A simple lunch with friends at Dian Xiao Er 店小二 (Tampines 1)

Dian Xiao Er 店小二 (Tampines 1)

Dian Xiao Er 店小二 is a restaurant chain with 8 outlets located at various shopping malls all over the island, each themed like an ancient (Chinese period) inn that conjures images of Kung Fu movies and novels in olden China (novel or not it's up to you to decide). I’ve passed by this restaurant countless of times, but just never gone into it before. Nevertheless, whatever the reason was, I finally visit this quirky litte ‘inn’ with its Chinese inn-style decorations: circular and squarish red lanterns adorned the ceiling with Chinese-style wooden tables and chairs (to give you the inn feeling), even the waiters were in ‘inn’ style outfits to match the theme.

Dian Xiao Er 店小二 (Tampines 1)
Lanterns
Dian Xiao Er 店小二 (Tampines 1)
Table Setting
Dian Xiao Er 店小二 (Tampines 1)
View from the table
Not having been there before, it was a little overwhelming trying to decide what to eat. Even more so when there are 3 other people who couldn’t decide what to eat! (lol) After some deliberation, we decided on the Abundance Set Meal for 4 which cost S$108, and refillable jasmine tea for four which cost us S$6.40. The total bill (with the peanuts and towels – you can opt to not have them to cut down the price) came to S$138.80. It came with a 'complimentary' voucher for the herbal duck worth S$14.30++, which I thought was a nice gesture, till I looked at the bill properly after we had paid and left, only to realize that we were charged S$2 (more) for it! Though it was our negligence for failing to spot the discrepancy, they should have informed is that the voucher was not complimentary and given us the option to not have it (sneaky tactic!).

Food-wise, the dishes served were palatable for the most part (minus the ‘bitter’ feeling at being ‘cheated’ of an additional S$2). Service was prompt and the waitress who attended to us was fast and efficient. Since R is an advocate against sharksfin, the waitress suggested that we exchange it for a fish maw and crabmeat soup that was closer to the sharkfin’s soup price range (since the price of the set meal doesn’t change choosing a cheaper soup) than the one we originally chose (which was cheaper).

Overall, it was a pleasant experience and I might go back to try out the other dishes… Only this time (if I ever go back), I’ll be looking at the final bill ever more closely and carefully (just to make sure, because you never know what other additionals they might add this time). Ok, enough about the ranting and onto the food:

Abundance Set Meal (rice included)

Ten wonder duck
Ten Wonder Duck – the duck was well marinated and moist, its crispy skin soaking up the flavor of the sauce (which had a mild Chinese herb fragrance to it) that went well with the rice. The duck is the restaurant’s signature dish, so it is a must-try.

Soup
Soup – typical soup of fish maw and crabmeat. The ingredients used were fresh. Other than that it was just normal soup (if you have drunk this type of soup before): it was pleasant and refreshing (with a tinge of vinegar), but nothing out of the ordinary.

Silver Cod Fish
Silver Cod Fish – the fish was fresh, but for 4 persons it could have been thicker (or bigger). Then again, given that it was cod fish, perhaps given the price that was the portion. The cod fish was fried with a little bit of turmeric (I think) and dosed with Dian Xiao Er’s special soy sauce mix. What I like about it was the cod fish was crispy on the outside, yet soft and velvety on the inside.

Lamb meat
Lamb meat – served on a hotplate, the meat come to us literally sizzling hot with smoke to boot! The lamb meat was tender and had none of the strong ‘lamby’ flavor. It was nice with rice, because on its own the sauce was a tad too salty.

Imperial Treasures with Seasonal Vegetables
Imperial Treasures with Seasonal Vegetables – there were mushrooms, pieces of chestnut and pine nuts, celery, and carrots served atop a ‘plate’ of fried ‘fritters’. It was plain and simple, with the fresh vegetables mildly seasoned.

Osmanthus Jelly
Osmanthus Jelly – The dessert that came with the set meal. It was an interesting combination of osmanthus and wolfberry (bits) in jelly. It was mildly sweet and had a complex texture to it with the bits of osmanthus and wolfberry.

Dian Xiao Er 店小二 (Tampines 1)

Website: http://www.dianxiaoer.com.sg/

Address: Tampines 1
10 Tampines Central 1,
#04-07/08, Tampines One,
Singapore 529536

Telephone: 6783 6068

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When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.
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