Wednesday, May 7, 2014

review of gu ma jia (姑妈家)

When I was a kid, my extended family would gather at one of my uncle's houses ever so often for a feast. We'd always looked forward to these gathering because while the adults chatted and did their catching up, the kids would play. I loved these get-together and play sessions.

But most of all, I loved the food that my mom and my aunt cooked.

To this day, my cousin Lynette and I are still trying to reproduce the chicken curry that 姑妈 (Aunty) used to cook. Do you also have an Aunty who is a fantastic cook?

When I walked through the doors of Gu Ma Jia, the first impression I had was how homely it felt. The very relaxed and comfortable feeling I had reminded me of those old family-owned Peranakan restaurants I used to frequent at Katong before they all closed down to make way for more modern eateries.

Indeed, Gu Ma Jia is a family-owned restaurant owned by, well, Gu Ma herself. Gu Ma is the oldest of six siblings with numerous nephews and nieces. Being a fantastic cook, she would whip up feasts at family gatherings and functions, much like those we had in our family when I was a kid.

The food at this restaurant is home-cooked food at the highest standards.

It is fair to say that the most famous dish at Gu Ma Jia is the Assam Fish Head. This was also the LAM's favourite dish. That says a lot, since being an ang moh (Caucasian), he would normally stay away from fish heads. The fish was tender and juicy and it was complemented by Gu Ma Jia's exclusive spicy and sour Assam blend gravy.

One of my favourite dishes at Gu Ma Jia is the Kyoto Pork Ribs. The ribs were served in aluminium foil so as to retain their juiciness and natural flavours. Drenched in sweet tangy sauce, the dish is sweet and savoury at the same time.

I also love the Yuan Yang Kai Lan. The kai lan is cooked in two ways - blanched and fried. This makes it not only delicious, but also texturally interesting with the contrast between crunchy kai lan stems and crispy kai lan leaves.

Another interesting dish that I have never seen anywhere else is Crispy Bean-Jal. This is a perfect combination of crispy fried brinjal and French beans. The brinjal was lightly tossed in sweet marmite sauce and then fried with French beans. I would never have guessed that I was eating brinjal if I was not told!

Being a seafood lover, I always order the Oyster Omelet and Prawn Rolls when I dine at Gu Ma Jia. The oysters are huge and succulent, and the egg fried till crispy. This was served with home made sambal which I am mad about!! I can also never resist Prawn Rolls, and you can really taste the home-made goodness in the prawn rolls at Gu Ma Jia. We ordered one plate and it was gone pretty quickly.

Yes, I have saved the best for last - my absolute favourite dish at Gu Ma Jia is the Crab Mee Hoon Soup. I can eat this everyday!! The super-fresh crab was cooked in a super-tasty broth. Even the bee hoon was super delicious as it had soaked up some of the broth. This dish is what my dreams are made of. Hmmmmm. :)

We washed all this food down with the newly launched Fruity Enyzme Juice with rock melon, strawberries, kiwi and basil seeds. Fruit enzyme (the protein molecules which are the life force of all biological activities in human cells) extracts are used here to produce both fruit desserts and beverage. They aid the body's ability to digest, absorb and utilize nutrients. My daughter, Jadelyn, loves both the Enzyme drink and the dessert.

There are, of course, many, many more other fantastic dishes served at Gu Ma Jia. It would be impossible to list them all.

Apart from a comprehensive menu of really, really superb food, Gu Ma Jia is one of our favourite restaurants because we feel so at home there.

After my initial visit, I have been back at Gu Ma Jia with other members of my family - my mom, my cousin, Lynette (a real foodie) and my Aunt Jenny. We plan to pop by for another meal when my sister is back from Jakarta.

Come try the food at Gu Ma Jia, I guarantee that you, too, will love it!

For reservations, call 62852023.
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Gu Ma Jia also provides buffet catering services with a good selection of delectable dishes at affordable prices. 

Disclaimer: While I was invited to a food tasting session, sponsored by Gu Ma Jia, no other compensation was received. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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