Who tips waitress at a zhi char shop?

That was the bemused response from my sister Daffy when I regaled her and other family members about a Saturday night dinner I shared with a group of friends (that usually dines up market) at a zhi char shop in Alexandra Village last month.

The food was good, the service was good and the price for two crabs and several dishes including rice and tea, unbelieveable, I told my family over Sunday lunch last week-end, in keeping with the Singaporean trait of talking about other food experience while eating a meal.

Imagine, $110 for six, after a 10% discount on EC’s OCBC credit card and all in air con comfort. So, we gave the waitress who served us a $10 tip and she was so thrilled that she exclaimed in disbelief: “Nie gai wo xiao fei, ah?”, beaming from ear to ear.

She also apologised for not taking care of us better due to the large crowd.

Indeed, we’d been making ourselves at home, helping ourselves to wet towels, plastic plates and bowls etc without bothering her. All at the table was willing to overlook any service lapses, real or perceived.  Because the price we paid for the group won’t have gotten us half a meal for one at Gunther’s of Purvis Street!

On hearing about the generous tip — that’s when Daffy made her wry remark.

What’s the name of the shop, nephew H asked.

Eng something?

His dad beamed and said: Keng Eng Kee Seafood?

Before I could go into details about the menu, Daffy asked if we had the min zhu rolls?

Yes, that’s what we started with. She exclaimed that’s very good.

Oh you know the place?

 She, her hubby and son nodded.

I said we also had crab done two ways, in salted egg yoke for one and steamed for the other.

What else?

Duck and…

Before i could finish nephew H said “sea cucumber.”

Yea, I said, and there was only one piece. I ate it since the others wanted the duck, which I repeat, is my food bete noir along with beef, lamb, mutton and game.

Indeed, I won’t have had crab either, had I a choice because I try to avoid live seafood. But I didn’t want to be a party pooper!

So Keng Eng Kee Seafood is not a discovery after all because if my sister’s family knows it, then most Singaporeans would know it too.

Strange tho I’ve never heard about the place till EC introduced it to us.

Below are some of the dishes we had that memorable Saturday: good food at better prices.


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