alright-ish teochew food at this old-school place in the old neighborhood of whampoa. I’m predicting that this neighborhood is bound to be the next frontier for the hipsters in town – it’s got the old blocks with space below for shops, a major demographic of old people who are likely to be confused by all these retro-copycat teenagers, and is just about remote enough.
that aside, this place is serious old school. it feels of the same sort of age-quality as fatty weng, but where your grandparents might have headed there for birthday celebrations and the like, they might have come here for those banquet-style digs.
the food though, is pretty alright. nothing spectacular or particularly interesting, but decent all the same.
in all fairness, I’m cantonese – which means that this definitely isn’t the food I ate growing up, and so don’t have nearly the same sort of affection for (as I did with fatty weng). teochew food is a blander, simpler subset of the more grand umbrella that is cantonese cuisine – so the opportunity for impression is likely far less.
we started with a mixed platter of appetisers with all the usual suspects: century egg wedges with pickled ginger, fried slices of ngoh hiang (a minced pork mixture rolled tight in a beancurd skin), wedding-dinner-style jellyfish (by which I mean it’s got an insipid sweet-chilli seasoning), and fried spring rolls. this was okay, but really – if you’ve been to a chinese wedding, you’ve had this before.
steamed promfret with preserved greens and a clear broth is a teochew staple, as are the slices of braised goose that followed. the first was simple and fresh, the second slightly tougher than I’d have liked – both dishes are on the more muted side of the flavor spectrum (probably the result of both design and execution).
the sauteed greens sprinkled with fried tiny white fish was far tastier, but almost too-salty in comparison to the rest of the food, and cooked slightly oily – rather past al dente – probably the weakest dish.
I rather liked the sweet and sour pork though, with the slices thinner than they usually are – it wins over chunkier untender cuts, and the cubed vegetables in here had the crunch I was hoping for in the vegetable dish.
it’s almost mandatory – exceptions to be filtered up to the grand elders for disapproval – to finish a teochew meal with orh nee, a mash of yam with flowing lard stirred in and topped with gingko nuts. this wasn’t a great rendition – and was rather too oily – not worth the stomach space.
I wasn’t terribly enamored of this meal; it wouldn’t be a problem coming back, but I wouldn’t suggest it for there are better restaurants out there serving the same sort of food (this one here is decent, with stronger flavors). probably a better choice if you had to cater for a family dinner in the area – but I can’t quite imagine another situation in which this would come up top choice.
YuanXing ChaoZhou Restaurant Pte Ltd
(near Boon Keng MRT)
#01-01 Blk 34 Whampoa West
tel +65 6223 0888, +65 6293 3274
$$.5: more than thirty a head, averagely