Thankyou so much everyone who wished my blog a happy birthday!! And for wishing me good luck in my exams- which was when I realised I didn’t tell you my exams are over!! Actually they finished last Wednesday =) Which is why I’ve spent this week relaxing and doing the things I want to do…….and ignoring any homework I have =D
So, when I finished my exams last Wednesday, I celebrated with a bit of food and fun at Meidi BBQ house, which I’d been itching to try ever since I first set eyes on this sign advertising a self rotating BBQ. We’d walked past this sign a couple of Saturdays ago, after yum cha at Prince Restaurant, and noticed that this new restaurant had opened and although it wasn’t open (it only opens at night), we could see the individual rotating BBQs inside. There was also a list on the front, advertising all the food it had on offer which seemed like a pretty big selection of both cooked and uncooked food, and even better, for the price of $26.80 (for groups of 4 or more)!
Note: Apologies for the bad quality of photos- my camera battery died within the first 5 minutes so most of these photos were taken on my mum’s phone (and this happens to be my first post using pictures taken with a phone….haha)
After checking the sign again to make sure that it was $26.80, we walk into a pretty busy restaurant, considering that it’s a Wednesday night. The seats are weirdly low, making it terribly diffcult to get up (or maybe it’s just because I’m heavy….haha) and we’ve barely had time to sit down before a tub of hot coal is quickly wheeled out and inserted into the barbecue. With a click of a switch, the chain in the barbecue begins to run- our cue to start barbecuing. After all, there is a two hour time limit.
However, we quickly find that one barbecue, which has space for 13 skewers, isn’t quite enough for four people (at least, in two hours)- it’s better for perhaps two or three people.
The food is very nothern chinese style, which consists of a lot of chillies and strong flavours. My inability to eat spicy foods means I’m not a huge fan of northern chinese food. Fortunately, the food isn’t too hot- even I could eat almost everything.
Whilst the food is happily cooking itself on the barbecue, we try the selection of cooked food. The selection is quite big, and tasty, which is a good thing because we’d never fill ourselves up at the rate that the food was cooking on the barbecue. The chicken stir fry wasn’t anything special, and was a little too salty for our liking.
The broad bean stir fry was one of our favourite hot dishes, perhaps because the flavours weren’t too strong, the fact that we like broad beans and that there were barely any greens in the selection of food.
Clockwise from top left: tea eggs, dumplings, corn, fish fillets in hot chilli oil, bread, eggplant with garlic sauce
And because none of these photos look appealing I’ll just shove them all into one =P
The fish fillets in hot chilli oil, a common chinese dish known for it’s hot-ness because of the chillies, was surprising not hot and had no distinctive taste. Not surprisingly, I stopped after a nibble or two and didn’t bother going back for seconds. The bread was ordinary but we found that if we heated it over the barbecue, it tasted pretty good as the edges would become crisp. The eggplant with garlic sauce was again much too salty and the tea eggs were mostly untouched so we didn’t touch them either. Stir Fried Clam with Chilli
Steaming hot food just brought out of the kitchen never fails to capture my attention at buffets and it’s almost a natural instinct to grab it while it’s hot, no matter what it is. In the case of these stir fried clams, which we notice are steaming as they come out, they were indeed hot, but very disappointing. Compared to the other food on offer, they were relatively flavourless and without looking at the name tag in front of it, I wouldn’t have realised about the chilli- there was barely any. I personally thought they were okay, but more because I like clams and they’re quite different to everything else but they definitely lacked in flavour, and were a bit dry too. My parents didn’t like them said they tasted tasted sand, which is something I can never really taste in seafood…..I’m sorta thankful that I can’t =)
Perhaps the dryness and the flavourless-ness of the clams could have been saved if there was some sort of dipping sauce such as soy sauce, as they have in Korean barbecues. But there were no sauces whatsoever, which was one of the things that we didn’t like about the restaurant. Although the flavours in most of the food were really strong, without any sauce, the barbecued food, in particular, seemed dry. Another thing which could have really used a sauce were these dumplings, which we found tasted best after being reheated on the barbecue- making them so hot that they literally burnt your tongue. And they were delicious too, even if half of them had burnt bottoms. We decided to barbecue the chicken wings on the metal bars instead of on the skewers because the chicken wings were so wide, they wouldn’t turn if there were skewers next to them and so ended up taking up 3 skewer spaces! The chicken wings were quite ordinary, but still delicious.
