pretty good heng hwa food at this rather out-the-way eatery swamped with regulars. heng hwa food is tremendously difficult to find (other than my favorite putien, which is considerably mainstream), and we basically ran into a rut after our favorite restaurant at beach road closed down.
with this one though, you have something a little more like the local version of heng hwa food (as opposed to the beach road one, which served up what seemed to be more mainland-chinese heng hwa) – very homestyle, very simple, but plenty tasty and flavorful. it’s completely without frills, and the very sort of establishment in which you get cantankerous service from old ladies who couldn’t be less bothered about what you want.
it’s an old-school space – clearly old, but pretty well-maintained and clean – and it draws large crowds and long queues at dinnertime (when I was there). come early to get seated without much wait, and the menu is small enough that you can pretty much order (nearly) everything as a family of four – the easier to make your minds up quickly.
the menu is essentially half carby fill-ya-ups and half dishes, which includes this plate of deep fried prawn fritters (of the thick batter quality), traditional fried batang fish fillets (always a favorite with the oldies), and very delicious harcheonggai (or chicken marinated in prawn-paste and fried to a golden brown).
it’s a little on the greasy and salty side, but the dishes are pretty decent.
fried kailan stems (of the brassica/ kale family) with garlic were shiny and tender, and went very well with the traditional fried mee we ordered – pictured above. the noodles were thick and soft, topped with slices of pork and the traditional condiments of peanuts and fried seaweed – really an impressive forever-eatable plate that’ll make you retract your no-carb resolutions.
we finished with a double order of clams cooked in a mildly chili sauce, thin-shelled specimens with small but plump bits of seafood-sweet flesh.
at the end of it – I do prefer putien a little more: the combination of modern ambience, convenience and good food wins. but this place – it’s a traditional family-style restaurant full of heritage, and definitely worth a go if you want a change from the rather generically cantonese dining scene singapore has – just go early, and order quick.
Ming Chung Restaurant
67 Maude Road (off Jalan Besar)
tel +65 6296 3428
$$: 15-30 per person