Lai Bao is a brand new 1960s inspired zichar stall at Toa Payoh Lorong 1 opened by the Baoshi F&B Management Pte Ltd. The zichar stall seeks to bring affordable Singaporean zichar cuisine to the masses with recipes passed down by their grandmas as well as family recipes from their childhood friends. Diners can look forward to a menu rooted in Chinese traditions but sprinkle with some unique twist.
Charcoal Silken Tofu 4/5
Charcoal seems to be the new trend for Chinese restaurants lately, and now we can even have it at the neighbourhood zichar stall. The Charcoal Silken Tofu ($5/$8/$10) modernise the classic dish, giving the soft silky tofu a contrasting layer of crispy charcoal-coasted exterior.
Old School Sweet & Sour Pork 3/5
Another classic dish that incorporates the charcoal powder is the Old School Sweet & Sour Pork ($8/$10/$12). I am not sure whether it is due to the black vinegar used or the charcoal powder, it lacked the zestiness I was expecting from a dish that I enjoy.
Duck Fried Teochew Duck Fritter 3.8//5
Both creamy in the interior and crispy on the exterior is another classic Teochew dish, Duck Fried Teochew Duck Fritter ($10). Smoked duck meat is mixed with hand-mashed yam and encased in deep-fried popiah skin.
Ginger Spring Chicken 4/5
A simple but yet tasty dish is the Ginger Spring Chicken ($6 half/ $12 whole). Not only is the chicken moist and juicy, the hand-cut ginger and garlic sauce gives it a subtle fragrance, allowing each bite to be savoured with relish.
Lai Bao Wok Fried Fine Bean 4.2/5
Lai Bao Wok Fried Fine Bean ($7/$9/$11) is a vegetable dish that is packed with textures and flavours. Stir-fried to a delightful crunch is the fine bean complemented by the crispy yam strips for extra bite. It is further flavoured by the dried cuttlefish, Chinese sausage and chye poh head for a fragrant finishing.
Crispy Fried Aubergine & Pork Floss 4/5
The Crispy Fried Aubergine & Pork Floss ($7/$9/$11) is a vegetable dish that will be enjoyed by both young and old. The aubergine or eggplant is thinly sliced, deep-fried and drizzled with savoury pork floss.
Grandma's Recipe Pork Belly 3.8/5
Braised over low heat until soft and tender are the mouth-watering Grandma's Recipe Pork Belly ($12). However, I felt that the braising sauce was lacking the richness and the robustness that I would seek for a tasty braised pork belly dish.
Lai Bao 13 Spices Black Pepper Crab 4.5/5
Not to be missed is Lai Bao 13 Spices Black Pepper Crab ( $30 for 1 Crab / $50 for 2 Crabs). Each crab weighs around 600-700g. Besides the peppery kick, the crustacean is elevated by an aromatic blend of 13 spices, allowing the sweetness of the crab meat to come through even more.
Seafood Lala Ying Yang Hor Fun 3.5/5
Good for sharing or as a one-dish meal is the Seafood Lala Ying Yang Hor Fun ($5/$7/$10). The hor fun is packed with wok hei, drenched in a light and sweet lala gravy. The rice noodle dish also comes with clams, prawns, fish slices and topped with deep-fried hor fun for that extra crunch. It is a hearty dish, but I would prefer the gravy to be heavier in flavour to match the smokiness of the wok's breath.
Sixties Fish Head Charcoal Steamboat (Grouper) 4.2/5
Blk 168 Toa Payoh Lorong 1
Tel: +65 62615825
Nearest MRT: Toa Payoh (NS Line)
Daily: 12pm - 10pm
1) Alight at Toa Payoh MRT station. Take Exit B. Walk to Toa Payoh Bus Interchange (Stop ID 52009). Take bus 141 or 231. Alight one stop later. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]