Lunch at Chap Chay

Chap chye is a soupy mixed vegetable dish popular in Singapore. It is usually a vegetarian dish, but some like to make it with pork and prawns. Most the ingredients that go into it are what can be picked up in the dry goods section of a supermarket. These include dried moss, dried lily buds, dried mushrooms, cellophane noodles etc. Some of the fresh ingredients that go in are cabbage and ginko. Each of these ingredients has an auspicious meaning so it is a must have dish during the Lunar New Year.

Chap Chay, on the other hand, is a restaurant at The Raintree Hotel at Alwarpet. In an earlier avatar, the space used to host a Mongolian barbeque. We used to go there occasionally but could never figure out what was Mongolian about the food or the decor. Thank goodness for small changes.

Ever since it became Chap Chay, a restaurant that specialises in stir fried food, I wanted to try it out. We did go three months ago and were most impressed with the service. The food was good, nothing outstanding, but a nice place for a Sunday lunch with the family. Quite healthy, if you choose to make it so.
We went there a second time a couple of weeks ago. Glad to report the standard is still the same, the same outstanding service and thankfully, the food hasn't taken a nosedive!!

Fresh vegetables sit neatly arranged in their trays. One only needs to choose the vegetable of choice and place them in the bowl provided. So glad  they even had  beansprouts and lotus stems.

A choice of noodles-egg, rice sticks and even tomato!

The non vegetarian selection-

For starters, we were served Mandarin prawns. They were flavoured with kaffir lime bits and wrapped in wantan skins and fried. Served with  a minty sauce, it tasted unbelievably good. The other starter was a chicken ziaoji.  Nothing remarkable about this steamed bite.

Then came the self explanatory Sour and Spicy soup. Again, nothing exciting about it but the stock was quite  flavourful and the portion was just right.

The concept is quite straightforward- choose your veg, choose your noodle, choose your proteins, choose your sauce and hand it to the chef who will stir fry it with a few additional ingredients and in a few minutes, your dish is placed in front of you.

The range of sauces is good, Shaohsing, Teriyaki, Kungpao, Hunan, black pepper and their signature chap chay sauce among them.

Shaohsing sauce with rice sticks, Kungpao sauce with egg noodles
Hunan and pepper sauce stir fry.

The work station.

Our only grouse was the dessert menu. Just half a dozen items and nothing appealing. We had the water chestnut in coconut milk the last time too. We were assured the dessert menu would be changed in a month's time.

Loved the ambiance, the unobtrusive service and quality and freshness of the food. 


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