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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Review: Liu Da Ma Charcoal BBQ Restaurant

"There are no secrets better kept than the secrets that everybody guesses." - George Bernard Shaw

***

Barbecue to your heart's content
(cross-posted on HGW)

China-style lamb skewers have come to Singapore.

In Northern China you can see hole-in-the-wall places selling lamb skewers. Here you get to sit down and do it yourself (they can do it for you too if you want).

For those who normally dislike lamb, the lamb skewers here are good as they are heavily seasoned, which gets rid of most of the smell. You can then sprinkle on cumin mix, chili powder and salt to taste. The cuts of lamb aren't that good, but for 80 cents a stick at a sit-down restaurant there was already less fat and tendon than I expected; besides, the portion is bigger than your average satay stick. Although the charcoal pit in front of you is touted as being 'smokeless' (there's some suction mechanism), it doesn't always work; during my first visit we got smoke in our faces, but today managed to warm our pre-cooked skewers happily.

For those into exotic foods, all manner of exotic internal organs like chicken hearts, pig's intestines and beef testicles are available on skewers, and they do a crunchy pig ear salad. Okay I made the testicles up, but you can find almost every other animal part one would want to eat (and some one wouldn't...) For the less adventurous you can also find things like shishamo, Golden Dragon sausages, sliced buns and sweat corn (sic) on stick, and if you delight in culinary sacrilege you can even get that staple of Singaporean 'barbecues': crabstick. And if you need a break from grilling stuff on a stick, you can have hot and cold side dishes which comes on plates like potato strips stir fried in a spicy sauce and 'Japanese' cucumber in a hot-sour sauce; more than 5 types of Northern Chinese dumplings can also tempt your palate (though I prefer Cantonese shui kao).

To wash everything down they have some Chinese beers, as well as a sour plum drink, and 2 fruit drinks (yellow peach and hawthorn) from China.

Those who need proper crockery to eat should beware though - you get small metal ashtrays by default (are they to put vinegar in? to throw lamb tendon on? to support your half-eaten dumplings?). For those who prefer a better ambience (and the chance to drink red wine with your meal), there's a more atas-ly furnished outlet at 26 Geylang Lorong 11. The prices seem the same.

Finally, a cautionary note from the restaurant itself, as seen on the wall: 'Contact lense user please be away from charcoal or you will never see it'
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