$0-$20

Yi Jia South Village Seafood Restaurant 一家南村海鲜, Toa Payoh

hometown beancurd
Can you guess what the food is in the photo above? It is a thick slab of tofu, deep-fried, and then drizzled with crispy Thai cai-por (preserved raddish) in salty soya sauce. They call it 家乡豆腐 (jia xiang tofu, or hometown tofu, $8).

sambal potato leaves
番薯叶, fan shu ye, potato leaves in sambal ($6)

Serendipitous finds are the best. We just finished playing badminton at a nearby community centre and was looking for food. Everywhere was dark, it was scary in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Where were the lights? The nights in Singapore are bright as days, lit by streetlamps, but not here, not in this quiet, eerie, old place. It was as if we entered another dimension, another world… and then we saw a light glowing, like a treasure chest glowing in the dark, and we walked towards it, emboldened by hunger.

peanut pork rib soup
Peanut-pork rib soup – enough for 6 persons ($6)

BAM! The ambience changed! From the ghost-town surroundings, the old-school kopitiam was bustling with activities, so crowded. But did we enter a time-wrap? We had time-travelled back to 80s Singapore.

salted egg yolked sotong
咸蛋苏东, xian dan sotong, salted egg yolked sotong ($10)

And the food was glorious. There was an old-school flavor in the food that is hard to find anywhere else now. If you believe that the chef will put her feelings into the food and when you eat the food you can feel her emotions, then eating the food gave us a heartwarming nostalgia. Not only did they serve traditional cze char food, they got pretty innovative too. No menu here, just order your favorite cze-char dishes and they will do it for you. Anything also can!

melon prawn
蜜瓜虾, melon prawn $18

And best of all, it was only $48 for 4 persons, or $12 for one!!!!!

When we were paying, they gave us another table’s bill. But since that table only ordered four dishes, we had 5 dishes, we kept quiet, thinking the bill would be cheaper. ALAS! The boss noticed his mistake, and he said, “So sorry, this bill isn’t yours. So sorry huh. Oh, anyway yours is cheaper, lucky never gave you the wrong bill. So sorry huh. Sorry, sorry.”

I felt so bad he was so contrite because we wanted to cheat him in the first place! Alamak! Moral of the story: be honest.

Highly recommended!

Yi Jia South Village Seafood Restaurant 一家南村海鲜

Blk 20 Lorong 7 Toa Payoh
Singapore 310021
Tel: 6250 6537
Opening hours: 4.30pm to 1.00am daily

Rating: 3.819/ 5 stars

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