with large Chinese calligraphy paintings, high-backed chairs and wooden tables. Definitely a direct opposite when Ah Hoi is concerned.

Interior of Ah Hoi II

What lies behind the panels of folded door is an adaptation of casual dining. Spacious with high ceiling, giving people a relaxing environment to dine after work. The tables are not arranged closely, making it wheelchair and child friendly. The alfresco dining overlooking the swimming pool, giving a very light-hearted atmosphere. Very similar to what the Line @ Shangri-la got to offer.

Exterior of Ah Hoi III

I don't know how many share the same sentiments as me but I am one that will not spend on Chinese food as it is often overpriced and I would prefer to enjoy similar dishes at home or Cze Char style. This was directly the opposite of what Ah Hoi's Kitchen is trying to portray.

Exterior of Ah Hoi I

According to the F&B manager of Traders Hotel, Ah Hoi aims to provide affordable and good quality Chinese food in a light-hearted atmosphere. That was also why Ah Hoi introduced set lunches to appeal to working crowd, something which Chinese restaurants usually don't offer.

Interior of Ah Hoi I

In addition, the staff Ah Hoi hired are mainly fun-loving and full of drive to provide a more lively environment. Traditional cheongsam or suits are ditched but instead the staff are dressed very casually. As the tiles and the use of iron-wrought tables have lost its appeal over the years, Traders Hotel will revamp this place soon. So, if one is curious how different Ah Hoi is to other Chinese restaurants, it is worthwhile to drop by a visit.

Ah Hoi offers quite a variety of Chinese food, ranging from

  • Starters (e.g. Mango Salad, Satay, Hokkien Popiah priced between $7 to 14),
  • Soups (e.g. Seafood soup, Shark's fin broth, Fish maw broth priced between $6 to 18),
  • Fresh Seafood (e.g. Garoupa fillet, Steamed/Sit-fried Scallops, Steamed Cod fish priced between $23 to 38),
  • Meat dishes (e.g. Grilled pork ribs, Braised Mongolian lamb chops, Stir-fried beef priced between $13 to 18),
  • Vegetables (e.g. Hong Kong Kai Lan, Sambal Kangkong, Mixed vegetables with beancurd in claypot, mostly priced at $8)
  • Noodles/Rice (e.g. Pineapple fried rice, Seafood fried rice with X.O. sauce, Hokkien nooles and Crispy fried vermicelli with seafood in egg broth priced $13 to $17)
  • Of course, not missing out live seafood such as prawns, Sri Lanka crab, Indonesian crab, Lobster, etc.
Also, according to Ah Hoi's senior chef, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong do come by frequently for Ah Hoi's signature crabs and Hokkien Mee.

Crispy fried baby squid in fruit sauce ($8.00++) was the first dish we had and my dad specifically mentioned that the squids were not over-fried, thus was crispy and not tough. The tangy fruit sauce that came with it was mild and not overly sweet.

Crispy fried baby squid in fruit sauce

Hot and sour soup ($8.00++), a classic Szechuan dish has a generous serving of tofu, pork and dried mushrooms. For someone like me who don't take spicy food, this was just right and not overly starchy. Worth a try.

Hot and sour soup

Poached spinach with conpoy and trio egg in superior stock ($11.00++), is a common dish in most Cantonese restaurant but is one of the pricier dish. For $11++, the serving of this dish is worth mentioning and what makes it good was that it was not overloaded with MSG nor extremely salty. However, salted eggs lovers like me will be alittle disappointed as the egg yolks were a tad too hard.

Poached spinach with conpoy and trio egg in superior stock

Steamed cod fish with crispy beancurd crumbs ($38.00++), was my favourite dish of the evening, for its tender and firm fish meat. However, daddy pointed out that the oil is alittle too much but we weren't sure if that came from the fish or the cooking oil from the beancurd crumbs. The most important thing is that the fish is fresh with the bulk of the bones removed. Good for kids and people like me who always end up swallowing fish bones (accidentally).

Steamed cod fish with crispy beancurd crumbs

The star dish of the evening, Chilli Indonesian crabs ($32.00++) (their crabs are also served in black pepper, butter, steamed, stir-fried style) served with deep-fried mantou ($0.80++) was memorable for its size of the crab and the firmness of the meat. The sauce that came with it was not overly sweet nor salty and the mantou that came with this has an extremely crisp skin but not overladen with oil.

Chilli Crab

We were pretty honoured to try one of the dessert creations of Traders Hotel which is not released in the menu, Mango crepe with pudding. This dish was served hot and the crepe was light and fluffy with mangoes cubes wrapped in it. The sweet mangoes complement very well with the mildly flavoured crepe. When eaten together with the curd-like mango pudding, the result was refreshing and extraordinary.

Mango Crepe

It is good that the dishes Ah Hoi offers are pretty up-to-date, in other words, the dishes weren't oily nor overly sweet nor salty but for those who has a liking of strong taste, the dishes might be alittle bland to them.

Traders Hotel, Singapore
1A Cuscaden Road
4F Traders Hotel
Singapore 249716
Tel: 6831 4373


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