I had once again fallen for a Groupon deal when I bought cash vouchers for Hakka Yuen. That and the fact that I’ve had the longest craving for a good Hakka abacus dish.
The stir-fried abacus was the first to arrive. Before I can exclaim in shock at the chopped garlic lookalike garnished on the top, a closer look will tell you that it’s actually pickled radish (choi poh) which is usually served with the dish (phew!). The abacus was chewy, too chewy in fact. It could have sat in boiling water for a tad bit longer. Also, the yam taste was not as evident, they probably skimp on the yam and add more flour. Jia Chee, a schoolmate of mine and her grandmother makes the best abacus I’ve ever eaten. After eating here, they still hold the record for the best yam abacus.
I’ve only had Hainanese mutton soup so I was surprised to see something similar served here. The herb soup had chunks of tender mutton pieces with beancurd sticks. it is very similar to the mutton soup at Heng Hong Tin Kee in this post but it was less tasty and had less ingredients in it. After one round around the table, there were no more mutton chunks left.
The stir fried brinjal with basil leaves was fragrant but there was nothing special about it. I’m not sure how it’s Hakka to begin with.
Another basil-flavored dish we ordered was the steamed chicken with basil. The chicken was quite tender and smooth while the basil added an interesting flavor to the usually blander steamed chicken. But once again, it’s not Hakka.
We did order a Braised Pork Belly with Mustard Greens (Mui Choy Kao Yuk) and it was just okay. Nothing spectacular. I expected it to at least be good considering this is a Hakka restaurant and this dish is authentically Hakka.
The last dish to arrive was a Deep Fried Tilapia wish was well fried and delicious. It was one of the better dishes in the meal.
Overall, I wouldn’t be excited about this place. The Hakka food experience was ruined by Hakka food not cooked well and the other dishes were relatively average.