Good Eats

The Dragon Chamber @ Boat Quay

If you walk pass this place in the morning, you would thought that The Dragon Chamber was a “normal” kopitiam (local coffeeshop). Don’t be fooled by the exterior.

It was quite funny. The Dragon Chamber has a neon sign on the side of the shopfront that reminded me of one of those KTV hostess bars that are usually named Dragon this, Phoenix that. From the outside, you’re first greeted by a clean-looking kopitiam serving wonton noodles and roast meats.

But have a look around for a fridge door – for that’s where the real entrance of The Dragon Chamber is. Step inside, and you’ll be transported to a darker, more mysterious location – with old posters and chinoiserie that lend a grungy, underground vibe reminiscent of gang dens of Kowloon Tong. In fact the Chinese name was Long Tong, without the Kau.

鳄鱼掌 / Dragon Claw

Singapore farmed crocodile foot braised in herbal sauce served on a bed of kale. Not for the faint of heart— although its amino acids and potassium help to prevent heart disease
鳄鱼掌 / Dragon Claw

Lots of drama when this course was served. The paw of the Singapore farmed crocodile was gaslighted with a circle of fire and brought across the room. It was braised in a herbal sauce, fork tender and full of collagen. Reminded me of turtle soup, and I was surprised to find crocodile meat tasted like chicken.

酥炸蟹肉蛋卷 / Crab Omelette

Lump crab meat omelette rolled into egg batter and deep fried
酥炸蟹肉蛋卷 / Crab Omelette

It brought back memories of those Chinese banquets under the HDB blocks, where they always brought out the cold dish platter 冷盘 where there’s the portion of fried omelette with crab and sometime bits of sharks fin.

避风塘龙虾 / Dragon Mountain

Fried whole lobsters with crispy ground garlic, fermented soybeans, sliced chillies and “mala” Sichuan peppercorns
避风塘龙虾 / Dragon Mountain

The Dragon Mountain features an Australian spiny lobster covered with a generous scattering of fried garlic and fermented soybean bits, chillies, and Sichuan peppercorns. After a dramatic entrance, this lobster was supposed to be done in the Typhoon Harbour-style 避风塘 was not authentic nor tasty in its own right. There weren’t enough garlic and the Sichuan peppercorns destroyed the balance. It was the only course for the evening that we did not really enjoy.

爱尔兰烤鸭 / Roast Irish Duck

Air flown straight from Ireland, roasted to perfection Chinese style
爱尔兰烤鸭 / Roast Irish Duck

This is like crispy spring chicken, but it’s more like crispy “spring duck”. In the Silver Hill Farm far away in Ireland more than 50 years ago, six top-quality ducks were developed into a unique and exclusive breed known as the Irish Duck. The quality of the ducks is so succulent, so tender, so full of flavour, and so consistent in quality that it is often referred to as the mother of all ducks, or simply the Best Duck In The World. Today, this special breed of duck is served in 98% of London’s Chinese restaurants, thereby earning the name ‘London Duck’.  

油条辣子鸡 / Firecracker Chicken and Maple Fritters

Deep fried diced chicken with chopped dried chillies, cashews, chives and Sichuan peppercorn served with crunchy “you tiao” fritters topped with maple syrup
油条辣子鸡 / Firecracker Chicken and Maple Fritters

It was made famous in Sichuan, but actually its origin was Yunnan. It was invented by a husband and wife team that operated an eatery along the highway in Yunnan. It was popular among the truckers and quickly copied across the borders to Sichuan. This version by The Dragon Chambers was pretty mild, and for a twist to the mala taste of the popcorn chicken came with sweet maple syrup drizzled deep fried fritters. Fire and ice 冰火两重天, if you know what I meant 😉

家乡什菜 / Mixed Vegetable Chop Suey

A wok fried medley of bokchoy, kale, black & white fungus, enoki mushrooms, lotus root chips and crispy fried kai lan
家乡什菜 / Mixed Vegetable Chop Suey

Chop suey is a dish in American Chinese cuisine and other forms of overseas Chinese cuisine, consisting of meat (often chicken, fish, beef, shrimp, or pork) and eggs, cooked quickly with vegetables such as bean sprouts, cabbage, and celery and bound in a starch-thickened sauce. Here, it simply meant a stir-fry mixed vegetables dish with the same sweet and savoury thick brown sauce.

