Nobody would come to Geylang on Valentine’s Day–or do lonely men come?–so we came. Sik Bao Sin (“eat full first,” usually used in “eat full first then talk/settle the problem,”) is the air con version of the popular Sik Wai Sin (“eating comes first”). Desmond Chia, son of SWS’s founders, heads this cze char restaurant with 13 years of cooking experience at his parents’ shop.
There is a menu with only 13 items. Prices are not listed, I wonder why.
Steamed pork with salted fish
There is only one busy server, so be patient. The server was friendly to us because we joked with her, but a customer shouted at her and she shouted back. I guess it’s fair to have a quid pro quo service: nobody owes anybody a living.
Although the restaurant wasn’t running to its full capacity, we waited for 40 minutes before the first dish was served. But the wait was worth it. The steamed fish head ($25), seen on every table, was a carp head slathered with salty fermented soy beans, lard glorious lard, and scallions. You can call it HOLY CARP! “Is it healthy or not? I’m confused,” said Huccalily. Lard is good fats, right?
Every table also had the steamed pork with salted fish ($14): very salty and was best with rice. Homely but my mom could cook it as well. The bittergourd with spare ribs ($18, above) was like another version of the steamed fish head, with lots of salty fermented beans, so while the bittergourd was delicious, you may want to pick something different. The kailan with beef (small $18) was exceptional, approaching umami.
A choice of soups, watercress or black chicken ($25), go for the latter. I saw tables that ordered watercress threw us glances of envy. That was how I knew my black chicken was superior. It was only lightly herbal and with little oil. But when you’re eating so many dishes, this light soup can be refreshing.
My only complaint is the portions for some food were small. The kailan, for example, was very sad, only palm-sized for $18, and the steamed pork with salted fish was the size of a hand. How to sik bao like that?
A good Valentine with the same friends I spent with last year, this is becoming a tradition. Including rice and tea, we paid $106 for four persons or about $27 for one. For cze char, it could be cheaper but it was super shiok. We were very contented after sik bao-ing. One of the best meals this year. Highly recommended.
592 Geylang Road (between Lor 34 & 36) Singapore 389531
T-Sun: 11.45am-2.30pm, 5.45-9.30pm
Rating: 3.413/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.