Situated at the far end of Beach Road, the recently-relocated Geylang Claypot Rice embodies an ambience of old-school tradition and personality.
I love how the overall design of the eatery preserved a traditional look with modern accents. One aspect which portrayed this collaboration was the open bar counter. It faces the main road and welcomes passers-by to take a peek inside the restaurant.
Apart from 2 younger staff members, the rest of the service crew was made up of the older generation. I am not sure about you but eateries that preserve the work and effort of our elderly radiate a sense of warmth and comfort to me.
Besides the food and drink items offered by a restaurant, I usually look out for the service provided to determine if it is worth a return visit.
Thankfully, the calm and friendly disposition of the whole crew eased me into the setting without much effort, and I was comfortable bringing my camera around to film the space.
As soon as we walked through the narrow entrance, we were advised to order their famed Chicken Claypot Rice (S$18.80 for 2-3 pax). They asked us to decide on the portion size before browsing the rest of the menu because the dish requires 30 minutes to create.
What I tried at Geylang Claypot Rice
We heard the sound of a bell from the kitchen, which signalled that a dish was ready to be served. My dining companion and I looked across the dining hall and swiftly turned to look at each other with our mouths agape. Like a performance, the waitress carried the huge Chicken Claypot together with a cloth, gloves and a ladle over to our table.
As soon as the lid was lifted, a waft of smokiness hit us. As if awakening our sense of smell was not enough, our visual senses were teased as we watched dark soy sauce being drizzled liberally onto the heap of ingredients heavily seated atop the rice bed.
Based on how much pulling and tossing was done, the waitress’s hard work paid off as every grain of rice was evenly coated with the dark soy sauce. At this point, we could no longer hold the urge to dig right into the fragrant pot.
Despite its dark colour, the rice was perfectly salted with a hint of charcoal taste, and resembled grilled food. While many claypot rice stalls tend to add too much oil, Geylang Claypot Rice has nailed the perfect ratio of lard oil to dark soy sauce to rice.
The chunky chicken pieces were unexpectedly tender and although under-seasoned, kept us going back for more spoonfuls of rice. This created a balanced combination and not overly salty.
I was thrilled by the liberal amount of thickly-sliced lup cheong (Chinese sausage) scattered within the rice. There was also a substantial amount of smoked pork belly which featured distinct layers of lean meat and fat.
2 variations of lup cheong were used — lean meat and liver — with the latter being my favourite. Its snappy outer layer added texture while the moist and oily filling offered a satisfying mouthfeel when eaten with the rice.
While some may shy away from the amount of smoked meat present fearing it may be too jelak, I thoroughly enjoyed each piece.
My favourite part of the fare — among many others — was the salted fish pieces. The little bombs of saltiness brought umami to the table and got me hooked to finding more within the pot. Unfortunately, the portion was meagre and I expected more.
The second item we ordered was the recommended Crabmeat Prawn Roll (S$14.80). Presentation-wise, the beancurd crust was fried to a golden brown hue and was clearly larger than I am accustomed to.
By the name of the dish, we expected a robust seafood flavour. Sadly, the roll mostly tasted like pork. However, I appreciated how the meat filling was not too browned and took a convex shape. This suggested that its juices were kept within the mixture, which is how it should be.
We paired our meal with their homemade Iced Lemongrass Pandan (S$2.80) and Iced Water Chestnut (S$2.80) which held the same consistency and tasted similar to those bought from hawker centres.
Overall, the dishes were well executed and were one of the better variations as compared to similar restaurants. However, its price point is admittedly on the high side, especially for the zi char-style items which are more affordable at hawker eateries.
However, one plus point that won me over was the reservation option that allows diners to receive their claypot rice the moment they are seated.
Head over to Geylang Claypot Rice if you feel like splurging on food in an air-conditioned setting, coupled with good service and much less queuing and waiting time!
Expected damage: S$20 – S$40 per pax
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