There are many humble cze char places across the island – lots of enterprising chefs brandishing their woks, selling the standard cze char items; hor fun, claypot beancurd, prawn paste chicken - all with varying standards and prices. One of my favourite cze char places(and there are many) is Two Chefs at Commonwealth Drive. The food is honest, portions are generous, and the staff make no pretensions about the hearty fare they are selling(cue: they drizzle mayonnaise happily out of a bottle all over your newly fried prawns right in front of you, even as you swallow your saliva).
Two Chefs is run by a pair of brothers, and the place made it once to the cover page of the Sunday Times. That might acocunt for half of its success; on any given weekend, you’ll find yourself at the end of a snaking queue, filled with hungry patrons looking like eager-eyed vultures, waiting to descend on any empty tables. The food is worth waiting for – it’s slightly more inventive than your average cze char place on the corner. Casting an eye on the tables though, what will surprise you is that most people inevitably order the same few things, so we will feature more of the common items the general populace seem to enjoy.
Butter pork ribs
This dish is sinfully rich, filled with melted butter and sugar, dusted all over the pork ribs. On my first few trips here, I used to swear that this was heaven – it was so tasty and sweet, and the meat rarely had bones such that one could simply eat this with a bowl of white rice and be satisfied(read: died and gone to heaven). However, on subsequent visits, I realised that there could be better control over the amount of sugar, for the butter was already cloyingly sweet. The pork ribs were very tender and tasty but the butter does take a little getting used to.
One of the dishes people don’t seem to order very much(for fear of Hep B or for health reasons) is this cold dish of cockles, with the yummiest chopped garlic, chives and red chilli. I am a big fan of Cockles, so this dish was heaven for me. Using the toothpicks, I picked out each cockle from its shell – still cold from the ice, and dipped it into the sauce with a bit of chopped garlic. Ooh, yummmmmmmy.
As if one meat dish wasn’t enough, honey chicken is often found on every table- the honey chicken is drizzled with honey, and chopped almonds. What was less appetising about the dish is that the chicken very often has bones – so those with kids might want to order the butter pork ribs instead. I also reckon that the dusted melted butter of the Butter pork ribs would sit better with children.
Sambal Sweet potato leaves
KangKong is also known as morning glory- for some reason, I can never understand why it’s called that- I think of the Oasis song when I hear the words Here, they use sweet potato leaves instead of kangkong, and the stems are thicker with leafy leaves, ripe for chewing. I love the taste of the sweet potato leaves- the vegetable is tasty and crunchy without being hard.
Tofu with mushrooms
No cze char is complete with tofu – the version here uses lots of different mushrooms, over silken fried tofu. I love the mushroom sauce and the tofu, but order a smaller portion as this tends to be quite big. This could be a little more spicy.
I love ma pin- the cereals prawns were extremely tasty- the prawns were huge with a lovely dusting of cereals all over. The prawns were not overdone, and were so fresh, sweet and delicious.
Two Chefs is great at serving up honest fare that is consistent, day after day, night after night – you’re guaranteed a satisfying lip smacking meal here. Places like these are so unpretentious, it’s like being able to have your grandmother’s comfort food, but with no effort and at decent prices.