Tar Pau Nation: Birds Of A Feather a good catch with free delivery

Clockwise from top left: Find The Chicken In The Chilis, Fried Crispy Pig's Intestines and King Prawns Noodle (soup with rice noodles packed separately). ST PHOTO: WONG AH YOKE

SINGAPORE - While it is great that many hawkers now provide islandwide delivery, the high price for the convenience often makes me pause before hitting the order button. It's hard to justify paying a $12 delivery fee, for example, for a $5 bowl of noodles unless it's something I have a strong craving for.

There are also stalls that require a minimum order of $40. What am I going to do with eight bowls of noodles that are not going to keep for more than a day? Even with a family of four, every member would have to finish two bowls each.

So thank goodness for places that waive the delivery charge, especially if it's a lauded restaurant like Birds Of A Feather in Amoy Street. The six-year-old eatery serves Western dishes with a Sichuan profile, but many of the offerings in its delivery menu are more Asian.

Prices are not cheap but neither are they outrageous. The $50 minimum order required should get you enough food for two persons - with the money saved on delivery paying for an extra dish.

Noodle soups work well if you do not mind the extra step of heating them up at home. I always prefer a bowl of piping hot soup to one that's lukewarm. Also, the thick rice noodles, which are packed separately, tend to clump together rather quickly, so you need to stir them into boiling soup to loosen them.

If you like spicy food, get the King Prawns Noodle ($15.90) that comes with three mid-sized crunchy prawns that are shelled. The broth packs a lot of heat, but is very appetising.

But you find your mouth starting to burn after a while, so a side dish is good if you need to cool things down. For me, the Fried Crispy Pig's Intestines ($6.50) does the job very well.

It is not a dish that is found on many restaurant menus because it takes a lot of work to clean the intestines to remove the funky taste, leaving them with a characteristic but not unpleasant flavour that appeals to ardent fans like me.

I tried this dish recently at Sichuan Alley, a casual eatery belonging to the same owners, and the delivery version is as good. Even at the restaurant, the fried intestines do not get very crispy and they suffer little from having to take a trip to my home. They are stuffed with leeks, which are very sweet and add a new dimension to the innards.

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I cannot resist getting my favourite dish from Birds Of A Feather called Find The Chicken In The Chillis ($17), which is a fancy name for laziji, a popular Sichuan dish. But it turns out to be a bad idea.

The dish comprises deep-fried diced chicken tossed in heaps of dried chillies with garlic, scallion and cashew nuts. But during the journey, the chicken has lost most of the crispiness that makes it so delightful. It's still tasty, but I think I will order it only when I'm dining in.

Birds Of A Feather

Where: 115 Amoy Street, tel: 6221-7449
How to order: Go to their website; minimum order of $50 for delivery
Delivery charge: Free
4 stars

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