Taiwan Railway Bento and their Braised Minced Pork Rice

** Update from Railway Bento as at March 15 at 8.09am – The Railway Bento team is currently having some internal shuffling with exciting menu coming up! Both outlets in CT Hub and International Plaza will not be operating at this moment until further notice.**

Taiwan Railway Bento (台湾鐵路便當) and their Braised Minced Pork Rice

Address 1: CT Hub 2 Kallang Avenue #02-16 Singapore 339407

Opening hours 1: Mon – Sat  11.00am to 8.00pm, closed on PH

Address 2: International Plaza 10 Anson Road #02-85A

Opening hours 2: Mon – Fri 11.00am to 3.00pm, closed on PH

Introduction

Railway Bento was originated from Taiwan and they currently have two outlets in Singapore. These rice boxes form a great part of Taiwan’s rich food culture and are widely popular in Taiwan till date. In the older days, their people have to travel long distance on train and have to rely on these lunch boxes for their meals. These lunch boxes have a well balanced food spread like meat, vegetable, egg, bean curd and rice.

These lunch boxes come in at traditional and pretty looking wooden box packaging and also come in a variety of choices. I visited their branch at the CT Hub with the invitation of Glen, the boss of Railway Bento. Thank you Glen for the kind invitation and for hosting me.

Menu: click to enlarge

Braised Minced Pork Rice ($4.80)

Generally I have two complains on the braised minced pork rice (卤肉饭) that i had in Singapore. Firstly it’s the pricing. Typically in Taiwan, a good bowl of braised minced pork rice cost something like S$3 to S$4 but in Singapore, it cost about $8 to $12 in a Taiwan-style Cafe. Secondly, I personally prefer the minced meat to be really fine, and well mixed into a thick gravy but many sold them in thicker chunks.

Therefore I thought Railway Bento did well in this two aspects, keeping the price at an affordable $4.80 (even at their Tanjong Pagar branch), and there is a good mix of fatty and leaner meat in the finely-minced meat sauce.

I thought braised minced pork rice (卤肉饭) is suppose to be a little greasy to be enjoyable and Railway Bento’s version has just the right amount of it. The sauce has a very thick texture that coats the rice perfectly. This meat sauce is actually less salty than it looks which i think it can be readily accepted by Singaporeans.

Fried Chicken Cutlet Bento ($6.80)

As for their chicken cutlet bento, i thought it’s rather decent. There nothing exactly fantastic about it but also nothing bad about it. It’s freshly fried, crispy and served piping hot. The chicken cutlet taste like those from a typical Taiwan Snack Stall in Singapore. At $6.80, the portion is quite decent for it’s price and this bento also comes with half an egg, salted vegetable, a slice of Taiwan sausage and it also comes with a small portion of braised minced pork.

Century Beancurd ($3.50)
I thought the sauce is very heavy and salty in taste but I like it. This sauce has a complicated mix of chopped coriander, garlic, soy sauce and chilli and is for sure too salty if consume on its own. However I thought it goes pretty well with the cold tofu. I also like the century egg that comes with a soft yolk center.

Fried King Oyster Mushroom ($3.50)

The king oyster mushroom is coated with a tempura-style breading, deep fried to crisp, and sprinkled with chilli powder. Having this dish is more for the texture than that the taste as this mushroom doesn’t has a very distinctive taste to begin one and it’s more like munching on the breading and texture of the Oyster Mushroom.

Conclusion

Taiwan cuisine used to be very popular in Singapore but it’s craze had significantly reduced after the cafe culture kicks in. The Railway Bento made a good decision to market it’s food as a eat-and-go model, rather than a Taiwan-style Cafe, therefore keeping the cost low.

As one of the members of the working class, I thought Railway Bento offers a hassle free lunch takeaway option with a variety of food items in a box. Not only the price is reasonable, it also offer a rather decent food quality and choices. I enjoyed the meal, especially the braised minced pork rice.

