His signature Fish Head Beehoon (from $5 without the brandy) is not much of a looker. But when you realise the milky broth contains no dairy products and is made fully from fish stock, bones and a lot of wok skill, the dish is in a class of its own. Every bowl of soup is individually made. The basic stock is stir fried with the fish head till the fat and oils turn milky . When he adds the Toman (snakehead) fish and a rougher thick beehoon, wahhh…oh yes, if you want the XO brandy in(from $7), you gotta tell them ahead, so when it arrives, its double wahh! Tip…the fish head broth is richer than the fish slice broth as they fry the head for full flavour.
Next, his Sum Lo Hor Fun (Triple Flavour Kway Teow). It is totally deceiving that something so bland looking can be so flavourful. The exact opposite of Paris Hilton straddling a Carl’s Junior burger. He exalts the kway teow with three invisible flavour agents…Chinese Hua Tiao wine, sesame oil, salt and garlic and texturises it with crunchy towgay (bean sprouts) and succulent slices of clean cut toman fish. At $5 minimum, it is real value.
Wanna know what happens when this chef plays with butter, milk powder and fresh milk? He comes up with Butter Milk Ball Prawns. It takes him 30 minutes of careful stir frying a wok of butter and milk powder as he gingerly drips fresh milk in to create this little crunchy butter milk balls which are fried with prawns and curry leaves. The buttery, rich, sweet-savoury and spicy balance is so agreeable with the fried crustacean. It’ll just take you 10 minutes and $15 to enjoy it.
Three words describe Bao Gong’s makan…simple, clean and confident. While he is no former master chef from some top restaurant which serve dishes that come with an attitude, his simple and firm ways with his ingredients and the wok makes his food comfortably scrumptious. His little kitchen is not stocked up with all Earth has to offer but he makes full use of what little he has and is comfortable with…basic stock, Chinese wine and brandy, garlic, soy sauces, sesame oil, onions, salt, chilli sambal, pepper, sugar etc….