Lai Lai Taiwan Casual Dining has legit beef noodles
Such is the popularity of Taiwanese food that there are always new places to check out. Lai Lai Taiwan Casual Dining at City Square Mall has amassed more than 400 reviews and a 4.2 star rating on Google Maps at the time of writing, and yet the first time I heard of the place was when I was assigned to review this place a week ago.
Not that I’m complaining, though—I do enjoy discovering places for a legit bowl of lu rou fan and other Taiwanese eats. And so I dropped by Lai Lai with a friend to find out if the restaurant was any good.
Food at Lai Lai Taiwan Casual Dining
We started with the Stewed Beef Noodle ($14.90++), which is the restaurant’s signature dish. It arrived in a rather sizeable bowl which showcased the generous amount of ingredients.
Before we can talk about the ingredients, we first need to talk about the broth, the essential ingredient in any noodle soup dish. This one was a bit of a mixed bag—though it was aromatic and had a nice spicy kick that lingered in the back of the throat, the soup tasted strangely watered down and lacked that savouriness that one would come to expect from a beef-based broth.
The noodles were thick and pleasant to chew on. It was unfortunate that the broth they absorbed wasn’t all that flavourful.
The pieces of beef floating in the broth, however, were stellar. Juicy, succulent, and with bits of gelatinous tendon, these meaty chunks checked all the boxes for good beef. The fact that there was a decent amount of beef in the bowl made it even better.
Our next dish was the Braised Pork Rice ($9.90++), AKA the classic lu rou fan.
Unlike the beef in the previous dish, the pork belly pieces in this dish were a little more hit or miss. Some pieces were juicy and had a perfect meat-to-fat-ratio, but others were tough and dry.
Still, it was nice to eat the pork along with the fluffy pearl rice, braised peanuts, and hard-boiled egg. Not a perfect rendition of lu rou fan, but a satisfying enough one.
We wanted to try some Taiwanese snacks, too, and decided on the Taiwan Pancake ($9.90++), AKA dan bing.
This was downright addictive. With crispy pancake on the outside, savoury pork floss and cheese on the inside, I had to resist the urge to other another helping of the dish. It was admittedly a little oily, though, but it absolutely nailed it in the flavour and texture departments.
Ambience at Lai Lai Taiwan Casual Dining
Lai Lai Taiwan Casual Dining is simply furnished, yet spacious and comfortable—all you need for a casual dining setting. The restaurant does fill up its seats quite quickly during peak hours, so do go early if you want to avoid the crowd.
The restaurant is a five-minute walk from Farrer Park MRT Station.
An eatery that serves decent-to-good Taiwanese eats, Lai Lai Taiwan Casual Dining is worth checking out if you’re a fan of the cuisine. It’s far from the best of its kind, but it definitely has a number of solid dishes to offer.
Address: 180 Kitchener Road, #03-39/40, City Square Mall, Singapore 208539
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 10pm
Tel: 6509 5626
Lai Lai Taiwan Casual Dining is not a halal-certified eatery.
Photos taken by Ke-ian J Leong.
This was an independent review by Eatbook.sg.