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Fat Bird - The Home of a 3,000 Student Sichuan Masterchef


About Fat Bird

 

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You may have seen Fat Bird along Liang Seah Street before. I know we have, and the last time we passed by it was too crowded so we gave it a miss. They're actually the same company behind Chong Qing Grilled Fish a few stores down. Fat Bird specialises in Sichuan cuisine and are known for their signature Kampung Chicken Hot Pot. But many people don't know the story behind Fat Bird. 

 

The Masterchef behind the scenes

 

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The principal chef, Chef Tang De Hai 唐德海 is famed for being 1 of only 4 distinguished chef judges in the whole of Sichuan. In fact, he was one of the first few representatives of China in the 1980s to be sent to America to teach Sichuan cuisine. During then, China was still in the baby stages of her open door policy so that alone speaks volumes about his culinary skill.

What's more impressive is how he's recorded as having over 3,000 students under his tutelage. Walk around Chinatown and to the stalls in People's Park Centre specialising in Sichuan cooking. We hear that nearly every chef in Chinatown were past students of his. Years ago, the government commissioned him to teach chefs in China so he could bring Sichuan cuisine to other parts of the world. Looks like they succeeded quite well!

 

The Food at Fat Bird

 

Fat Bird allows you to enjoy Chongqing Hot Pot with the exquisite taste of the dry wok cooking method. Succulent bite-sized meats simmering over high heat in a secret recipe sauce that makes use of 13 carefully selected herbs and spices.

TIP: Before you order, select the "level" of spiciness that you're comfortable with. Start low, because you can always increase the intensity and add more spice if its too mild.

b2ap3_thumbnail_1.JPGMouth Watering Chicken - $5.80

We began the meal with a typical Sichuan cold dish as one of the starters. When I first saw the dish, I was a little taken aback by the pool of oil surrounding the chicken. I had my doubts, but I can tell you for sure this is safe to savour.

On first bite, I could taste a distinct mala flavour to the chicken. The meat is tender and smooth as well. The chilli oil that you see the chicken swimming in is just a distinctive feature of Sichuan cuisine.

b2ap3_thumbnail_3_20140401-033856_1.JPGMouth Watering Chicken (without the sauce)

In order to accentuate the difference between a dish with the classic Sichuan sauce and a dish without it, they served us another plate of plain "Delicious Chicken". Well it sure tasted different, the chicken was tender on its own and was equally delectable.

If you notice the saucer on the left, that's a sauce specially prepared for us by the chef. It's their "ma la" sauce that brings to you both the tastes of "ma", which literally means numbness, and "la", meaning spiciness.

To cater to the local Singaporean taste buds, the chef removed the element of "numbness" to the dishes. However, a true Sichuan dish has both elements incorporated. If you want to taste how a true Sichuan dish tastes like, you can request for the sauce and the chef will personally prepare it for you. This is to satisfy those who are after the authentic Sichuan taste.

b2ap3_thumbnail_2.JPGPork Belly with Garlic Sauce - $5.80

Next up we were given a plate of pork belly. It's done in the same style as the chicken, except that it was pork instead. I definitely preferred the chicken over this - as the fats from the pork belly compounded with the chilli oil had was too calorie inducing for my liking.

b2ap3_thumbnail_4_20140401-033858_1.JPGMarried Couple Offal Slices - $6.80

Similar to the previous plates of cold dishes, this was served with organ meats and its either a love or hate dish, depending on your preference for innards.

b2ap3_thumbnail_5.JPGMixed Vegetable Salad - $4.80

Finally, we had a dish without the Sichuan sauce, just a plain vegetable salad perhaps to offset the onslaught of the previous dishes. It was a bit too plain and didn't leave an impression.

b2ap3_thumbnail_6.JPGWok Fried Fragrant Yam - $8

However, this plate of yam sticks were absolutely delightful. Crispy and tasty, it's pretty addictive and you can gobble the whole plate up before realising what you've done. Make sure you have it while they're hot when they're at their best.

b2ap3_thumbnail_7.JPGDry Pot Prawns - $24

I'm not a big fan of prawns, but these prawns were so goooood. The only drawback was how they were extremely difficult to peel. If you have a low tolerance for spiciness, you might want to order a glass of cold water before tasting the prawns..

b2ap3_thumbnail_11.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_13.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_9.JPGSpicy Chicken Pot (Regular size) - $26 with golden mushroom, Chinese cabbage, fried beancurd skin & thick vermicelli - $2.80 each/serving

Finally, we got to try the signature Chicken Hot Pot of Fat Bird! This was definitely the highlight of the whole meal. There were also wholesome varieties of sides to add to the broth and mix in, as seen in the pictures above.

The thick and spicy broth was amazing. It was flavourful and savoury, and as expected, the chicken was tender to the bite. It was as if I got transported to China for a meal.

What I would advise is to pick the level of spiciness carefully, because you don't want to end up filling your tummy with ice cold water instead!

b2ap3_thumbnail_12.JPGChinese Spinach with Salted & Century Egg - $10

Well, this plate of spinach came exactly at the right time, after the heavy dishes earlier, this simple dish in salted egg yolk was heavenly. I found it a little watery, but it was still decently good.

b2ap3_thumbnail_14_20140401-033852_1.JPGChicken Stew in Pig's Stomach - $32

This stew will come as a nice change to Sichuan based dishes. I drank it to wash down the buttery taste in my mouth. If you love pig's stomach soup, you're going to love this dish. It's a lot like a chicken version of bah ku teh with a tangier flavour, and we've never tasting anything quite like it. It was a fantastic palate cleanser to end the meal.

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Mango Cider

I also had a go at their Mango Cider, and I loved it! It was extremely refreshing, and I would definitely recommend anyone to have it. By the end of the meal, my stomach was bursting with flavours. 

 

A place for gatherings

 

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Whether you're catching up with family or friends, Fat Bird is a great place to dine at. In fact, the place is frequented by many seeking supper in the wee hours.

However, something important to note is how Sichuan cuisine is typically oily in nature, so those of you with weaker digestive systems may find it difficult to stomach the food. In addition, the distinctive Sichuan spiciness can make one's tummy churn. It's definitely an acquired taste but at the same time one spice lovers will absolutely adore.

That said, Fat Bird is extremely value-for-money and definitely worth a visit if you're into the Sichuan Hot Pot style. Although A-la-carte prices may seem expensive, they are really sharing portions so divide the prices accordingly. Lunch sets go for under $40 for four people, making their lunch prices incredible reasonable.

If you enjoy Sichuan cuisine, there's really no other place better to try it then at the home of a Sichuan Masterchef.

 

What's on Offer

 

To celebrate their 2nd anniversary, Fat Bird is having a challenge to source the most creative pictures taken with their mascot. And the deal is, winners get to win 1 year's worth of FREE hot pot! All you have to do is complete these 3 Simple Steps:

  • Step 1: Simply SNAP a photo with their chicken in your most creative pose.
  • Step 2: POST it onto your Facebook, Hash tag #fatbird and set your location at Fat Bird.
  • Step 3: Get the most likes for your post to WIN!

Visit their Facebook page here.

 

Fat Bird Address

 

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1 Liang Seah Street, #01-15/16 Liang Seah Place, Singapore 189022
Tel: 6337 0612


This post was brought to you by Fat Bird

 

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