Thursday, July 1, 2021

Bibi and Baba on a Stormy Night

On a stormy night (a few weeks back) I ate at Bibi and Baba. It’s only my first time eating at this restaurant on Ship Street specializing in Ngonya cuisine and I came just when their new chef was on board. 

Eating with a few friends across a long table, we were served a customized menu with a few of their signature dishes. I very much enjoyed all the appetizer dishes, which included the Ngor Hiang, a mince pork wrap with dried beancurd sheet with plenty of the namesake spice mix (Ngor Hiang literally means “Five Spices”), and skewers of grill satay with the sauce not to be missed. 

The classic Chai Tow Kway (Fried Carrot Cake) was done the dark sauce style, fried with egg and the sweet dark soya sauce – there’s plenty of flavor to show forth and I love the soft texture with a slightly crispy crust. 

I am not a Laksa connoisseur but I did like the bowl of Nyonya Laksa Lemak served on that evening, with the well balanced coconut flavor in the thick and rich broth, and the thick bee hoon chopped short. One might argue they could get the same bowl with better flavor at 1/5 the price at any street corner in Ipoh, but well, that’s not going to happen soon unfortunately so I will settle with this tasty one. And I enjoyed the sambal served on the side with a good kick too. 

We went on to share a few main dishes. The whole Hainanese chicken came in generous portion with the bird big and fatty, and tender and juicy. The essence of this dish is always the sauces, and the trio of chili sauce, minced ginger jam and dark soya sauce were awesome. The dish also came with two types of rice (yellow and blue) plus sauteed Ngonya bean sprouts on the side. 

I had one of the most memorable Beef Rendang at a friend’s place a few weeks ago, so while this one came up second to that homemade one, it was enjoyable with tender meat and good mix of spices and herbs. Rounding up the lineup were two seafood dishes – fish head curry (served in a giant earthenware casserole) and prawn sambal petai with the love-or-hate sato beans with an interesting pungent flavor. 

With the night-time temperature still hanging in low 30’s and with the ever-drizzling rain throughout the meal, I found it extra comforting with a bowl of Chendol as dessert, served in a bowl with shave ice (done from a classic machine) with coconut cream, palm sugar and the colorful ribbons of jelly. Right into the mood of classic Southeast Asian flavor and tropical vibe that this restaurant and its dishes provide. 

(The meal was by invitation)

When? June 9 2021
Where? Bibi & Baba, 1-7 Ship Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Full Hainanese Chicken

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