Just look at these yummy chunks of ribeye, seared very quickly with teriyaki sauce. From Ya Kwang Dai Pai Dong in Geylang. Yes, I finally got to go there! This little cze-char place has been blogged about at least three times by ieat and I first saw the ribeye on Keropokman's blog. Run by an affable young chap (Jason), this eatery will whip up all kinds of dishes, some with a nouveau touch or unusual twist.
But back to the ribye. Yes, yes, some pieces were rather large, making it a chewy mouthful. But for the most part, it was tender, juicy and flavourful. The beefy succulence briefly called to mind Aburiya's cubes of yakiniku heaven. We did a "tarpao" (takeaway) so mom at home could try. She, too, pronounced it divine.
Not everything was a hit though. I wanted some fish maw soup but Jason says he doesn't serve two persons as the portion is too big. So we settled for cereal prawns (S$12). When it came, we were a little taken aback. The dish was soaked in oil and had greasy, charred Nestum flakes (?) dumped on top. It tasted oddly chocolatey or coffeelike. Even the garlic bits tasted like they'd been soaked in honey or syrup. Too sweet. Prawns were fresh and succulent though. Pity the execution didn't do them justice.
I have heard raves about the Penang char kway teow, so it was also a must-try. It looks really good, eh? Well, it certainly had good "wok hei" and was a generous portion for S$4. But it still tasted a little too bland for me. I seem to be seeking that elusive tasty version that I had eons ago in Penang and elsewhere, which I'd mistakenly assumed I could easily get again.
But perhaps the chef toned down the saltiness since we were not having rice with our dishes. Oh, the other thing that was missing from the kway teow was fried pork lard. Those crispy bits are essential!
Even though this is a common dish, it seemed to be a "spur-of-the-moment" thing. Halfway through our meal, Jason said he could do a sambal kangkong for us instead of his "usual" sprouts stir-fry. I'm glad we took his revised suggestion, because it was the most intensely flavoured dish for the evening. Wicked sambal sauce, salty and umami. I imagine it would go well with sotong (cuttlefish) too. Heck, it even paired well with the bland kway teow.
Hubby dislikes the Geylang area, so it's rare for us to venture near here to eat. There are still a lot of other dishes I want to try, but looks like I'll need a bigger group for some of them. Interestingly, I saw Jason popping across the road and coming back with a *huge* lobster. I already knew he had a larger group coming in later, from the table reserved. Lucky group, that one!
YA KWANG DAI PAI DONG
709 Geylang Road (Lor 37)
11am to 11pm daily