If you crave heritage dishes but are too busy to cook from scratch, get the frozen ready-to-eat products from Gim Tim. Popular items are Braised Pork Belly ($14.80), Hakka Abacus Seeds ($11.80) and Salted Kampong Chicken ($17.80), which make pretty luxurious meals at home and are befitting of festive feasting.
Founded in 1975, Gim Tim started as a catering business and then expanded to a restaurant which specialises in Hokkien and Cantonese dishes. It moved to its current premises at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 in 1989.
The frozen products are prepared by chefs at the restaurant and offer plenty of value. All you need to do is reheat the food according to the instructions.
Salted Kampong Chicken comes as a whole chicken which needs to be thawed and then steamed for 15 minutes. It is best to chop it up as the meat, while still springy, is not soft enough to pull apart with a serving spoon. To get it more tender, steam the chicken longer.
Do not discard the liquid at the bottom of your steaming dish as it goes well with plain rice. You can also drizzle it over the chicken.
The chicken – marinated with a host of spices including sand ginger powder, black cardamom, star anise and bay leaf – is aromatic and flavoursome without the spices overwhelming the meat's natural flavour.
Braised Pork Belly comes in six pieces and with six buns. I could taste the five spice powder, oyster sauce and soya sauce in the gravy. The buns do not come with reheating instructions, but after thawing, steam them for two to three minutes.
What requires a little more work to reheat are the Hakka Abacus Seeds. The instructions say to boil the seeds for 10 seconds, but I do so for almost a minute until they are floating. Then add a tablespoon of oil to a non-stick pan, throw in the minced meat mixture, abacus seeds and sauce. There seems to be too much liquid in the sauce, but you can use high heat to reduce it.
I can taste yam in the abacus seeds, while the sliced cuttlefish and dried prawn lend savoury seafood flavours. I like the crunch from the black fungus strips. My only gripe is the tasteless dried beancurd strips, which I would have preferred to be left out.
Another top seller is Deep-fried Prawn Dumplings ($16.80). Thaw them and put them in the air-fryer for 15 minutes. The perfectly golden beancurd skin is too salty, but the filling has good crunch from coarsely chopped pieces of water chestnut.
More filling could be used or the rolls can be wrapped more tightly so the filling does not taste like it is lacking.
Where: 01-546, Block 157 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4
Info: To order, go to this website. There is islandwide delivery, with delivery charges ranging from $8 to $15. Self-collection is from 11am to 9pm.
Healthier snacks from V:Pantry