Zi Char - Long Ji

October 02, 2016 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Zi Char - Long Ji
253 Outram Road

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Long-Ji-Crab-Bee-Hoon/1647929295441992


Long Ji Crab Bee Hoon
Long Ji Bee Hoon Crab (SGD $70 / 1KG)



Delicious, Hearty, Affordable Zi Char

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 7
Ambience & Setting: 6
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 6
Value for Money: 8
Spent about SGD $24 per person.


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Founded in October 2014 by Chef Mac Kong, a native of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Long Ji is a Chinese Zi Char restaurant in the Tiong Bahru area, known for their hearty yet affordable dishes. No surprise that Long Ji is usually crowded during meal times! Their insistence on using skill to wok fry their dishes results in delicious flavours, and they do not use any monosodium glutamate (MSG) at all.

Ambience at Long Ji is clean, minimalist, and functional. The bright fluorescent lights illuminate the place, making it visible from afar. The modern functional plastic and wooden furniture is decently comfortable, and tables are spaced wide enough to allow ease of movement. However, it's incredibly noisy here, as the enclosed space traps sound within the environment. This means you'll have to either shout, or strain your voice to speak.

Service at Long Ji is fast, efficient, and brusque. Staff are often busy attending to the many customers, rushing here and then. They show little patience. It's good that all requests are fulfilled quickly, even small ones. Passable standards. You'll notice staff are quick to clear away empty / dirty tables when guests leave, quickly resetting it for the next customer. Waiting time for food is relatively short, about 10 minutes even during peak periods.

Food at Long Ji is typical Chinese Zi Char, with a focus on seafood, in particular, crabs. Ingredients are fresh, they do not use any monosodium glutamate (MSG), and each dish is skillfully wok-fried. Quality and execution of dishes is above average, with robust, tasty flavours. They have several signature items which nearly every table orders. Portions are large, most suitable for communal dining. Prices are very affordable, budget about SGD $24 per person for a decent meal here.


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Zi Char - Long Ji Signage
Long Ji Signage


Long Ji Exterior


Long Ji Interior


Menu


Menu


Menu


Us



Of the 2 appetizers, which are chargeable and may be returned, I preferred the Braised Peanuts (SGD $2), with its soft texture and salty nutty flavour. The Achar / Peranakan Spicy Pickled Salad (SGD $2) has a decent crunchy texture, but the sharp sweet sour spicy flavours lack intensity and bite.

Achar / Peranakan Spicy Pickled Salad (SGD $2)


Braised Peanuts (SGD $2)



The Fermented Pork Belly (SGD $15 / $20 / $26) is pretty good. Strips of pork belly, coated in a marinade of red fermented beancurd, 5-spice powder, and rice wine, then deep-fried. While savoury salty in taste, the texture borders between moist and dry. This Chinese Hakka dish pairs really well with rice or noodles, as the flavour of the paste has been absorbed by the pork belly, giving it a nice boldness. Worth ordering!

Fermented Pork Belly (SGD $15 / $20 / $26)


Fermented Pork Belly



The Green Dragon Vegetable (SGD $12 / $16 / $18) features crunchy garlic chives, grassy sweet in flavour, along with crunchy bean sprouts, which lend a slight sweetness. I detect a good amount of smoky wok hei / breath of the wok in these, and while the texture is moist, I wish it was more vibrant. Worth ordering!

Green Dragon Vegetable (SGD $12 / $16 / $18)


Green Dragon Vegetable



Loved the signature dish of Salted Egg Pumpkin (SGD $12 / $18 / $24), an innovative creation of Chef Mac Kong. Chunks of pumpkin are braised with a little sugar till the texture is soft and tender. It's deep-fried, then coated in a savoury salty, totally addictive salted egg sauce. The curry leaves give it a depth of flavour, and a kick of spice. Utterly delicious. Highly recommended!

Salted Egg Pumpkin (SGD $12 / $18 / $24)


Salted Egg Pumpkin



The least impressive dish was the Shrimp Paste Chicken (SGD $12 / $18 / $24). While the chicken wings are juicy, with savoury meat that comes off easily from the bone, the shrimp paste coating on the skin lacks flavour. Ends up tasting like regular chicken wings. Nothing special. Skip this.

Shrimp Paste Chicken (SGD $12 / $18 / $24)


Shrimp Paste Chicken



Loved the signature dish of Deep-Fried Tofu With Cereal & Pumpkin Sauce (SGD $10 / $16 / $20), with its soft, silken tofu beancurd, enveloped in a crisp crust, topped with savoury salty, crunchy cereal oats that lend a wonderful fragrance and flavour. The thick, creamy pumpkin sauce lends a nice floral sweetness, enhancing the overall robust flavour of this dish. Incredibly tasty. Highly recommended!

Deep-Fried Tofu With Cereal & Pumpkin Sauce (SGD $10 / $16 / $20)


Deep-Fried Tofu With Cereal & Pumpkin Sauce



The star dish here, and a must-order for every table, is the Long Ji Bee Hoon Crab (SGD $70 / 1KG). Smoky strands of bee hoon / rice vermicelli, soaked in a bold, savoury gravy of seafood stock and pork lard, topped with a fresh, sweet Sri Lankan crab that is large and meaty. Nice wok hei / breath of the wok, so delicious and unstoppable. You just want to keep eating more! Highly recommended!

Long Ji Bee Hoon Crab (SGD $70 / 1KG)


Long Ji Bee Hoon Crab



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