It wasn’t that long ago that Cai Lin Ji graced the West with their grand opening at Jurong Point. Offering an iconic variety of Hubei street food, they’re dishing out more staples from the region. The new menu items will arrive on 11 Dec, ready to pepper your tongue with flavour.
If you’re unfamiliar with Cai Lin Ji, they opened their 1st Singapore outlet on 6 Sep this year.
They serve up century-old cultural cuisine, wanting to preserve the dishes of the Hubei province. So it’s no surprise that what’s coming is unique to us locally, but are staples of Hubei street food.
Cai Lin Ji already has 10 varieties of noodle dishes to sample, like their Signature Zha Jiang Hot Dry Noodles (S$7.90). You can taste the love and effort put in as the noodles are hand-pulled and plated with their secret black sesame sauce, then topped with minced meat, preserved veggies and spring onions.
Their new dishes will spice things up. I do mean that literally, at least for the first dish.
Native to Hubei and seen by some as their unique speciality is Hu Tang Fen ($$10.90). The noodles are paired with a thick peppery fish paste soup. I thought it was gravy at first.
The original will come with dried shrimp, preserved vegetables, a light sprinkle of green onions and round rice noodles.
I had the chance to try the two alternate versions. First is the Beef Hu Tang Fen (S$10.90). It’s the original with thin slices of beef. The other, Shrimp Hu Tang Fen (S$11.90), is topped with the obvious: shrimp.
Both of these add an extra layer of indulgence to the original. With the weather so unpredictable this time of year, the pepper-heavy dish is heartwarming for those stormy days.
Cai Lin Ji isn’t just offering a new noodle menu item. A new addition to their street food menu listing is the Mian Wo ($2.90 each). If you enjoy Chinese Scallion Pancakes, there’s a huge chance you will love these too. They’re a lightweight, crispy dough snack presented in an adorable basket about the size of my hand.
They even recommend this snack dish as a perfect complement to the Hu Tang Fen, and suggest diners tear it up and dip it into the noodle’s thick broth. It was explained that this is the traditional way to have it in Hubei.
The final new kid on the menu block at Cai Lin Ji is the Steamed Pork Dumplings ($6.90 for 4 pcs). It’s hard to go wrong with this snack as dumplings are a common favourite.
Although it’s not a new dish, we also had the Three Delicacies Dou Pi (S$4.50 for 1 piece, S$8.50 for 2 pieces). This is a dou pi fried flat and served over savoury glutinous rice that’s loaded with meat chunks, mushrooms and bamboo shoots.
To top everything off is a warm, frothy bowl of Original Beancurd (S$2.90). It’s smooth and tastes richer than virtually every soya milk drink I’ve ever had. All in all, what Cai Lin Ji is offering will make for a hearty meal.
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