Abundance: Taiwanese cafe under a HDB with DTF-style fried rice and popiah coriander ice cream
The last country that I travelled to pre-pandemic was Taiwan, back in early 2020. Taiwan is what I would consider to be a food haven, with dishes and street food that would satisfy all sorts of tastebuds. With travelling becoming less convenient in recent times, I decided to turn to Abundance for my fix of Taiwanese fare.
Abundance is a restaurant-bar located at the base of a HDB block in Redhill. Since its conception in 2021, the restaurant has seen an unfaltering explosion in popularity, with an abundance of customers (hahaha) lining up for a taste of its dishes. On weekends and during peak hours, you may spot long queues snaking out of this quaint and cosy eatery.
Aside from serving Taiwanese dishes, Abundance also offers a range of alcoholic beverages, including beer and even a wasabi cocktail!
What I tried at Abundance
The first dish we tried at Abundance was the Beef Noodles (S$16.90), served with fresh noodles, braised beef meat and beef broth.
The noodles were firm and springy with a chewy texture, and tasted very different from regular store-bought noodles. I enjoyed how thick each strand of noodle was, and we could tell that the noodles were home-made.
The pieces of beef were incredibly tender and fell apart easily. The beef was flavourful and rich with a good ratio of meat to fat.
The soup was easily the star of the Beef Noodles, as it had a rich and full-bodied umami-ness and a strong meaty taste. The generous addition of spring onions also added another dimension of flavour to the soup.
Though the price is steep, Abundance’s Beef Noodles reminded me of being back in Taiwan with its full-bodied, robust and authentic taste.
Next, we had the Niu Yolk Fried Rice (S$19), made with beef short ribs, an onsen egg, beef fat and truffle. Visually, the presentation of this dish was absolutely stunning.
The beef short ribs were tender and fragrant with a melt-in-the-mouth quality to them. They were smoky in flavour with just the right amount of sweetness, and the onsen egg was soft and runny, making the fried rice a little creamier.
The fried rice itself was fluffy and not too oily. It didn’t have the strongest wokhei aroma, but it reminded me heavily of Din Tai Fung’s famous fried rice, with a liberal addition of fried egg and spring onions to enhance its flavour. I could also taste a whiff of truffle, which added another layer of fragrance to the dish without being too overwhelming.
One of the dishes that drew me to Abundance to begin with was the Gua Bao (S$7.90), filled with braised pork belly, hand-roasted peanuts, pickles and coriander. The thiccc fillings made this Gua Bao a gorgeous sight to behold.
I was instantly blown away by the flavours of the Gua Bao from the moment that I bit into it. The thick slab of pork belly was incredibly tender, and as someone who usually dislikes overly fatty meat, I found that the fat portions on the pork belly melted in my mouth and were incredibly delicious.
The pickles, roasted peanuts and sweet sauce added sweet and mildly sour elements to the dish and complemented the meat well. The bao was also soft and fluffy, and acted as the perfect base for the ingredients.
I’d certainly return for this Gua Bao again!
A dish that I found the most interesting was the Golden Egg (S$7), consisting of century egg wrapped in fried dumpling skin, topped with bonito flakes and sweet & spicy sauce. I’ve only ever really had century egg in porridge, so seeing it wrapped into a dumpling was fascinating to me.
Each fried dumpling had a crispy skin encasing a slice of whole century egg. Though I’m not much of a century egg fan, I enjoyed how the mild and creamy taste of the egg blended with the sweet & spicy sauce, such that it was not too overwhelming.
The crispy dumpling skin provided a nice textural contrast to the soft egg. I was definitely intrigued by this dish!
Another one of Abundance’s popular side dishes is the Mala Popcorn Chicken (S$9). Each popcorn chicken piece was crispy and peppery on the outside and incredibly juicy on the inside. The mala flavour was strong, and each piece of popcorn chicken left a lingering aftertaste of spices and peppercorn in my mouth.
Mala lovers will definitely enjoy the Mala Popcorn Chicken, as it does not hold back in delivering a powerful mala kick. However, to more spice-intolerant diners, this dish may be a tad too strong.
The Balsamic Vinegar Fries (S$10) were very crispy and came coated in a sweet balsamic vinegar glaze. The vinegar taste wasn’t too strong and the acidity was balanced with an adequate level of sweetness. These fries reminded me a bit of marmite, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.
To end off our meal at Abundance, we had the Peanut Ice Cream Roll (S$6.90), consisting of a block of vanilla ice cream, hand-roasted peanuts and coriander wrapped in a popiah skin.
The combination of ice cream with coriander and popiah skin seemed rather unorthodox to me, but I later learnt that this is a popular dessert in Taiwan. The sweet vanilla ice cream blended well with the fragrant peanut pieces, and the soft and thin popiah skin held the elements together nicely.
The element that I felt unsure of was the coriander. In this world, you either love coriander or you hate it, and unfortunately for me, I relate to the latter. Hence, enduring bites of soapy coriander was rather unpleasant for me, but I generally still really enjoyed the Peanut Ice Cream Roll. I’m sure that coriander lovers would fall in love with this dessert even more than I did.
Though its prices are relatively steep compared to other neighbourhood eateries, Abundance does not hold back in terms of standard, and offers a good selection of high quality and authentic dishes.
Let it be made abundantly clear that when I get my next pay check, I’ll definitely be spending it on another feast at Abundance. I may live an hour away from Redhill, but I would travel for these dishes again!
Expected damage: S$8 – S$20 per pax
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