The Sweet Sound of Ding Dong
Written by Joel Ng on December 9, 2015
23 Ann Siang Road
Telephone: 6557 0189
Monday – Friday: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 12am
Saturday: 6pm – 12am
Closed on Sundays
Located at 23 Ann Siang Road, Ding Dong is a South-East Asian Restaurant with Western influences. Upon stepping into the restaurant, I was getting a very “Chinese seafood restaurant vibe” from the neon signage on the wall to the round table with brochures and name cards.
A circular banister leads up to the second and third floors and this is when the feel of the place turns chic and modern, without losing its Asian vibes.
With bright red decorations on their walls and neon cups and cutlery, the eating area reminded me of San Fransokyo from Big-Hero 6.
But enough talk of ambience – let’s move on to the food!
We were sent to Ding Dong to check out their lunch menu so that’s what I’ll be talking about today.
Ding Dong offers 4 starters on their lunch menu, but we only got to try 3.
For the starters, up first we have homemade miso tofu, daikon & ginger salad with Japanese dressing.
The tofu is light and tangy, which made it amazingly refreshing! It’s paired well with the daikon and ginger salad to complete a zingy dish that was really getting my appetite up and running.
Up next, the vegetable “Kon Lao Mee” with sliced pork.
Now, for those of you who don’t know what Kon Lao Mee is, it’s basically dry tossed noodles with fish sauce, often served with Charsiew (Roasted Pork Meat). In this dish, the chef takes the noodles out and replaces them with shredded vegetables. This lends the dish a very crunchy texture and a refreshing taste. It’s topped off with huge, tender slices of pork that have been marinated in salt to bring out the flavour of the meat. The sauce of the Kon Lao Mee really ties the dish together as it is savoury enough to keep you going for bite after bite.
Lastly we have the burnt nasu with crab and crispy shrimp.
Nasu is eggplant and while the word “burnt” may put you off, I would recommend you give it a chance. The head chef devised this dish because he personally dislikes the soft texture of eggplant. So to counter the eggplant’s texture, he adds crispy shrimps and he cooks the eggplant just right to make it solid. The dish is rounded off with a salty sauce that jogs your appetite.
All in all I would say that this is my favourite starter as it has the best texture and taste.
Next up, we have the three main courses. Firstly, Asam Pedas: salted barramundi with okra & baby eggplant.
The Asam Pedas is a speciality of the chef’s, a recipe that he has brought from his Peranakan roots. The fish is fried to perfection; it is crispy but light and not too oily. The okra and baby eggplant adds to the variety of textures found within the dish and the sauce, although sour, isn’t off-putting. A great dish if you’re a fan of Peranakan cuisine.
The next dish is the crispy duck curry, cauliflower, and passion fruit.
This is a mind-blowing dish. The curry is a delicious, thick broth with a delightful twist: passion fruit is used instead of the traditional lime. This lends a sweet fruity fragrance to the curry that I have never tasted before in my life. The duck meat that’s paired with the curry is crispy on the outside but tender and soft on the inside, melting in your mouth. Definitely a dish you’ll have to try at least once in your life.
Last but not least, the Tom Kha crispy quail.
This is a dish with Thai roots that is normally cooked with chicken. The quail is, as with all fried dishes served here, masterfully fried, keeping its tender texture while taking on a crispy outer layer. Quail is used instead of chicken as it has a stronger flavour, meaning it can stand up well with stronger herbs and spices. The meat is therefore very well marinated in a variety of spices, something that really builds onto the fragrance of the Tom Kha curry.
Lastly we have the desserts. We only tried two of the three desserts: the “textures of chocolate & kaya” and the Ding Dong mango lass.
“Textures of chocolate and kaya” is an eccentric dish.
It’s hard to describe this dish – but it is essentially many different kinds of chocolate at varying levels of concentration. These different forms vary from a brittle, sweet piece to a bitter soft cream. I would say that it was a roller-coaster of a dish.
The Ding Dong mango lass is exactly the same but made with mango instead of chocolate. They are both delicious desserts that help to wrap up the meal.
Photos: Klix Photography