There is always something irresistible about eating out of a claypot.
The food arrives sizzling hot and the best part is that it stays hot for the entire meal.
So I am excited to stumble on Lau Wang Claypot Delights during a random evening stroll through Serangoon Central. It is a busy corner shop which, as its name suggests, specialises in dishes cooked in claypots.
There are about 20 types to choose from, ranging from spicy sambal sotong to fragrant frog legs cooked with ginger and onion - all made to order over hot stove fires.
The signature dish is sesame oil chicken ($4.80), which has small pieces of boneless chicken drenched in a thick gravy of sesame oil and minced garlic. Those who prefer their food spicy can opt for the version cooked with dried chillies.
Almost every customer in the shop has a serving of this on the table and it is easy to understand why: It is delicious when eaten with a bowl of steaming white rice. The chicken pieces are nothing to boast about, but drizzle the gravy over the rice and it is tasty enough to eat on its own.
Equally good with rice is the eggplant and minced meat ($4.80). Some may find the eggplant too mushy for their liking, but each slice is bursting with flavour as it is soaked with the salty and spicy gravy it is cooked in.
To balance the oiliness of these dishes, try one of the herbal soups ($5.30 each), which are all made with the same clear base using nutritious ingredients such as goji berries, red dates and ginseng.
The sliced fish soup comes with a generous portion of fish, but more adventurous diners may want to try the one with pig liver and kidney for more supposed health benefits.
Later, I spot a spicy Thai pig trotter ($4.50) on the wall menu, but I am too full to eat any more. However, I make a mental note to order it when I return.
As yummy as the food is here, none of the dishes makes for a very pretty Instagram shot. In fact, most of them look like a mess when they are served, but you will hardly notice that given how fast you end up wolfing everything down.
LAU WANG CLAYPOT DELIGHTS
Block 263 Serangoon Central Drive, 01-43, open: 11am to 9.45pm daily, closed on alternate Mondays
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
This article was first published on Jan 15, 2017.
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