清炒青龙菜 / Green Dragon Stir Fry

“Qing Long” Chinese chives stir fried with beech mushrooms, and garlic
清炒青龙菜 / Green Dragon Stir Fry

In terms of sequence, this was the first dish to arrive. It was full of wok hei – the ultimate flavour from tzechar chef that can only come from a flaming cast iron work. When we ate our first mouthful of this chive variant, we were totally blown away by the wok hei.

松露和牛河粉 / Wagyu Truffle Beef Hor Fun

‘Hor Fun’ wok fried flat noodles served with premium US Wagyu shortrib, crispy deep-fried hor fun strips, poached egg and finished with truffle gravy

Right off the bat after the “Green Dragon” chives came the beef hor fun. It was constructed like Geylang Lor 9 beef hor fun – separately stir-fried hor fun poured with a sticky, savoury beef sauce. Instead of browned rice noodles, their version was served with crispy white(!!) hor fun mixed with stir-fried hor fun that was equally tasty. It came with slices of wagyu short ribs that looked like they have seared and topped with a sous vide egg. Then a flask of truffle-infused sauce was poured on the hor fun.

松露和牛河粉 / Wagyu Truffle Beef Hor Fun

Everyone got a small bowl of the wonderful noodles. With premium A4 Kagoshima wagyu beef slices and a thick and viscous truffle sauce, this isn’t your typical bowl of beef hor fun. It was full of truffle fragrance and the hor fun has the smokiness of wok hei and truffles combined. It was the best hor fun I had in years. It was so good, I order one more portion to takeaway.

酱蟹肉炒饭 / XO Crab Fried Rice

Stir fried rice with crab meat and dried scallop XO sauce
酱蟹肉炒饭 / XO Crab Fried Rice

While the rice noodles can be shared among 6 persons because of the intensity in flavours, the fried rice looked like it was just enough for one person.

龙虾扇贝脆面 / Lobster Crispy Noodles

Crispy “shen mian” noodles with lobster, scallops, bokchoy topped with a house special garlic and seafood stock gravy
龙虾扇贝脆面 / Lobster Crispy Noodles

I enjoyed the food so much that I ordered a takeaway treat for my Princess. A photogenic dish of a whole juicy spiny lobster served on a bed if crispy sheng mee, further topped with house special seafood gravy. It tasted like a very thick and sticky Hokkien prawn noodle stock. It could also pass off as lobster bisque.

The Decor

Hidden behind the fridge door of an unassuming local cafe, The Dragon Chamber is an immersive, one-of-a-kind hidden restaurant, reminiscent of old-time Chinatown gambling dens and secret society hangouts.

Dodgy back alley with red lanterns and neons housed legal brothels, and these decors reminded me of that colourful place I called my playground.

The psychedelic colours reminded me of my childhood growing up in Geylang – the part of Singapore that was not described in any Lonely Planet guides.

Even if you don’t read Chines, you can guess which one is the Gents and which one is for Ladies.

Interior decoration was unabashed tacky and played on the Chinese triads influence. Our American friends would call them “speakeasy”, we call them scary. The General Tso image was the King of Hell. The neon colours looked they came out of a Chinese horror movie.

Opened till 12am daily on a normal, you can also come here for drinks. Familiar classics are given a contemporary flair at The Dragon Chamber. But as it was Phase 3 of the Circuit Breaker, the group was limited to a max 8, and the drinks stop flowing at 10.30pm. So to maximise the turning of tables, there were two seatings, the first seating between 6-8pm, and the second from 8pm to closing.

The Dragon Chamber
2 Circular Road Singapore 049358
Tel : +65 6805 8181

Date Visited : Apr 2021

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