Recently, we were at Balestier Road and as usual, the whole stretch of road can get pretty busy as there are many budget hotels and eateries located in the area. We went to Oopen Pasta and Grill Restaurant (that is situated within the compounds of Ibis Singapore Novena Hotel) for a weekend lunch and we had their 3-Course Chinese New Year (CNY) Set Menu which is priced at $28.80 nett per person.

Image Credits: Accor Hotels

The 3-Course CNY Set Menu consist of the following:

Soup

Crab Meat Soup with Sweet Corn

The Crab Meat Soup with Sweet Corn has a rather homely taste and it is not the typical western-style sweet corn soup where milk and cream is added. Topped with some real crab meat (not the usual crab sticks), the soup is definitely a great way to whet the appetite.

Main Course

There are three different types of main courses that are offered for the set menu- fish, chicken or pork; and although most people would go for the Honey Char Siew Chicken Thigh or the Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs, I really enjoyed the crispy Deep-Fried Snapper.

Do note that all three main courses are served with Cantonese Rice, Chinese Sausage and Dried Shrimp.

Deep-fried Snapper with Stir-Fried Broccoli and Mushroom with Ginger Oyster Sauce

If you’re in the mood for some seafood, the Deep-fried Snapper is a good choice but of course, I also know that not everyone is a fan of fish. As for me, I really enjoyed it because it’s fresh and crisp and the batter is light.

OR

Honey Char Siew Chicken Thigh with Wok-fried Hong Kong Kai Lan with Shallot

The Honey Char Siew Chicken Thigh is a perfect choice and if you bring your children along, I’m pretty sure they will enjoy it too. The meat is juicy, tender and cooked to perfection with a smoky flavour to it.

OR

Sweet and Sour Pork Rib with Stir-Fried Capsicum with Onion and Pineapple

Sweet and sour pork is a pretty classic Chinese dish that one can commonly find at almost all Tze Char stalls and if you like to have something familiar, this is probably it. Tangy in taste, you can’t go wrong with the Sweet and Sour Pork Rib.

Dessert

“Tong Shui” with Glutinous Sesame Rice Ball

The “Tong Shui” with Glutinous Sesame Rice Ball is a sweet finish to the 3-course meal. The fragrant and sweet ginger-based soup is made with some brown sugar and it mellows down the spiciness of the ginger, giving the whole dessert a nutty caramel flavour.

Afterthought

Overall, the 3-Course CNY Set Menu is extremely value-for-money and if you are planning a CNY office luncheon with little budget, this is probably it! On a side note, Oopen Pasta and Grill Restaurant does offer takeaways from their a-la-carte menu.

If you don’t frequent Balestier or if you haven’t been there before, you can just pop by Oopen Pasta and Grill Restaurant for a quick casual meal before you begin to explore the rich heritage and culture of Balestier.

Image Credits: Roots.Sg

Some recommended places of interests in the area for first-timers include Go Cho Tua Pek Kong Temple and Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, and if you’re game enough, you can try some durians in Balestier too. Having said that, Balestier is also the home of Singapore’s best Tau Sar Piah stores, so if durian isn’t your cup of tea, then you should get some Tau Sar Piah, a traditional Chinese baked pastry with green bean filling.

Fun Fact #1:

The area of Balestier was named after Joseph Balestier, Singapore’s first American consul from 1837 to 1852 and the owner of a 1,000-acre sugar plantation which was located in Balestier.

Fun Fact #2:

In the 1880s, several bungalows were constructed, with one still remaining at Tai Gin Road known as the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall (formerly the Sun Yat Sen Villa or Wan Qing Yuan).

Fun Fact #3:

The Chinese labourers, who settled in the Balestier area, built a temple which still exists known as Go Cho Tua Pek Kong, with the area having the last free-standing wayang stage in Singapore that was built in 1906.

Author

Melvin is an experienced Swimming Coach, Outdoor Teacher, and Youth Leadership Trainer with more than 8 years of experience. During his free time, he enjoys a healthy dose of reading, travelling and writing.

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