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I ate 4 kings, and then ate like one at Marina South Curry House [Review]

July 2, 2014

I’ve never been a fan of any of those Four Heavenly Kings 四大天王 in the 80’s and 90’s – and I don’t care for them anyway (ok, maybe except for Mr Kwok) – but I ate them all up last week which was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life.

Yes, I did. No lah, not them.

四大天王

I’m talking about this dish that I tasted at Marina South Curry House that knocked my socks off totally.

四大天王 Marina South Curry House Version

四大天王 Marina South Curry House Version

Yep, the restaurant named it ‘The Four Heavenly Kings’, and it’s a vegetable dish stir-fried in the most delicious rempah made of sambal hei bee (dried shrimps) and the best combination of brinjal, lady’s fingers, long beans and petai (stink beans) one can ever taste in this corner of Planet Earth.

Ok, I got too excited and carried away. Anyway. This is how the post should start.

We were invited for a food tasting session and media launch of Marina South Curry House which is located at Amara Shopping Centre at Tras Street (and not at Marina South, though it used to be there before every space we once knew about that place to fly kites became home to Gardens by the Bay!) last weekend to try their Signature Claypot Fish Head Bee Hoon which gained much popularity since its feature on the Taiwanese Food Programme, 美食大三通, and their famous Red Curry Chicken and Salted Egg Chicken Wings.

Our family was all ready for a feast to conclude the June holidays, and so to Marina South Curry House we went…

The restaurant is located 100 Tras Street #03-14. 100AM (or formerly known as Amara Shopping Centre) S079027

The restaurant is located at 100 Tras Street #03-14, 100AM (or formerly known as Amara Shopping Centre) S079027

Where we were greeted with a nostalgic and an old school feel about everything in that place…

Retro in the house, and the music my grandfather and father would love to listen to, playing in the background

Retro in the house, and the music my grandfather and father would love to listen to, playing in the background

Even the kids were given goodie bags that had all the old school games like pick-up sticks, chapteh and sticky ol’ school bubble balloons!

We've been looking high and low for these and couldn't find them! One would have thought these sticks have gone into extinction...

We’ve been looking high and low for these and couldn’t find them! One would have thought these sticks have gone into extinction…

And the Hungry Hungry Hippos game (read about our craze here) we brought to keep the kids busy was one of the things that fit in just right in this place with such a retro feel.

My hungry hippo-boys chomping away marbles while waiting

My hungry hippo-boys chomping away marbles while waiting

We were first served drinks and were told we had to try their Original Buah Long Long Drink. Which was extremely refreshing, and as we would discover later, an excellent complement to the curry dish. We also had their Iced Barley, Iced Sour Plum Calamansi and Iced Sour Plum Lime. Such great thirst quenchers.

The Original Buah Long Long Drink ($3.90); Iced Barley ($3.90); Iced Sour Plum Calamansi ($3.90) and Iced Sour Plum Lime ($3.90)

The Original Buah Long Long Drink ($3.90); Iced Barley ($3.90); Iced Sour Plum Calamansi ($3.90) and Iced Sour Plum Lime ($3.90)

The Signature Claypot Fish Head Bee Hoon took a while to make its arrival (I hear you have to wait for 15 to 20 minutes during peak hours) but when it finally came, it was a tantalising and flavourful broth that tasted of fresh fish. It’s a little different from the milky versions and those with XO I have tasted before. This one tasted light, yet the broth had a kind of thickness that was befitting of a Fish Head Bee Hoon dish.

Signature Fish Head Bee Hoon

Signature Fish Head Bee Hoon in Claypot ($18.90)

I hear that no MSG is used in the cooking process, and the chef uses fresh seabass and simmers the soup for six hours every day.

This dish was Ben’s favourite that evening.

We also had the Luohan Chye, which in my opinion, was pretty normal.

Luohan Chye: tofu, taupok, mushrooms and small bok choy ($9.90)

Luohan Chye: tofu, taupok, mushrooms and small bok choy ($9.90)

The Salted Chicken Wings came piping hot and browned perfectly with salted egg coated on the skins. This dish was a nice change from the usual prawn paste chicken wings we usually have at tzi char stalls. Needless to say, those wings were the most yummy things for the two people in our family who absolutely love savoury, deep fried food. Who else but Becks and Nat.

Salted Chicken Wings ($12.90)

Salted Chicken Wings ($12.90)

Unfortunately, we have no pictures of ourselves licking our fingers to show because, well, we were all too busy eating! Plus, we had oily hands from the chicken wings.

The Red Curry Chicken came boiling in a mini wok and it tasted like there was an explosion of flavours and spices in my mouth. Very, very spicy, so be warned! I can take heat very well but this…

Red Curry Chicken ($6.90)

Red Curry Chicken ($6.90)

This was really HOT!

I requested to try the Yellow Curry and Green Curry for a point of comparison, and concluded, there’s something very special in the Red one that’s making it very spicy. The Yellow one was my favourite among the three and I like the blend of fragrant spices that’s used to make it.

Ooh, more yummy curry in yellow and green

Ooh, more yummy curry in yellow and green

So we were done with the Signature dishes, and I was like, what else is on their menu that I must try? That was when I spotted…

‘The Four Heavenly Kings‘.

The words just stand out! Pity there isn't any description and I had to ask.

The words just stand out! Maybe the grammarphobe in me also noticed that it should be in plural. Pity there wasn’t any description of the dish and I had to ask.

Can I eat them?

My curiosity in this dish proved to be the highlight of my tasting session. Oh, Marina South Curry House, why isn’t this Signature too? It’s TOO GOOD not to be, in my opinion. I know not everyone is a fan of petai, but trust me, when you taste them cooked this way, you’ll be converted!

Four Heavenly Kings: brinjal, petai, lady's fingers and long beans on a plate

Four Heavenly Kings: brinjal, petai, lady’s fingers and long beans on a plate

I also ordered their Sweet and Sour Pork for the kids to try, and they liked it. It wasn’t exactly spectacular; just homely and well-balanced. I didn’t need any more “spectacular” – ‘The Four Heavenly Kings‘ did that for me already.

Sweet and Sour Pork ($8.90)

Sweet and Sour Pork ($8.90)

It was a satisfying dinner indeed.

Marina South Curry House is a good place to go if you’d like some reminiscing of the past with its retro ambience and a taste of classic homely Chinese cooking. It’s called ‘Curry House’ but don’t be fooled; the curries are delightful and so are all the other non-curry dishes which are all made equally with passion and culinary dedication by their experienced chef.

Thank you, Marina South Curry House, for hosting my family for dinner and for such a flavourful end to our June holidays!

The kids and me, we went in Retro, can you see?

The kids and me, we went in Retro, can you see?

Disclosure: We were invited to Marina South Curry House for a food tasting session to bring you this review. No monetary compensation was received for this post, and all opinions here are mine. Calories also mine. Full stomach and expanded waistline too.

 

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