Friday, May 21, 2010
New Lucky Claypot Rice in Clementi
New Lucky Claypot is probably the most famous and popular claypot offering at Clementi. It's been around for 40 years. This is rice cooked from scratch in the claypot over charcoal fire, so there is a minimum 20-30 minute wait when you order (45 mins or more at peak hours). It's a good idea to call and pre-order if you are going for this.
This claypot above (S$20, meant for four persons) is the mixed set claypot. It gives you pretty much all the toppings - chicken, pork and liver sausages (lap cheong), Szechuan preserved vegetables and salted fish. Prices start from S$10 (for two) and go up to S$25 (for five persons).
A group of us (Hairyberry & XLB, Keropokman & Momo, TheHungryCow, Aromacookery and I) had been planning to come here for ages, and finally did after clearing work/study/exam commitments. Oh, the anticipation as you mix the piping hot rice and ingredients. We were a hungry crew! Too bad Ladyironchef double-booked himself and couldn't come.
The smoky aroma when the pot arrives at your table is wonderful. But for all the fond and nostalgic raves by the many fans of this place, we found it just passable on the whole, and we wondered if it had been better in the past. The rice needed more flavour, for one thing. And because there was so much rice, the toppings were a little short. The salted fish, for example, was only prominent in like one out of five bites.
There were some good things about it, for sure. The rice grains were nicely separate and firm, not soggy or hard. The chicken pieces were tender and juicy, and the lap cheong seemed to be good quality stuff. Even the liver sausage (very thinly sliced) went down well with those of us who don't like liver.
It was fun layering thick lashings of dark soy sauce and oil atop the claypot. They give you one large mug of each, so you can indulge as much as you like.
And then, you mix it all up. As you can see, there's a lot of rice, and much of it looks really pale until you've added nearly half a cup of sauce. And along the sides and bottom of the claypot are burnt crispy bits of rice, which I love. These were a little overburnt though.
There are side dishes to go with your claypot. Some healthy blanched greens topped with oyster sauce and fried garlic.
They also serve soups here, like pork rib with lotus, and pork rib with watercress. Both soups had a lot of oil on the surface. Ribs are boiled til tender, but the soup is still on the watery side.
I'm glad I got a chance to try this, but I think I've been spoiled by homecooked claypot - it's quite easy to do and you have much more control over flavour and ingredients.
We had fun nonetheless, chatting for more than three hours. In fact, we were tempted to order more food - there was a Myanmar stall at the same coffee shop that got us curious, but the dishes were not suitable for sharing.
Thank goodness it was a cool evening. Best kind of weather for claypot rice and conversation.
NEW LUCKY CLAYPOT RICE
328 Coffee House
Block 328 Clementi Avenue 2
Tel: +65 6778-7808
Open 12noon-1.30pm; 5pm-9pm
You can click on photo to see signboard text/menu details.