This ain’t the first time I try Qi Ji, but let me start this post with their Laksa. They have two prices for Laksa, the first, $4.20, comes without prawn, just the standard cockles along with tau pok, fish cakes, egg, and what I believe to be shredded chives. The second is what I ordered here, $5.20 with added prawns.
I won’t say $5.20 is cheap, hence I expected some quality here. Notably, the ingredients here is considerably sumptuous as compare to many food court or hawker center stalls elsewhere, and we also need to factor in the costly rental in the locations they settled. The spicy broth is at least delightful, as with the comprehensive quantity and quality of the ingredients present, with the prawns used being relatively large ones. For such price, it’s more worth than what you can get from Toastbox and Heavenly Wang. The former was mediocre with their quality, the latter is so pathetic that I don’t even want to blog about it. All three franchise are selling their laksa about the same price.
Qi Ji’s popiah is their signature dish. Their ingredients include ‘homemade’ sweet and chili sauces, garlic, lettuce, bean sprouts, crispy bits, egg, prawn, parsley and turnip. When I first tried them after a one-hour drive home, I feel the finished item lacked cohesive character. It’s like eating all those ingredients by themselves, and I believe the main flaw is their ‘homemade’ sweet sauce. However, when I eventually beat their lunch queue and eat on the spot, it tastes very much better. I suspect their sweet sauce dried up after a while and somewhat rendered the popiah’s bland in taste. In addition, whoever behind that counter preparing your popiah makes a significant difference too! Anyway, I can’t emphasise enough how I hate the term ‘homemade’ is misused. It’s their own recipe, ok fine, but was it made in any of their staffs’ home or at the premise itself? No. Anyway, the popiah I bought comes with prawns. For $2.80, you get to choose whether you want prawn or chicken filling. There’s a plain version (neither prawn nor chicken) which cost just $2.20.
Qi Ji has two versions of Mee Rebus, the conventional one selling at $4, while their deluxe version costing another $1.80 more. You probably won’t see the chicken cutlet and deep fried fish cake on the conventional version, for that, the price may look somewhat expensive. However, that doesn’t take away how great their noodles taste. Their gravy wasn’t as thick as I’ve tried elsewhere, but the calamasi fragrance was powerful, making it overall a very appetising meal. I don’t usually find the chicken cutlet and fish cake tasty, but complementing their mee rebus, I found the chemistry works to a tee!
Qi Ji has since upgraded their Laksa menu, there are no more cockles, replacing with clams. And they are now serving brown rice mee hoon (thick vermicelli) with their Laksa (option: noodle) instead. With that healthy upgrades, a price rise of mere 10⊄ is more than reasonable.