Roast Paradise – Caramelized KL Style Char Siew at Old Airport Road Hawker Centre
When Chef Jimmy Chok shared his views on why he hates food bloggers, I can totally understand. While I don’t agree on the part that “we are all doing it for money”, but I do feel him when he says he doesn’t need a young 20-year-old chap to tell him if his food is great or not when he has spent more than 20 years learning how to cook. It’s just sad that bloggers are always the target group, when in true honesty, many writers in traditional media may not be experienced foodie as well. Oh wells.
When it comes to F&B owners, I guess it’s the same case. Many of them, especially the experienced ones, don’t welcome changes nor new ideas. Today, I met Randall and Kai, owners of the newly opened Roast Paradise in Old Airport Road Hawker Centre. Both in their 20s, they gave up their jobs at the integrated resort, took on significant pay cut to set up this small roast business of theirs. Some experienced hawkers may question, “what do these youngsters know about roasting meat?”
Well, Kai’s Uncle owns Famous Seremban Favourites, one of the top roast shops at Petaling Jaya in Kuala Lumpur (KL). These guys have spent 4 months at the shop learning how to roast KL style roasted meat. They start their day as early as 5am so that their first batch can be ready by 11am.
What do you get? Classic KL style char siew that is well seasoned and caramelized. When served, you see that glistering layer of skin smiling at you. Put a slice in, the first taste is that sticky texture with a pleasant sweetness. As you bite onto the chunky pieces, you get the well charred edges. Using the part near the armpit, you are guaranteed the right proportion of leans and fats in the meat. Served with chicken rice, it’s tender and moist, with a significant smokey fragrance. The little plate of sauce was redundant, in my opinion.
While the KL style char siew is excellent, their sio bak probably needs more work. It wasn’t neatly sliced, some pieces were too thin and you can’t really taste the crispy skin. Yes you do get the crackling but I find the meat a little too dry.
Their Hakka style noodles came surprisingly good. It’s rare to find it here in Singapore, I remembered I had it when I went Ipoh. Drizzled with pork oil, sesame and onion oil, the lye-free noodles are cooked till al dente. The spoonful of minced meat makes it more delectable. Or you can add the signature char siew too.
The two youngsters are really humble and they have been continuously seeking feedback from customers to make their food better. That is commendable and my friends who have been here a few months ago said that standard has improved since then. Honestly, this plate of caramelized KL style char siew is already outstanding. What they need now, is to improve on their sio bak and provide more roast items for them to become a truly roast paradise.
Roast Paradise 烧味天堂
Address: Stall #01-122, Old Airport Road Food Centre
Opening Hours: 11am to 4pm or till sold out. Closed on Monday
Tel: 97867396 / 91891017
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