Geylang Claypot Rice to make its Vegas debut with zi char classics
Geylang Claypot Rice will soon be serving its signature dish to Americans.
It will join chicken rice operator Boon Tong Kee and Springleaf Prata Place (one of my favourite prata restaurants) in opening stalls at Resorts World Las Vegas' Famous Foods Street Eats, a 24,000 sq ft marketplace slated to open in Sin City later this year.
About 40 years ago, the original outlet opened at a coffee shop in Geylang Lor 33. In 2019, it moved to a bigger location in Beach Road.
Soon, when the world is finally vaccinated and you find yourself vacationing in Vegas, hungry and homesick after a Cher concert and gambling, you can go eat claypot rice.
For us Singaporeans, a trip to the Beach Road outlet is almost always a satisfying experience.
The Classic Claypot Rice (from $16.80) may be the draw, but for me, the zi char dishes are the real stars.
To be honest, I am not a huge fan of claypot rice.
It smells fantastic and looks glorious, but it is always too much for one person to finish, even with a small portion.
Also, I like mine loaded with salted fish, and this version lacks that.
Still, that "burnt" taste is enticing, and I do wonder how Americans will take to the dish.
Considering they will not have any scale of comparison in the US, Geylang Claypot Rice would likely be a hit over there.
As for the zi char dishes, what really got my appetite going was the Fried Bee Hoon ($9.80).
If you compare plate appearance, the bee hoon is the ugly sibling of the claypot rice. It looks simple, but its full-on flavours make it a winner.
I like that the bee hoon is not bone dry, and the large prawns are a great accompaniment.
Also easy on the eye is the ubiquitous French Bean with Shrimp ($11.80).
Now while we see this dish at every zi char stall from Tuas to Tampines, what makes this version stand out is the snap of the French bean.
It is on the verge of being undercooked (al dente, if you will), and with the umami of the shrimp paste, this is a silent diet killer.
I appreciate how direct the name of the dishes are. It is refreshing because some restaurants seem to use a thesaurus to name their offerings. Here, it is sheer simplicity.
Prawn Paste Chicken ($14.80) is exactly what it is - good old fashioned har cheong gai.
And it is one of the better versions I have tasted. Each piece is juicy with a crispy coat of prawn-perfumed skin, and the umami simply bursts through on first bite.
However, I felt nothing for the Tofu with Prawn ($14.80).
Though one of the fancier dishes at Geylang Claypot Rice, each element is good enough on its own but combined, it is not memorable.
Stick to the zi char classics and you will leave the place happy.