Armed with winekaki as my sidekick for that day, we visited Uncle Kun's vibrant stall in Toa Payoh Vista Market and from the onset, there was a visible long queue waiting to lap up his delicacies.
Calling Uncle Kun a legend in the food business may just be a bit understated, as I understand he used to head up chef positions in places like Shang Palace and Mouth restaurants.
The man himself was full of energy as he moved effortlessly within the small confinements of his stall. Evidently, he has 6 workers running the place with him, which in itself, is a record of sorts for a hawker place like this.
Bobcat pointed out that going to Uncle Kun's is very much like Russian roulette, as you might not know what you will be getting on the day. For weekedays, Uncle Kun usually serves steamed rice dishes with all sorts of combinations. Weekends, you are more likely to end up with dim sum and Hong Kong style of congee.
Either way, we were excited to finally try out his cooking and being a chef in Chinese fine dining, Uncle Kun is a man with a great palate. And his passion and enthusiasm for food meant that he would only utilise the freshest of ingredients, and provide generous portions of his food.
We were served 4 different types of congee, ranging from cuttlefish, abalone, century egg to my own personal fave, the sliced fish congee. Each congee had a very flavorsome stock and you could tell the rice was beautifully cooked in this base until the texture was creamy smooth.
The sliced fish was also well marinated and seasoned, and the when all the components were combined, the flavors and textures just came together beautifully. This was easily the best bowl of congee I have ever tasted.
The yam cake was equally delightful. Uncle Kun would make the yam mixture every morning around 4am when he starts operating and the result was just simply fantastic. Smooth as butter, the moment a piece of this reaches your mouth, it would simply just melt without much effort.
|Fragrant Parsley Dumplings|
For his dim sum, Bobcat was raving about this parsley dumpling which after having a bite, was fully deserving of the highest accolades. It was not only ginormous, it was full of exploding flavors in the mouth, filled with chinese parsley, shrimp and carrots, amongst other things.
I actually liked the siew mai even more than the parsley dumplings. One look at these lovely darlings, and you will get the idea that this is not your ordinary dim sum. They were not only huge in size, they looked absolutely gorgeous!
Again, the pork meat was flavorsome and well seasoned, and the skin was not hard like most siew mai. Instead, it was soft, yet there was still a significant texture to the bite. This is simply the best siew mai in my book. Again.
|Elongated Glutinous Rice|
But the absolute highlight for me was this plate of unusually shaped elongated glutinous rice, and it was undeniably wondrous in every way imaginable. Where do I begin? From the fantastically cooked rice that had this incredible al dente texture that never once bordered on undercooked, yet retaining a certain finesse.
To the delightful fillings of well seasoned chicken pieces and chinese sausage, and that final touch of salted egg yolk to balance all the flavors out beautifully. If anything, Uncle Kun has just elevated what was once a very common hawker dish to a foremost Singaporean delicacy that should rank as one of the best local dishes to salivate over.
We certainly had a great time tasting and eating at his very humble stall, and the flavors of his cooking certainly could live up to any fine dining restaurant anytime. In fact, the food here would put most of the commercial Chinese eateries to shame.
But despite the excellence of the fare presented here, what was even more enjoyable was the legend himself. Effervescent, jovial and passionate, Uncle Kun was just a bundle of Santa joy waiting to exude to everyone around him.
In fact, we had so much fun conversing with him over his tales of the past, and how he operates his business, to his joy of fishing that we found ourselves literally lost in time. Having retired, Uncle Kun still has the desire to cook for the joy of making his customers happy, which in itself, is both noble and pleasing.
This was one of the most delightful dining experiences that the Silver Chef has ever had, especially when you have Uncle Kun willing to share his joy of food and life with all around the table.
Uncle Kun Delicacies (Gen Shu Mei Shi Shi Jia 根叔美食世家)
Toa Payoh Lorong 4
Block 74 Food Centre #01-03
Written, filmed, edited and directed by Silverchef Productions.
Shot and edited entirely on Apple's Iphone 4 and at Toa Payoh Hub.
No elongated glutinous rice was harmed in the shooting of this video.
"煙花易冷" performed by 周杰倫.