Eat First: Famous Cantonese Zi Char Restaurant Reopens In Geylang |
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Eat First: Famous Cantonese Zi Char Restaurant Reopens In Geylang

27th July 2023

Eat First has reopened in Geylang with famous zi char

If you were on the zi char circuit pre-2015, you most probably would have heard of legendary Cantonese zi char eatery Sik Wai Sin in Geylang. Post-2015, you might have gone instead to one of their two sons’ restaurants: Sik Bao Sin, AKA Desmond’s Creation, or Eat First, AKA 食之為鮮 (shí zhī wèi xiān), which closed their Siglap location back in May. They’ve finally reopened—and in a nod to his parents’ eatery, Eat First is now located back where it all began, at 287 Geylang Road.

eat first - storefront (1)
Image credit: Eat First SG

Back in the day, Sik Wai Sin was known for its very concise menu of just 12 dishes: four steamed and eight stir-fried. It’s said that the OG founder of Sik Wai Sin made his two sons each specialise in one technique, of which Desmond was taught the art of stir-fry, while Steve, who now cooks at Eat First, learned how to master his father’s steamed dishes.

eat first - steamed chicken
Image credit: Alvin Choo

You’ll find 13 dishes on the menu at Eat First today, with Steamed Chicken ($20/$28) in place of the Sesame Oil Chicken that Steve’s father used to have. Simply steamed with chicken fat and scallions, a tip for enjoying this dish is to tip a bowl of rice in at the end and mix it up with all the drippings.

eat first - bean curd w prawns
Image credit: Alvin Choo

A must-order is Bean Curd w Prawns ($22/$30), where deep-fried rectangles of tofu and prawns sit in a wok-kissed seafood gravy, laced with swirls of egg. You’ll definitely want to have this with rice.

eat first - steamed mince pork w salted fish
Image credit: @thetwoeaters

It’s hard to pick the best items to order; it’s such a short menu of well-done dishes. There’s Steamed Mince Pork w Salted Fish ($18)—unlike at most other eateries, the minced pork here is hand-chopped so you really get good texture and bite in each mouthful.

eat first - steamed fish head
Image credit: SL Wong

Another steamed dish is Steamed Fish Head ($30), which can be found on almost every table dining at Eat First. The star of this dish is the fermented bean sauce, which is supposedly mixed and left to stand for at least three months before it’s spooned on the fish to steam. If that wasn’t flavour enough, you’ll also get pork lard, shallots, and sliced red chilli on the super fresh fish head.

eat first - sweet n sour pork
Image credit: @bradeatsmarj

Balance out the steamed dishes with Sweet n Sour Pork ($20/$28) or Fried Ginger Chicken ($28)—both of these are crowd favourites.

eat first - fried kailan with beef
Image credit: @brainkoh

Otherwise, there’s Fried Kailan w Prawns or Beef. Whichever protein you pick, it’s priced at $22 or $30 for small or medium portions respectively. Round off the meal with Black Chicken Soup ($30) or Watercress Soup ($20) too.

Fun fact: Steve learned how to stir fry from his uncle, who heads Hillman Restaurant! Another old-school, East-side zi char spot to check out is Jin Wee Restaurant, which serves Hainanese zi char.

Address: 287 Geylang Road, Singapore 389334
Opening hours: Daily 11:45am to 2:30pm, 5:45pm to 9:30pm
Tel: 6443 8434
Eat First is not a halal-certified eatery

Jin Wee Restaurant: Old-School Zi Char Eatery With Charcoal Salt-Baked Chicken And More

Feature image adapted from Eat First SG, Alvin Choo

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