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Homecooked goodness this Father’s Day’s [Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家) Review]

June 15, 2014

I’ve been reading a steady stream of rave reviews of Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家) from the food blogs I follow and the parent bloggers that I know. These folks who’s been to the popular restaurant which has been awarded ‘SPH Best Voted Top 10 Favourite Restaurant’ and serves one of the best Assam fish head have all written about how homely 姑妈’s food tastes and how warm they feel eating at the casual restaurant with their families.

Gu Ma Jia Restaurant

Gu Ma Jia: 45 Tai Thong Crescent Singapore 347866

Their posts here, here, here, here, here, here and here were enough to make me salivate and begin planning for a grand extended family outing since last year.

Of course, the main draw, (besides being guaranteed of great food) was the fact that in our world of exorbitant dining out prices complete with GST and service charge, there would be food that’s affordable and NO service charge and GST.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t make a trip down to Sennett Estate located along Tai Thong Crescent (where I also had many fond memories of turtle soup) for any special occasion this year because my father had a stroke. For months he spent overcoming the trauma and slowly recuperating, first at a hospital and then at a community hospital for rehab. He finally returned home last month and is gradually recovering. However, going places like the doctor’s would often leave him feeling dizzy and unwell which also means he’s pretty much home-bound and going out would be more of a torture for him.

So guess what the wonderful people at Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家) did? If we can’t go to the restaurant, they’d bring the restaurant to us! I am so touched by the lovely gesture of the lady boss (姑妈 herself!) who prepared food to be taken away so my family can have a homely Father’s Day dinner with my dad in the comfort of his home.

So yesterday, I brought these back for my father:

Sumptuous spread

Glorious, sumptuous spread!

The food may not look picture perfect in these takeaway boxes but I can assure you the food tasted awesome. We ate it the moment they were brought back and it was still piping hot, deliciously fresh and delightfully wholesome. There were no traces of MSG, no choking saltiness as with most tzi char and no cloying stickiness from starchy gravy sauces. Even my dad, who always seemed to have no appetite for anything said that he liked what he was eating.

We had the Special Tofu with Lingzhi Mushrooms and Eight Treasures Vegetables, which my kids loved…

Tofu with Mushrooms

Special Tofu with Lingzhi Mushrooms [$12]

Eight Treasures

Eight Treasures [$12/$18/$24]

It was their first time having crispy lotus root slices, and even though with the taking away the lotus slices weren’t so crispy anymore, they ate them all up and saved nothing for the adults. Bah, these kids.

We also had their Chicken with Ginger and Sesame Oil and I was half expecting a typical black and oily 麻油鸡. Only that I was so wrong about what 麻油鸡 is from 姑妈家. It was my favourite dish last evening and I could drink up the gravy-soup till its last drop. The chicken was cooked in thin slices of ginger, black fungus and chinese coriander, together with the most fragrant Chinese wine. Very, very nourishing indeed.

Chicken with Ginger and Sesame Oil

Chicken with Ginger and Sesame Oil [$15/$22/$28]

Two of the most popular dishes with the adults last evening had to be the White Pepper Crab and their acclaimed signature Assam Fish Head. If you’ve not tried them, I think it’s time to add these two items to your food bucket list. I’ve never tasted anything so fresh, so delicious, so addictive.

The White Pepper Crab at 姑妈家 is cooked using only white pepper from Sarawak and tasted gorgeously sweet and fresh.

Spotted: White pepper from Sarawak at the restaurant counter

Spotted: White pepper from Sarawak at the restaurant counter

Why, but of course. I hear 姑妈 heads down to the market every day to pick the best ingredients for her food instead of having them delivered to her by a supplier.

White pepper crab

White pepper crab [seasonal price]

Which also explains why the Assam red snapper head tasted so heavenly because the flesh from the fish was absolutely firm and fresh. The Assam curry packed a punch with a good balance of spicy and sour although with my first slurp I found it too smartingly acidic! But the curry grows on you, and soon you find yourself drowning your grains of rice with every bit of Assam curry like addiction.

Assam fish head curry

Assam fish head curry [$28]

This, last night, was also Dad’s favourite.

It was truly enjoyable to be eating dinner at the comfort of the home with food that didn’t have its quality compromised despite them being taken away. We were all very happily eating last night, and even my cousin who came with her family to visit tasted and raved about the (leftover) food which still tasted fresh and good two hours later.

Two thumbs up for this homely restaurant with good food. What a gem. What a place with heart.

P/S: Happy Father’s Day, Papa! I hope the food made you glad!

Of daughters and grandchildren

Of daughters and grandchildren

My loving mom and dad

My loving mom and dad

Disclosure: We had the privilege of having this meal, with compliments from Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家) for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received from this post and all opinions are my own, with feedback from the rest of the tasters in the family.


PP/S: I’ve linked up with some of the most awesome parenting and food blogs I follow so you can also read their reviews of the restaurant, which include Andy’s Sengkang Babies (the man’s got four kids!), Irene’s Singapore Mom Blogs, Mabel’s Amazingly Still, Estella’s So Oddly DreamlikeSeth Lui, Derrick’s SG Food on Foot and The Domestic Goddess Wannabe, who bakes and cooks and shares some of the most mouthwatering recipes, and whom I have the privilege of being acquainted with. I’m still waiting for her permission to worship her. Yes, Diana? Say yes!

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  • Reply SengkangBabies June 16, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    Wow, you have done a lot of research haha.
    Glad your family enjoy a warm dinner at home 🙂

    cheers, andy

  • Reply Mabel June 15, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    I love their chicken with ginger and sesame oil too! Super Yums!

    I hope your dad feels better and get well soon 🙂

    • Reply MotherKao June 15, 2014 at 11:05 PM

      Thanks, Mabe. I hope so too! I would go back for the chicken anytime! 🙂

  • Reply Diana June 15, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    The people at Gu Ma Jia are simply gorgeous! I am so glad you got to celebrate Father’s Day with excellent food with your father, Elizabeth! I hope he feels better soon – my mom had a stroke a few years ago so I understand what you are going through now. As for worshipping, aiyoh, no need lah. We learn from each other!

    • Reply MotherKao June 15, 2014 at 11:04 PM

      Haha. You don’t know how often I search your blog when I need inspiration and instructions to cook and bake! Thanks for your kind words, Diana! 🙂

      Psst. I will still scream like fangurl when I see you hor.

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