gracecheung604 | write on time: Satisfying another craving Sunday

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Satisfying another craving Sunday

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Tropika (Richmond) on Urbanspoon
One of the things I’ve been craving is Hainanese Chicken Rice. I’ve been wanting it ever since I gave up meat for Lent, but the desire kicked into overdrive when I saw Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation in Singapore, home of the Hainanese Chicken Rice. Headed into Richmond’s Aberdeen Mall for Tropika. Not only do they have the rice I’m craving, they have the Roti Canai that haven’t been duplicated anywhere else.
The plan was to get two HCRs and a serving of Roti. That plan fell apart when I decided to try out another appetizer, the Shredded Dry Pork in Sticky Rice Rolls – decorated with a chilli pepper on the menu, so it should be spicy. So the executive decision was made to order half a Hainanese Chicken, and one bowl of coconut rice, the roti and the Sticky Rice Rolls.
The rolls came first and the presentation was pretty cool, little green bundles of joy. I didn’t know what I was expecting, but the description made me think of Chi Fan (minus the Chinese donut and prevserved vegetables). When I peeled the leaf back, I noticed that it was more a ball as opposed to a roll. The dish was piping hot, so I cut the ball open and tried it slowly. It was a little disappointing. The pork was mostly meat floss, and a little bit of actual pork. There was no kick to it, so it really didn’t deserved the “chilli” adornment on the menu. To be fair, they should have called it Steamed Meat Floss Rice Ball.

Then the roti came and they were heavenly. Nice and flaky with tons of pockets to soak up the accompanying sauce. Good thing my friend isn’t a sauce freak (he prefers the traditional sweetness of the roti unfettered) because I used it all on my portion of the roti, with barely a drop to spare.
Last to arrive was the Hainanese chicken. A beautiful plate of meat and bones…a much better balance than if you just ordered the lunch special. You could smell the coconut as the rice landed on the table, but the flavour wasn’t quite there when you actually ate it. The accompanying sauces were pretty meagre, and I actually prefer the green onion and ginger concoction that they serve in traditional Chinese places.
All in all, the meal was not exceptional, but it is exactly as you would expect, minus the rice roll ball. I would still head back to Tropika next time I craved HCR, but will plan on trying some other suggestions that I’ve seen, such as Café D’lite.

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