Xing Hua Family Restaurant (兴化府美食)
102 Towner Rd #01-27
T: +65 6299 5585
My uncle & aunt flew over from the UK to visit us, and to uphold the pride & honor of Hokkien descent, it was only natural that we’d have to feed them some classics from varied factions of the ancestral province.
Besides, being an avid traveler myself, I’d say there really hasn’t been much presence of true blue Hokkien cuisines in the western continent. Heng Hwa is a coastal region off Pu Tian that sits perched on the south-eastern rim of mainland. Hence, it’s quite obvious that derivatives of seafood dishes take up quite a fair bit of the menu.
Starters to whet the appetite is unlike most Cantonese influenced diners. 4 saucers of classics laid before us; Crispy Sundried Seaweed Wafers, Sautéed Sea Moss, Blanched Deep Fried Tofu, Pickled Bamboo Shoots.
Stir Fried Rice Vermicelli In Seafood Bisque – Awestruck is the word that comes to mind, when I panned the table to observe everyone’s expression. This being the opening already struck home with everyone, brows raised, conversation froze, while everyone savors from their respective bowls. No trace of grease laced vermicelli and no sight of lumped vermicelli. The bisque was delicious, and has a tinge of natural sweet aftertaste. Prawns and clams were fresh & nicely done, while the seaweed & peanut topping added some dynamics to the fragrance & crunch factor.
Chinese Spinach with Century Egg – though I’d claim myself to be a meatarian, I must confess that the spinach was also nicely done. The taste from the century egg didn’t dull that taste of the fresh green, and there’s no trace of raw grassy bitterness.
Stir Fried Seafood with Ultra-Thin Rice Vermicelli (Dry) – this too is another bragging right that Heng Hwa – Hokkien descent can boldly boast. It’s not every day that anyone can find the ultra-thin rice vermicelli, let alone hone the skills to deliver this dish that was swept clean within minutes. The rice vermicelli are light, smooth & easy to manage. They don’t fracture or break when the chopsticks are employed, and not even greasy. And the presence of seafood goodness remains consistent through to the last bite.
Prawns with Chinese Herbal Sauce in a Bamboo Column – seems familiar, yet unfamiliar. the unique difference is, this dish was truly herbal, and there wasn’t trace of overbearing alcoholic presence, that’s commonly experienced in many Chinese diners.
Bucket of Clams in Rice Wine Sauce – now this little bucket was pretty interesting. The clams are neatly lined up vertical, chunky bits of ginger & spring onions, lined on top, while the clams were evidently bathing in a light colored soup. And when you bite into the clams, you taste natural sweetness, and not drowned by the alcohol.
Signature Seafood Pa-Mee (aka Smack Noodles) – the texture of the noodles reminds me of egg noodles, except this was lighter because its rice flour based. The soup is slightly thicker than norm (but not viscous), in lieu of the starch that comes from the noodles. Nothing is left wasted, good to the last scoop… literally to the last drop.
Sugar Coated Taro ‘Golden Nuggets’ – these are deep fried golden brown taro cubes, coated with a layer of crystalized sugar that glistens. The taro nuggets weren’t soggy, neither crunchy. The piping hot taro is easily accessed, once the teeth break through the thin sugar crust.
Do not expect pricing to be that of your neighborhood tzechar stall, for the dishes do require unique skill sets that impress. However, if you appreciate good food with good culinary skills, and a simple setting. You will concur that this is worth every penny.