Gyoza is the side dish for ramen, but in Taiwan gyoza is a meal by itself. These inexpensive pan-fried dumplings can be found everywhere. And I saw its shadows at the basement of Raffles City.
There’s no sit-down place for this outlet for Royal Bafang 御八方 so everyone orders and waits patiently at the side for the food to be ready. When it was opened a month earlier, we could not even get into the queue because everything was sold out by 3 pm. I guess the initial euphoria has died down a bit. We will get our pan-fried gyozas and dumpling in around 25 min.
There was something about these pan-fried gyozas, also known as potstickers 锅贴, that I could not described with actual words, but it was not the same as the ones from Taiwan that Princess and I have came to love. First filling was quite little and the skin was not crispy. I dismissed it as inconsistency in cooking between places.
I ordered a portion of the traditional chives and pork dumplings 韭菜猪肉水饺 which were cooked by boiling in hot water. The filing was quite bland, and the dumpling skin was soggy and thick. Very different from the ones I had in Taiwan, but similar to ones in China Northeastern region.
The sweet and sour soup 酸辣汤 was nice and full of stuff. Vegetarians would love the amount of enoki, bblack fungus, tofu, carrot in the soup if they can get past by the egg drop. This was the only item I really enjoyed. But I found a bit of the packaging the soup. Sloppy.
Braised minced pork rice 卤肉饭 is a must-eat street food in Taiwan and there’s the famous Formosa Chang to thank for popularising it outside of Taiwan. But this is not the Taiwanese lor bak peng that we were familiar with. There’s a weird bitter burnt taste to the braised meat. And the ones from Taiwan do not usually have mushrooms, which explained the burnt bitter taste.
Not quite from Taiwan
Despite the media and the name and the packaging, Royal Bafang 御八方 is a knock-off of the famous brand Bafang Dumplings 八方云集. After a bit of researching (just Google), Royal Bafang is a franchise from Chengdu. They kept the traditional Chinese characters on their packing and mimicked everything. The latter is a listed franchise group that made its fortune selling those cheap gyozas at every high school bus stops and night markets.
The taste was not exactly right. The gyoza was not crispy, the dumpling was not the original Taiwan style, and the only thing they did decently was the tea braised eggs 茶叶蛋, which ironically was not sold at the real Bafang.
They say copying is the best form of flattery, but it is also a whisker away from copyright infringement. However dumplings are a traditional Chinese snack so no one can claim they owned it. Consumer will judge by the taste and consistency. If they keep at this, they will not last long anyway. And perhaps the real Bafang can come to Singapore then.
Date Visited : Nov 2021
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