Zi Char - TungLok Group (TungLok Teahouse)

Zi Char - TungLok Group (TungLok Teahouse)
9 Amoy Street
#01-01 Far East Square

10 Sinaran Drive
#01-73 Square 2



Deep-Fried Sea Bass Fish In Superior Sauce

Average Ala-Carte Buffet

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 5
Ambience & Setting: 7
Food & Beverage: 6
Service: 3
Value for Money: 6
Spent about SGD $45 per person.


Operating as part of the TungLok Group, a well-regarded Chinese Zi Char restaurant chain which was founded in 1984 by Tjioe Ji Nan (Zhou Ying Nan) and his son Andrew Tjioe, the TungLok Teahouse which opened in April 2001 is their casual dining, dim sum, and Chinese Teochew cuisine eatery. In particular, TungLok Teahouse is known for its nostalgic period decor, and ala-carte dim sum buffet.

Ambience at TungLok Teahouse is a throwback to the past, the era of the 1960s to 1980s. A warmly lit, traditional Chinese teahouse setting, with simple wooden furniture and marble tops, surrounded by Oriental touches such as red cushioned walls and patterned tiles, all create a nostalgic retro feel. The period decor includes olden style posters, lighting fixtures, and appropriate background music from the era.

Service at TungLok Teahouse is the weakest point. It's rare that I experience such dismal standards; our table was mostly left to ourselves. Staff did not attend to us, unless we called, and they did not bother to check if we needed more drinks or a refill of tea. I had to go and get water on my own. This is still alright, if the place was busy, which it wasn't. Staff also got our orders wrong on 3 occasions, serving us incorrect dishes that we did not order. Utter confusion, I fail to understand how they could get orders wrong multiple times.

Food at TungLok Teahouse is somewhat average. The quality is hit and miss for me, some dishes were really good, others left me wondering if the chef was having a bad day. Taste of each dish ranges from below average to slightly above average. Portions are designed for communal dining, and meant to be shared. The ala-carte buffet is good value for money, at SGD $45 per person. However, I really struggle with the quality of service and food, I don't think I'll be back.


TungLok Teahouse Exterior

TungLok Teahouse Interior

TungLok Teahouse Ala-Carte Buffet Menu

TungLok Teahouse Ala-Carte Buffet Menu

The Ala-Carte Buffet Meal (SGD $45 Per Person) is available only during dinner on weekdays, and for both lunch and dinner on weekends. Note that a minimum of 4 people are required to dine.

Ala-Carte Buffet Meal (SGD $45 Per Person)

Oddly, the Braised Peanuts (SGD $1.50) are a separate charge, even if you get the ala-carte buffet. I like the soft texture, and savoury salty nutty flavour though.

Braised Peanuts (SGD $1.50)

The Crispy Fish Skin With Salt And Pepper is excellent. Piping hot, super crispy in the mouth, crunching loudly. The light notes of savoury salty peppery on the palate. So so so good. Highly recommended!

Crispy Fish Skin With Salt And Pepper

Mildly disappointed with the Marinated Jellyfish. While it has that correct crunchy gelatinous texture, it's not as chilled, or as sweet in taste as I would like. You can get much better elsewhere. Skip this.

Marinated Jellyfish

The Fried Prawn Dumplings With Mayonnaise is good. Piping hot, with a thin, crisp outer skin that shatters beautifully. The filling of prawn and fish paste is nicely savoury sweet, very light and clean-tasting. Good!

Fried Prawn Dumplings With Mayonnaise

Felt the Beancurd Skin Rolls With Prawns is pretty good. The thin layer of tofu beancurd skin is crisp, and the meaty shrimp filling has a lovely sweet savoury flavour. Very satisfiying, more so than I'd hope. Good!

Beancurd Skin Rolls With Prawns

The Pork Ribs With Black Bean Sauce is very good. The pork ribs are tender and moist in texture, pulling away from the bone easily. The black bean sauce lends a light nutty flavour to the savoury salty sweet taste of the pork ribs. Definitely an above average dish. Highly recommended!

Pork Ribs With Black Bean Sauce

What I like about the Steamed Siew Mai Pork And Prawn Dumplings is their moist, juicy texture, and meaty chew. The filling of minced pork and prawns / shrimp is a classic blend of sweet and savoury. Pretty worthwhile rendition here. Good!

Steamed Siew Mai Pork And Prawn Dumplings

Loved the Pan-Fried Carrot Cake, especially for its meaty, robust salty savoury smoky flavour, of the dried Chinese sausage studded within. The carrot cake itself is properly soft, however, I felt the edges could be more crispy. Still, it's a good dish. Worth ordering!

