Update 02-Jan-2011: T-Hut is reported closed recently. Refer comments on this post below.
Wait! Don’t go! Continue reading.
I know … the name of this restaurant, T-Hut Cafe, is a very unimaginative name … BUT, let me tell you … for the food geeks and those who like savouring all kinds of cuisines this is one restaurant you will want to take note of.
I know. One look at the restaurant, you would have brushed it aside as a hole-in-the-wall. They have the worse looking awning I had ever seen. For the casual passerby, they may even think that they are no longer in business.
From the name T-Hut Cafe, I actually thought that this is a Bubble Tea House. Would you not?
Even the red on yellow sign at the top of the door says “Taiwanese Snacks” and “Beef Noodles”. In the past life, T-Hut surely must have been a Bubble Tea House. They just did not bother to change the name … nor even the sign. It is misleading because they don’t serve Taiwanese Snacks or Beef Noodles here. No siree.
T-Hut Cafe, dear Friends of Chowtimes, is a Chiu Chow restaurant.
And a very authentic one at that too.
Suanne and I stumbled upon this restaurant about a month ago as we were walking along Fraser after having iced desserts in PinPin. I almost walked into the sandwich board placed outside the restaurant. That was when Suanne said that the three words shabbily painted on the board says “Chiu Chow Choy”. In English that means Chiu Chow Cuisine.
I can’t believe how bad a job they did with the sign. They just hand painted the three words over the board without even bothering at least to paint the background. Such shabbiness.
With what little Chinese Suanne knows, she managed to pick out some of the words on the hand written sign pasted outside the door of the restaurant. She saw words like:
- Golden … award … Chiu Chow … oyster omelet
- Famous … belly warming … pepper … sour mustard … pork stomach soup
Hmmm … those were the descriptions of a typical Chiu Chow cuisine.
We thought that was interesting but we did not even bothered to take down the address or even the name of the restaurant. We just knew it was on Fraser somewhere near PinPin with the intention of checking them out sometime in the distant future (given how long our to-try list is!).
A few weeks later, I casually mentioned this restaurant on the post on Cabin 5555 (see here). The next thing we know it, JS and Grayelf was already talking about checking this place out. Gosh, they are such dedicated foodies. So JS organized a chowdown in T-Hut and asked if Suanne and I wanted to go.
What kind of a question is that? LOL!
I made reservation for dinner. When I called, the lady who picked up the phone was clearly very proud of her own restaurant. Actually she was almost bordering on cockiness. She was talking to me like I already knew their specialty dishes and sounded a bit disappointed when I told her well, I don’t know what I wanted. I only wanted to make a reservation and was not prepared to order the dishes too. She was telling me I must pre-order the “Low Sui Ngap” (translated as old water duck). She went on rattling a few dishes which went swosh over my head. So yeah, because of her enthusiasm, I said sure … reserve a “Low Sui Ngap” for us and that we will order the other dishes when we get there.
So we met for dinner … the six of us. The inside of the restaurant is not much better than the way it looked outside.
The tables are small and cramp. And they can only accommodate two larger tables (seats 10 and 8) which were booked for the night already. The next bigger sized table is six which is oddly arranged with a couple of chairs jutting out to the corridor. Yeah, we were forced to take that odd table.
The lady was very chatty. And she has a very noticeable accent which I assume is Chiu Chow. She told us they are from Swatow and had actually been here for three years already … and all these while choses to operate under the radar. She also said that they do not want to advertise or promote their business because they cannot handle any more customer than they already have. He he he … lets see how this changes things after this post gets published on chowtimes.
I asked her for the menu. She brushed me aside and said “no menu” … and at the same time pointed to the wall. That is their menu. You may click on the pictures above to show it in larger image.
There are a lot of dishes but I know that the best of the best is the ones on the largest of posters.
The orange ones said something like … old water duck (again!) … American duck … special selection … small … Chiu Chow … sand … taro.
The red poster had words like … half deep fried … yellow flower fish … Chiu Chow … big … stir fry … vegetable … minced meat … fried rice.
Sorry those were some of the smattering of words we know. LOL!
I told the lady boss I can’t read Chinese and she told me don’t worry, she will decide for us! Frankly, that works for us because she seems like she sounded so confident she knows what we wanted.
Actually, we were at her mercy.
The first dish that came is the one I pre-ordered the day before. This is called the “Low Sui Ngap” … the old water duck which is a very traditional Chiu Chow dish.
The “old water” refers to the … (more…)