It is a given fact that Singaporeans are curious foodies. We tend to want to check out new food places that have just launched. Especially ones that have been widely advertised by various more well-established media companies.
We are no strangers to snaking queues outside food establishments, and are indifferent when told of the long waiting times.
Huoyanshaiziniu Beef Cubes
This is no different at Huoyanshiziniu. When they first launched in early February, there was a crowd almost every time I was in the area. Undeterred, I continued keeping an eye open for when there was less of a queue. Finally, when my curiosity and hunger got the better of me, and I too joined the craze and ordered a portion.
It was 7pm, dinnertime, and I was hungry. From word of mouth I learnt that there was a rice set option available, and I decided to go with that. Taking into account that it was dinnertime, it came as a nice surprise to me that there was not much of a queue. Maybe just 3 couples ahead of me.
I soon found out why.
“Sorry, we are out of rice.”
The first thoughts that ran through my head was along the lines of, “If you guys are not selling rice during dinner hours, then what exactly are you guys selling for dinner?”
A hungry man is an angry man, and the hunger in my stomach needed satiating, so I just got the regular beef cubes before I turned into She-Hulk.
Whilst waiting for my serving, I learnt that the beef was Angus Ribeye beef from Australia. And as I watched customer after customer receive their purchases in that dinky takeaway box, I wondered if that $6.90 price tag justified the cost of imported beef.
Excuse me, I did not order that
At the first bite, the beef was juicy and addictive. But at the second, third and fourth bite, I realised how well-done the beef was. It was overcooked.
Maybe I picked an “accidental” cube. I scooped another one, and nope, still as overly cooked.
Don’t get me wrong, I really liked the juiciness of the snack. But the fact that it was too well-done spoiled the overall impression of it.
Besides the beef being too well-done, I realised that in that meagre portion that I was served, some chunks of “beef” turned out to be just FAT. I mean, some fat was alright, but the entire, I mean ENTIRE cube was just a hunk of beef fat.
Excuse me, I that was not what I asked for in my order.
Still not getting why people are willing to pay close to $7 for overdone beef, I did some research of my own.
I went back the next day at about 3pm, and ordered the same thing. This time there was more of a queue, but the beef still tasted like a letdown. At this point I figured the cook might have been grilling the beef on the grill for too long before blowtorching it. Thus making it too well-done (and not well done in a good way).
As with most other Millennials, I dove into social media for more answers. From the pictures and reviews, I figured that customers who loved the beef cubes were the ones who got them prepared medium rare (as was initially advertised by Huoyanshaiziniu). I can only imagine how awesome it tasted: soft, succulent beef with a lightly charred outside and a smoky flavour to go with it.
With the aftertaste of leftover disappointment, and an emptiness in my stomach, I can only conclude that the chefs at Huoyanshaiziniu need to serve more consistent portions if they want to keep their loyal customers coming back.