Review: Traditional Meets the Contemporary at Esplanade's Jiak Modern Tzechar

Review: Traditional Meets the Contemporary at Esplanade's Jiak Modern Tzechar

Enjoy delicious halal tze char made modern at Singapore's Esplanade bay

If a restaurant has the word ‘Jiak’ (that’s Hokkien for “to eat”) in it, you can be assured that the food they serve will not disappoint. In fact, Jiak Modern Tzechar’s philosophy is to bring people together around a table and enjoy a delicious tze char meal.

Established first in 2016 in the Hillview area, Jiak Modern Tzechar’s aim is to introduce traditional tze char (a Hokkien term used to describe Chinese kopitiam food stalls that provide a wide array of affordable Halal dishes reminiscent to home-cooked meals) to the Muslim population in Singapore. 

When you step into their second outlet at The Esplanade, you’ll be greeted by the friendly staff over the gentle sounds of bossa nova. And, as you settle down, enjoy the view of the Singapore River and The Esplanade’s Outdoor Theatre, where free performances are held every now and then. Good food with good views? Not a bad deal, really.

If you’re here to watch a concert, the restaurant has thoughtfully curated pre-show set menus to ensure that you’ll get to your performance on time and with a belly full of good food as well!

Signature Fish Head Curry. Photo: Atiqah Rosle

Their Signature Fish Head Curry ($26) is an undisputed Jiak favourite, prepared with freshly picked fish head and garden vegetables. The dish is served hot in a clay pot, and the aroma emanating from the bubbling curry is sure to help whet your appetite. The meat from the fish, being fresh, is sweet and firm, and further enhances the curry, which, unlike its Indian counterpart, is lighter on the palate.

Claypot Golden Chicken. Photo: Atiqah Rosle

When in Jiak, don’t forget to also try out their Claypot Golden Chicken ($12 for small, $18 for medium). Chunks of chicken have been fried to perfect crispiness before being smothered in a sweet and sour Thai-inspired sauce as well as chilli padi.

The tze char classics. Photo: Atiqah Rosle

If you’re wondering whether the restaurant serves up the tze char classics as well, of course they do! Indulge in the likes of Sambal Kangkong ($8 for a small, $12 for a medium), a blend of salty belacan (shrimp paste) and spicy chilli that pairs well with their Seafood Fried Rice ($6 for a medium, $12 for a large), featuring plump prawns and slices of squid. If that’s not enough for you, get the sizzling Hotplate Beancurd ($12 for a small, $18 for a medium), a dish that contains mixed vegetables, tofu, and seafood. 

After all that flavourful food, take a seat back and sip from their extensive Jiak beverage creations. Their combination of drink and dessert beverages such as their Longan Soda Fizz with Red Tea Jelly ($3.80) and Iced Calpis Soda Fizz with Red Tea Jelly ($5) takes on tradition - much like the restaurant’s traditional meets contemporary concept. This time around, they’re spins on the jelly desserts we so often see in kopitiams and hawker centres. If you’re not a fan of jelly desserts, however, Jiak has a selection of mocktails and even kopitiam staples such as the Homemade Chrysanthemum Tea ($2.50), Homemade Iced Lemon Tea ($2.50) and Homemade Barley ($2.50).

Jiak Modern Tzechar is best experienced when you’re in a big gathering- their portions are generous, even for the ones that have been listed as small! So, if you’re on the lookout for a place to have a get-together with friends or family, or if you’re planning to meet the parents of your partner for the first time ever (good luck with that!), Jiak is one the options that you can consider. 

Address: 8 Raffles Avenue #02-14 Esplanade Mall Singapore (039802)

Tel: +65 6884 6884

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