I never knew exactly how authentic taiwanese food tastes like as I have never been to Taiwan. Some of the taiwanese street food that I had eaten locally were from Wo Ai Tai Mei, Shi Lin Street Snacks and some other taiwanese cafes. When I was younger, I used to patronize Shi Lin Street Snacks because they had a number of outlets conveniently located around my area so I would use Shi Lin's food as a benchmark.
Back to the main highlight of this post - I was glad to have the opportunity to savour authentic taiwanese delights at Lee's Taiwanese. People living at the West can rejoice because you can now head to JEM or Star Vista for affordable and authentic flavours of taiwanese food! The owner, Fiona, played a very good host that night, introducing to us the dishes that we had tried. I could see the intense passion in her eyes as she told us stories about sourcing for the right ingredients and how picky she was to finally settle on them. She is really going the extra mile to serve quality food to her customers!
I had forgotten to bring my camera that day so please pardon these pictures taken from my iphone.
The intention is to produce a similar ambience of a night market in Taiwan and after much thoughts, Fiona got these red chinese lanterns hung up at the ceiling. There is indoor seating and al fresco dining which is surprisingly cooling especially when you dine there at night.
Here at Lee's, we tried a couple of their signature dishes.
The 2 highly recommended drinks are the winter melon tea and the red milk tea. Of course, I picked the red milk tea because I love milk tea!!!
Iced Red Milk Tea with Pearls: $5.80
The black pearls are freshly made everyday to attain that nice chewy texture that is expected of pearls. Because they are homemade, you can rest assure that they are absolutely safe to consume as they do not come from some dubious factory that mass make these bubbles in our bubble teas.
Taiwanese Burger (1pc): $3.80
Love our local version of kong ba bao? You will probably love the Taiwanese version! Pork belly, parsley, pickled vegetables and minced peanuts sandwiched between a delightfully soft white bun. I felt that this could be more moist as the peanuts in it made it drier even though it gave it that added texture. I am not a fan of kong ba bao so I cannot review this without any bias.
Century Egg Tofu: $4.80
I really like the idea of having fish flakes as toppings for the century egg tofu. The fish flakes gave the dish extra flavour and texture and everything complemented each other well. The tofu was so soft and silky that the first bite would leave you wanting for more. The sauce was very rich in flavour too although I'd prefer it to taste lighter.
Salt & Pepper Chicken: $6.90
Thigh meat (instead of breast meat) is used to make the meat more tender. The amount of seasoning was just right and was not overpowering. Even though these were bite-sized, I was able to savour the chicken meat because the batter was very thin. This makes such a great snack!
Sweet Potato Fries: $6.90
I love how thick the sweet potato fries are. They were soft yet not soggy nor oily. These fries are definitely a healthier option to the standard french fries. Plum powder is placed at the side for consumers to dip the fries into. I think I am addicted to the plum powder because I could not stop dipping my fries into it! The slightly sour taste of the powder gave a good balance to the natural sweetness of the fries.
Pork Chop: $8.90
Look at how thin the batter is! The pork chop has a light batter coat so that diners can taste the pork chop fully instead of just eating the "flour and batter". The pork chop was surprisingly moist and tender that I almost got it mixed up with the chicken chop.
Chicken Chop: $8.90
The skin was crisp on the outside and the chicken meat was tender on the inside even though breast meat was used. I really dislike how taiwanese chicken chops sold outside contain so much seasoning and thick batter that it becomes a chore eating it.
Braised Minced Pork Rice: $10
I never liked minced pork rice but this was really good. The original version of this is supposed to contain fatty pork meat but to cater to the health-conscious lot in Singapore, less fatty pork meat and the leaner parts of meat are used. It still tasted as good, if not better (I cannot stand fatty meat!). The pork meat was braised well, making it very flavourful too. One could also tell that the rice they use are not the cheap kind. Every grain of rice was separate on its own with no sticky lumps anywhere. Short grain rice was used which reminded me of the rice that the Japanese used - I love it!!! This is a hot favourite that night.
Taiwanese Beef Noodles: $14
One of my favourites, minus the beef :/ It is such a pity that I do not like cooked beef because the taste is too strong to my liking. I did try a little of the beef (prime cut beef is used for this) and it was very tender and not at all tough. It was of no wonder that the soup broth was so delicious and flavourful after being simmered for 4 hours. Somehow, I am able to tolerate the beef soup even though the beef taste was quite strong for this one. I could easily finish up this bowl of beef noodles (without the beef lol)!
Top-grade flour imported directly from Taiwan is used to make these noodles. The noodles are homemade and had a springy texture. Absolutely delish when you eat it together with a mouthful of the soup!
Pig Intestines & Meat Ball Mee Sua: $10
The reason why there is no Oyster Mee Sua on the menu is because Fiona refuses to compromise on the quality of the ingredients by getting substandard oysters. Furthermore, the really fresh oysters are very expensive, at about $2-$3 per piece. If you are turned off by the sight of pigs intestines (just like me), you can request to change the ingredients to pork balls. The texture of the mee sua was very smooth and the soup tasted very healthy because there are no m.s.g placed in it at all!
Mixed Items Crushed Ice: $8.90
Love green bean? Love red bean? Love yam? Then you're in for a treat with this crushed ice dessert drizzled with brown sugar syrup. Finish off your meal with a cool taiwanese dessert. This is great for sharing but if you have a separate stomach for desserts and you adore taiwanese desserts like this, feel free to finish it all by yourself
Many of the ingredients Lee's Taiwanese use are imported from Taiwan. Fiona stresses a lot about the quality of ingredients into making the food. Prices may be steeper here than elsewhere but you do pay for what you get. There is no compromising on quality of ingredients and standard of food here at Lee's. It is not easy to find eateries which emphasizes so much on their ingredients nowadays since profit-making is usually the priority.
Do give Lee's Taiwanese a try if you're around the vicinity.