Despite it being 2pm and sweltering hot, Lin’s Braised commanded a respectable and never-ending queue of customers at its quaint stall in Dunman Food Centre.
Dunman Food Centre is certainly no stranger to well-known and well-loved hawker stalls, boasting popular stalls such as Say Seng Famous Tau Kwa Pau and Dunman Road Char Siew Wan Ton Mee.
However, Lin’s Braised seems like a promising contender, with its authentic Taiwanese braised dishes and home-style fish soup priced affordably, with dishes starting from S$4.80.
The stall is single-handedly helmed by Eileen Lam, who held an office job in an F&B company handling matters like procurement, purchasing, operations and franchises.
Across the years, Eileen travelled to many parts of Asia (mostly because of work). After being retrenched due to the pandemic, she decided to bring one of Taiwan’s most iconic dishes to Singapore— lu rou fan, also known as braised pork rice.
“Considering Singapore’s weather, I knew I needed to adapt the recipe a little,” she shared. “Taiwanese braised rice tends to be on the sweeter side, so I decided to consult a Hakka chef and eventually came up with a recipe that infused local Hakka flavours into the lu rou fan.”
Thus, Eileen’s signature Hakka lu rou fan was born.
What I tried at Lin’s Braised
I started out with Eileen’s iconic dish: Signature “Hakka” Braised Pork Rice (S$5.80), which came with preserved vegetables, beancurd, tau pok, egg and pearl rice.
All the ingredients are prepared from scratch— yes, even the preserved vegetables!
If you’re not feeling so hungry, you can get the “Hakka” Braised Pork Rice (S$4.80), which omits the tau pok and beancurd.
This bowl of braised pork rice was fantastically easy to eat. After mixing all of the ingredients together, this became your quintessential home-cooked rice that’s soaked with braised gravy. It was comforting, familiar and utterly delicious.
There was just enough braised gravy to drench the pearl rice— such that each bite had a good balance of sweet and savoury flavours while ensuring that the rice was not drowning in sauce.
Hearty and meaty, each spoonful had a nice appetising zing and crunch from the preserved vegetables, while the minced meat came in large chunks that added a satisfying bite.
Later, I learnt from Eileen that she uses zero light soy sauce in the gravy (which shocked me), but relied on the juices from the minced meat and preserved vegetables, with a little dark soy sauce for colour.
Out of all the ingredients, my favourite was the tau pok. It had soaked up all the gravy, so the beancurd skin was delightfully soft, but filled with smoky, savoury and umami notes.
I decided to try Eileen’s Braised Pig Trotter La-Mian with Salted Vegetable (Dry) (S$8.80).
Despite its slightly hefty price tag, I was surprised to see large chunks of pig trotter meat which came with the bone.
Be sure to give the noodles a good stir, as Eileen’s homemade chilli sauce coats each thin strand beautifully.
Reminding me of Malaysian-style dry chilli ban mee, this bowl of la mian had a rich soy-based sauce that had strong hints of garlic and smoky chilli.
The chilli was pretty strong and surprised me with its bright intensity, so if you can’t handle your spice, do ask Eileen for less chilli.
The pig trotter meat came in large chunks, with a fair amount of meat and fat. While the meat leaned towards the tougher end (probably due to the nature of the cut), I enjoyed how it had absorbed the braised gravy and was a tad bit salty.
The last dish I tried was an item from Lin’s Braised’s Fish Soup menu: Fried Fish Soup (S$5 for small).
Curious as to why there was fish soup on the menu when the stall’s focus was on braised meat, I decided to ask Eileen for more information.
“Some people need a soup dish to pair together with their braised rice,” she shared. “Rather than go to another stall to place their order, I decided to start selling fish soup so that they can get it both at one place.”
Clean and light, the fish soup tasted exactly like home-cooked food— it was soothing with subtle briny notes, and I couldn’t taste any additions of MSG or artificial flavours. I could taste the natural sweetness of the cabbage and fish, while the seaweed added a well-needed salty kick.
This is a bowl of fish soup that I’d gladly have on a rainy day, though its flavour profile was lighter than expected.
If you’re a fan of braised meat, like the kinds you’d find in your kway chap, you can consider getting Eileen’s Braised Pork Large Intestine (S$5) to share.
I was impressed with how clean it tasted, as it had none of that iconic gamey taste or smell. Instead, each soft piece was delightfully peppery, with a good depth of flavour from the rich braised sauce.
Eileen’s tip: be sure to pair this with her homemade sambal belacan sauce, which falls more on the watery side, but comes with that familiar bright and tear-inducing spiciness.
I loved Lin’s Braised’s Signature “Hakka” Braised Rice for its comforting flavours, which warmed my tummy and reminded me of satisfying home-cooked food.
For just S$5.80, you’re certainly getting a ton of quality in a single bowl, considering that Eileen makes everything from scratch— most notably the preserved vegetables, minced meat and braised gravy, and pairs it with Taiwanese pearl rice for the most authentic lu rou fan experience.
Eileen’s hearty offerings were simple but delicious, and I’ll definitely be back for it.
Expected damage: S$4.80 – S$11 per pax
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