Pan-Fried Carrot Cake

The Steamed BBQ Pork Buns were lovely. Hot and fluffy soft buns, with meat that is moist and sweet savoury in flavour. Loved this, would order it again.

Steamed BBQ Pork Buns

The Braised Shark's Fin With Fish Maw Soup is rich and thick, more savoury and less sweet than usual though. The fish maw has a springy, spongy texture, while the shark's fin is luxurious. Personally, I think this is decent, and I've had better, but as this dish is limited to one per person, it's still worth ordering.

Braised Shark's Fin With Fish Maw Soup

Absolutely loved the Braised Beancurd With Seafood, with its rich, savoury gravy, and soft cubes of tofu beancurd that has a delicate chew. The seafood (squid, prawns) within is fresh and sweet, and the shiitake mushrooms are nicely tender and earthy in flavour.

Braised Beancurd With Seafood

The Braised Beef Brisket With Daikon Radish has a rich, meaty savoury salty gravy, bold and robust in flavour. This pairs excellently with white rice. The beef brisket is so tender, and has a light chew to texture. However, I was disappointed with the mushy daikon radish, which seems to be cooked too long. Based on the tasty beef and the delicious gravy alone, I would order this again.

Braised Beef Brisket With Daikon Radish

Didn't like the Braised Chicken With Ginger And Spring Onions. The chicken meat was firm, and not as fresh as I would like. Flavour from the gravy is also rather muted, not as good as elsewhere. Skip this.

Braised Chicken With Ginger And Spring Onions

The Braised Grandma's Pork Belly is absolutely delicious, Grandma would be proud. The soft stewed pork belly is tender and moist, picking up the robust savoury salty flavour of the rich gravy. Goes wonderfully with white rice. Highly recommended!

Braised Grandma's Pork Belly

Felt the String Beans With Minced Pork was above average in execution. The string beans are fresh, and still have a soft crunch, without being limp. The minced pork gravy is strongly savoury salty in taste, with hints of chili spice. Good!

String Beans With Minced Pork

The Pork With Garlic Sauce was an underwhelming disappointment for me. The meat is dry and limp, and the sauce is overly strong. Skip this.

Pork With Garlic Sauce

The Cereal Prawns was rather muted in flavour, though some of us liked it. Personally, I love the crisp, non-greasy texture, and the meaty sweet flavour of the prawns / shrimp. However, the cereal oats were one-note in taste and slightly undercooked, and it lacks the kick of curry leaves. Borderline edible.

Cereal Prawns

The Prawns In Soy Sauce were decent in taste. Nice flavour of salty savoury, with a hint of spicy, yet you can still taste the sweet freshness of the prawns / shrimp. Alright as a dish.

Prawns In Soy Sauce

Felt the Squid In Spicy Sauce was a failure. The squid rings were not fresh, and lacking in sweetness. The gravy is more sweet than spicy, and did little to excite the palate. Skip this.

Squid In Spicy Sauce

The Steamed Red Tilapia With Pickled Chili is a love or hate dish. The red tilapia fish has tender, flaky meat which comes clean off the bone. However, while fresh, it still has a mild muddy flavour, a distinct characteristic of this fish. The sauce is properly sharp spicy, with a good kick. Loved the sauce, the fish, not so much, but this is a personal preference. Otherwise, it's actually a good dish on its own.

Steamed Red Tilapia With Pickled Chili

The Deep-Fried Sea Bass Fish In Superior Sauce is good. The sea bass fish has a good crisp texture on the outside, a moist, soft texture on the inside, and a light salty sweet flavour from the gravy. We ordered 2 rounds of this, because it's tasty and we liked it. Good!

Deep-Fried Sea Bass Fish In Superior Sauce

The Smoked Duck Wrapped With Pancake has thinly sliced smoked duck, moist and tender, with a robust salty savoury flavour. I did feel the pancake wrapper is slightly thick, but the fresh garnish of vegetables is a nice refreshing touch. The sweet sticky hoisin sauce lends a depth of flavour. Worth ordering!

Smoked Duck Wrapped With Pancake

The Chilled Rock Melon With Sago is rather muted in flavour. Nicely sweet and chilled, but the rock melon and sago is only passable, nothing outstanding in flavour.

Chilled Rock Melon With Sago

The Red Date Glutinous Cake is unique. Has a sticky, glutinous texture, rather like a traditional Chinese new year cake. The flavour is fruity sweet, with hints of floral. Also rather filling. Good!

Red Date Glutinous Cake