We're house-sitting for Pops, who's away in Italy with my brothers for a 2 week jaunt. Whenever we house-sit, we always take the opportunity to explore eating places in the central and northern parts of Singapore.
The entire stretch of Upper Thomson Road is littered with notable eating spots, if you look hard enough and ask the Northerners (that's what we locals call the people who stay in the North, which includes the Upper Thomson area). Upper Thomson isn't just known for roti prata, you know?
Ngee Fou Ampang Yong Tau Foo, a family-run stalwart that's fed the masses since the 70's, is one of those notable eating spots. It's admittedly quite ulu-fied, and we would never go there unless we were around the area, which is to say, never. It's on the far north stretch of the seemingly endless Upper Thomson Road (it extends from the city-fringed Novena area all the way north to the very forested Mandai area). The best way to describe its location is near Nee Soon Camp (NS men will know this) and in the predominantly landed property Springleaf estate. Although Ngee Fou is purportedly open till 7.30pm, the food runs out by late lunch. Besides, the food is made fresh everyday so you'll do well to eat early in the afternoon when it's at its freshest. Also, because parking is so limited, it's best to hit this just before the peak lunch hour.
Apart from yong tau foo, there's chicken rice, duck rice and curry fish head that's worth a try here. Just take a look at the other tables, and you'll see almost everyone ordering the same stuff as well. Diversification is probably the reason for their continued success and repeat customers.
The Chicken ($13.50 for a 3-person portion) is juicy and succulent, with minimal soy marinade so the flavour of the chicken really shines through. This was pretty good.
While the rice isn't the most flavourful we've tried, it's a good base to set off the braising gravy for the yong tau foo and fish curry.
The Nonya-style Curry Fish Head ($20 for small) is rich and creamy, spicy enough and brimming with lots of ingredients, lady's fingers, eggplant, tomatoes and fried beancurd. The fish is fresh and flaky, no fishy muddy tones here. One thing that we noted as well, the onions were very well done, they were soft, caramelized and sweet. We loved nibbling on them.
Ah, the piece de resistance, the Ampang Yong Tau Foo ($12.50), freshly made yong tau foo that's served "dry" (as opposed to the soupy style) with a brown braising gravy slathered over it. That brown gravy is what makes yong tau foo an "Ampang" yong tau foo. It's a muted, mellow, starchy and gooey gravy with roasted garlic and oyster sauce undertones. The standard ingredients are bouncy fishballs, fried pork dumplings, fried beancurd skins, sliced fishcake-filled bittergourds, cubed silken beancurd, poached kangkong and fried beancurd.
Ngee Fou Restaurant (Hakka) Ampang Yong Tau Foo
928 Upper Thomson Road
Tel: 6452 1801
Open daily from 9.30am to 7.30pm