Friday, 10 October 2014

Lian He Ben Ji Claypot - Chinatown - Singapore, Singapore

Lian He Ben Ji Claypot

Continuing on with my Singapore eats, Lian He Be Ji Claypot was recommended by Miss Chu. She went to Singapore earlier in the year and she found this eatery through a book she bought called, 'Only the Best' by Dr Leslie Tay, which is a guide to Singapore's hawker food. It's a great guide that's not only easy to read but contains drool-worthy photos. Do consider getting this book if you haven't been Singapore before and would like to find out the best places to eat at.

Lian He Be Ji Claypot is located in Chinatown on the second floor of Smith Street Food Centre. I wouldn't have known about this place if Miss Chu didn't recommended it, as there are way too many places to eat in Singapore and pinpointing a good place can be a difficult task. Thanks Miss Chu! After reading some articles on Google, this place is actually very popular with the locals and foodies. Having never tried the fare at this food centre, finding this particular store was not easy as there are rows and rows of food stores in these many aisles. With only the number of the store in hand, we had to go through aisles and luckily we found it in the last aisle. It isn't open for lunch but is open from 4pm weekdays except Thursday's, so do take note.

Like other hawker stores, it's looks simple and minimal from the outside, without an air conditioned environment available. Their main specialty and what they're famous for is the claypot rice, but they also offer a range of soups. It occupies two stores lots, one area is for the claypots and the other is for the soups. You can see the claypots cooking on high temperature charcoal fire stoves when you place your order.

We arrive just a bit after 4pm and there are already people who are waiting for their food at the tables. Claypot rice is usually cooked to order and that takes a fair bit of time as the rice grains need to be thoroughly cooked together with the toppings. Right from when it opens, phones are ringing off the hook as regulars place their orders in advance so they don't have to wait in excess of half an hour for the dish to be ready.

Freshness is guaranteed as they cook everything from scratch. There are three claypot rice options to choose from including mixed rice, sausage rice and chicken rice. These are available in varying sizes from small to very large depending on the number of people in your party. The service lady suggested ordering a large to share if you are in a group, instead of ordering individually as they tend to get extremely busy. Process is simple. Choose a table and place your order, then the food will be brought out once it is done.

We choose a table near the eatery so it can found easily. Bowls and cutlery are brought out along with some shallots and sauce for the claypot rice.

We also ordered two double boiled soups to accompany our meal. These are brought out quicker as they are pre-made and stored in the heating cabinet. Great tasting soups at very reasonable prices. The 'Chicken Leg Peanut Soup (SGD 2.50)' and 'Lotus Root Soup (SGD 2.50)' were both refreshing and reminded me of the soups mum usually makes at home. Comforting and healthy even in the humidity and sweltering heat.

After waiting for 30 minutes or so, our 'Mixed Rice Medium (SGD 12.00)' is brought to our table and it is huge. At the price we paid it was an absolute bargain. Loaded with heaps of rice, marinated chicken and sausage (lap cheong). Then topped with some greens.

The fluffy rice has absorbed the flavours from the chicken, sausage and sauces. So yummy.

 It was steaming hot and had quite a dominant smoky flavour from the charcoal fire which some may not like, but I didn't mind this. For those that like the burnt rice taste, the sides of the pot are nicely charred leaving behind crusty rice.  The crusty exterior is deliciously crispy making it delicious and strangely addictive. The chicken was juicy, firm and tender, marinated to perfection.

Oil and soya sauce was also brought out by the uncle. As we were newbies to this, he said we had to mix it into the rice to give it more flavour. This is a mandatory step or else the rice will be dry.

If you like claypot rice, then do give this place a visit if you are in the area. It's worth the wait as the food is not only very affordable but they use fresh ingredients making it super delicious. Don't except your food to come straight out as a great claypot takes time to cook. I had a massive craving for claypot rice and this certainly made my tummy happy.

Blk 335 Smith Street
Chinatown Complex
Singapore 050335

Phone no: 62272470

Opening Hours
Open Every Day except Thursday
4pm - 11pm