Closed: Tam Kah, Chinatown

Tam Kah is my hidden find. A few years ago, I walked past it, decided to jump into it, and viola, I’ve been going there since then. Recently, I went back and I decided I would never go back again.

There were 5 of us but we got the 4-person set meal, which consisted of 4 bowls of sharks fin, peng cai, a fish and three-cup chicken. At $98, we thought it would be worth the money.
Huge bowl of sharks fin right? But it was bland and the sharks fin came in strands.
Peng Cai is a Hakka dish. Hakkas were homeless and poor and so they just dumped all the food (cai) in one pot (peng), and so we have peng cai. This was the peng cai when I first started eating at Tan Kah. Look at how huge and succulent everything looked, gleaming and tempting like a hot boy in white swim trunks! Can swallow him it whole.
Look at the boy now… all shriveled and wrinkly…
Instead of whole abalones, now the abalone came in thin slices! The ingredients have also lessened. no more “fa cai,” no more mushrooms and no more shark lips. Shark lips are very delicious, a jelly form. Yeah lah, wanna kill shark, don’t just cut of the fin and throw it back into the sea to die lah. That’s wasteful. Cut the fin and the lips then throw back into the sea mah. Not only are the ingredients reduced, the taste was also compromised. No more orgasmic richness of the blend of essence of seafood in the sauce. The sauce became very bland.
The best dish that day was the three-cup chicken and it was the worst 3-cup chicken I had in my life. It’s called 3-cup because there are 3 shots of alcohol in it. The first two shots, you put in the dish; for the 3rd shot, you cover the claypot and drizzle the shot over the cover so that the alcohol slowly seeps into the pot. This 3rd shot is usually just for fragrance.
But Tan Kah 3-cup chicken didn’t have the kick. 3-cup chicken is supposed to be heavy-handed and this one just wasn’t salty enough.
I wanted a steamed fish but the waitress herself said the fish wasn’t fresh! So we had it fried. I don’t know what fish it is but I think it’s ROCK fish, flesh as hard as rock, dry as an old maid’s cave. I mean, if it’s abs on hot men, it better be hard. Or else, I like my flesh soft, thank you very much.
The meal was so bad that even the rather decent gui ling gao (herbal jelly) didn’t help. We had to adjourn to somewhere else for more dessert.
$127 for 5 persons. I like value for money food, but I don’t like bad food, especially when I was introducing the restaurant to my friends. I am a food critic leh! Very malu. Why has the standard dropped so much? Even the restaurant looked rundown and sad, with the flickering florescent lamp, dark and gloomy. Come on!
Tan Kah
16 Upper Cross St
6223 1611
Rating: 2.0178/5 stars

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