Her grandfather and father are hawkers and to fulfill their dream of opening a restaurant, Sharon Tan, with two other partners, enlisted the help of a chef from Red House. To differentiate themselves from other cze char stalls, the food is done in an innovative way and served in an aircon environment, just 5-10 minutes walk away from Kembangan MRT.
Tofu with Minced Pork
Salted Egg Crab
Everything we had was good to excellent. Excellent dishes: The tofu ($12/$18/$24) was deep-fried to a golden-brown and soft as clouds within, drizzled with a kickass salty sauce with minced pork and a hint of lard. The deep-fried red garoupa (market price) was another hit among us. Certainly not the delicate Teochew style, the fish came with a tangy Thai chilli with mayonnaise dressing, combining the best of East and West. The salted egg crab (market price) had sweet and firm flesh.
As for the almond coffee rib ($12/$18/$24), we thought it wasn’t for everyone. It is for people who are adventurous and like to try new things. Unlike the usual bitter coffee ribs we are used to, this version was sweet and nutty, which was a tad strange for us. Still, the execution of the dish was perfect, the meat soft and bouncy.
The only dish that we didn’t quite like was sauteed prawn with pumpkin sauce ($20/$30/$40), which was a little light on the sauce.
For desserts, Huccalily, lover of orh nee, claimed that this was one of the best yam paste ($4/pax) she had ever had, as good as the one at Amoy Street: smooth, and didn’t come across as lardy. Their version was moistened with sugared water from boiling the ginkgo because, as Sharon explained it, young people like moist desserts. You can request for the traditional version without water but all three of us–Chiobu, Huccalily and me–liked it the way it was served.
Overall, Tien Garden is a pleasing, unpretentious restaurant with delicious food. Worth a visit if you live in the East.
351 Changi Road,
T: 9388 5398
Close on Mon
Rating: 3.294/ 5 stars
PS: Thanks, Sharon, for the invite.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.