Northern chinese food wouldn’t be quite complete without a selection of cold foods to balance with the hot food. The simple radish salad, of thin strips of radish and an occasional carrot strip or two, complimented the strong flavours of the strong flavours of the barbecued food quite well. The light, tangy dressing with the simple flavours of radish brought relief not only from the spiciness of some of the food, but also from the saltiness of the barbecued food.
But cold food doesn’t lack in flavour either the cold beef is quite flavoursome and slightly spicy too. The savoury jelly (I don’t know what it’s called in english) is is also a deliciously flavoursome cold dish. It isn’t too salty, which is a relief and being cold, it is again quite a nice accompaniment to the hot, barbecued food. It is quite delicious and we find ourselves eating quite a lot of it, but the jelliness of it, which indicates the amount of fat in there tells us that perhaps, we shouldn’t be eating as much as we do…..
Now…back to the barbecue itself- the most fun part of the night.
There was good selection of foods to barbecue, from wagyu beef (which to me, didn’t taste any different to normal beef….so I’m guessing it isn’t the good quality stuff) to mongolian lamb to chicken wings and prawns. Oh, and there were chicken hearts and intestines too 😉 The meat was cut up into small cubes and skewered so that they would cook quickly.
However, we found the marinades to be much too strong, even for us (we usually like things with stronger flavours than most people like) and left us very very thirsty afterwards. Infact, they were so strong that we often could not tell what we were eating- we lost of track of which skewers were the beef and which were the lamb (and what flavours they were supposed to be)
But, it’s not to say I didn’t like the food. Some of the food was really good- for instance, the shitake mushrooms (yeah, they were on a skewer) which only took a couple of minutes to heat up =] And the chicken satay skewers were delicious too- and a good change from the spicy marinades of the beef and lamb skewers. The prawns were delicious, although we accidently overcooked them a few time, making them difficult to unshell. And they were a pain to get off the stick. We’re not ones who usually go for mussels at buffets but these barbecues mussels were big and delicious- we kept going back for more! The rice cakes were interesting- they tasted more like bread than rice cakes and were very very hard…I think we barbecued them for too long (oops!)
I love trying weird animal parts, so it was not much of a surprise that I went for the pig intestines and the chicken heart =] Which was recieved with groans by my mum who feared that they would make me sick- so we barbecued them for ages…..
Which ended up with them tasting overcooked, but they didn’t taste that great anyway. The chives were a highlight of the meal- somehow, they marinated the chives so that they were very very flavoursome……which probably means that they used a lot of msg or something bad for us but they tasted so good, we didn’t really care =D
To balance the very salty mains, there was dessert! The red bean soup was a little watery, like most red bean soups at restaurants (I like mine thick) and has blobs of both red bean and black rice which gave it a funny texture. Served hot, it wasn’t too bad but it wasn’t exactly my favourite….
A simple sweet soup with ‘snow ear’ fungus and red dates, it tasted surprisingly refreshing and was actually a great ‘drink’ accompanying the salty and spicy food. Yeah- I didn’t actually eat it as a dessert but drank it instead!
In the cold food section, there were these purple and yellow jellies, but which had ‘cucumber’ written in front of them, causing much confusion. We scooped a few out to try whilst we were waiting for the food to cook in the barbecue and they were simple sweet, milk jellies- I couldn’t pinpoint a specific flavour to them. Nevertheless, they were delicious and I would have eaten more, only they didn’t refill them =[
We finally finished the barbecuing, 10 minutes short of the limit, but already stuffed from all that we ate. Counting the skewers (which seemed to be a common activity everyone did), we reached a grand total of 52 skewers which I personally find dissappointing, considering that equals to about 13 skewers each…..haha
But then again, we did eat a lot of the cooked food because the food took a while to barbecue so I guess it’s understandable…..
Tucked up in the corner, away from all the other food was a mysterious little freezer which had the words ‘ice cream’ roughly scribbled on a paper stuck to it. Curious to see, we opened the freezer, which, was no easy feat (the lid was stuck strongly on!) to find a tub of vanilla ice cream along with about 4 unopened ones underneath it (which is how we found out that it was homebrand ice cream..haha) A nice way to end the meal, we ate a couple of scoops of ice cream.
But plain vanilla ice cream can be boring, so to jazz it up, I came up with an idea to pour the red bean dessert over to make red bean ice cream! haha…..
We had some red bean dessert left over, which hadn’t quite completely cooled down yet, but seeing as it was time to go we poured it over anyway to create a delicious red bean ice cream dessert =] Overall, I thought it was a really fun experience, even if the food wasn’t all that great. I’m not sure if I’d go again, but I think it was worth it, just for the experience!