CT Hub at Kallang Ave

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The Best Roast Goose in Hong Kong – Yung Kee Restaurant

The Best Roast Goose in Hong Kong – Yung Kee Restaurant

English Address: 32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong

Chinese Address: 中環威靈頓街32-40號

Opening Hours: 11.00am to 11.30pm (Daily)

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Introduction

Yung Kee (鏞記酒家) is a multi-award winning restaurant that specializes in roast goose. Together with Yue Kee Roast Goose (裕記大飯店), Yung Kee has a reputation of selling the best Roast Goose in Hong Kong. Although Yung Kee also has a reputation of selling over-priced dishes, it actually started from a humble background.

It started off as a road-side stall (dai pai dong) in the 1930s selling roast meat. After some success, they moved to a shop in the 1942 and finally settle in the current location in the Year 1964. They built up their business steadily and it’s currently owned by Yung Kee Holdings Ltd, a company with more than HK$100 millions in asset. Yung Kee also received one Michelin star in the Year 2009, 2010 and 2011 in the Hong Kong and Macau edition.

The posh ambience of Yung Kee. The service was great as well.

Although i already know of the exorbitant price of Yung Kee, i am just too curious on how does this infamous roast goose taste. The general advise that i heard is “Just order the goose and century egg and forget the rest”.

Therefore, i decided to do the touristy thing to visit Yung Kee to try out this one of the top twenty restaurants in Asia. I have to emphasis that i visited Yung Kee in Year 2012. I didn’t have a blog then so i am only writing it now.

Price of their Goose (2012). Click to enlarge.

Quarter Roast Goose (HK$150)

Unlike other roast meat joints that sell individual plate of Roast Goose rice, Yung Kee offers minimally a quarter of goose (lower quarter without drumstick) that cost HK$150+. There are options of half goose at HK$240+ and whole goose for HK$480+.

The small problem with ordering a quarter goose is Yung Kee only gives you the top quarter that is mostly breast meat. That’s not much of a problem for me as i’m a breast lover.

Yung Kee goose is much more meatier and more succulent than a roast duck. The highlight of the whole dish is the goose skin. It is really crispy, almost crackling and the thin layer of oil and fat that comes along with it. It’s oily, but not greasy for my stomach.

As it’s the breast (top) quarter, it is slightly drier and this problem can be solved by dipping their meat into the braised sauce that comes along with it. I thoroughly enjoyed the rich and savory flavours of the sauce, as well as the braised peanut that comes with it.

Four of us shared this dish and we can’t get enough of it. Each piece of meat was snapped up swiftly and all of us agreed that it’s not as bad as what we read online.

Yung Kee also sells Roasted “Jet” Goose where they vacuum pack their roast goose for you to “da bao” back to your country. Each goose costs HK$500.

Preserved Century Egg

I am not exactly a fan of Century Egg actually but my friend told me she had the best century egg of her life in Yung Kee so i decided to see what’s the deal.

Yung Kee’s century egg is really really soft and smooth and it’s almost like biting through tofu. The egg yolk’s texture is like an Onsen Egg – soft, creamy and very flavourful. I am going to say it – best century egg ever. It’s not difficult to understand why there a demand for them to sell their century egg in gift boxes to be brought back. Six century eggs with ginger cost HK$78

Conclusion

In April 2014, my same friend visited Yung Kee with his family and said that the roast goose standard had dropped and they switch the braised peanut to some beans for their Roast Goose that don’t taste as good and the roasted goose skin don’t taste as crispy. Price wise, it’s still as expensive. He tried the Char Siew and some other dishes and thought it’s still a good idea to just order their Roast Goose.

For me, i think there is a need to at least try the famous Yung Kee roast goose once regardless of the online bashing and i am glad that my visit in 2012 was a good experience.

Although it was a little “paisay” (embarrassing) to only order a quarter roast goose and HALF a century egg with four people, at least we saved our pockets from burning a hole. Probably i will try to visit again in my next trip to Hong Kong to see if the food standard really “deteriorated” as per what some people had said.

For friends who like to try a less expensive roast goose that is more welcomed by their locals, you may want to check out another of my post on Yat Lok Roast Goose.

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Map and Directions

Direction to Yung Kee is very straight forward

1. Come out from Central Exit G

2. Walk against the traffic until you reach Queen’s Road Central

3. Cross the road and walk along the traffic until you see d’Aguilar Street

4. Turn left into d’Aguilar Street, walk straight until you see Wellington Street on the right 5

5. Turn right into Wellington Street and you should see Yung Kee on your right

Click to enlarge