Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beng Hiang Restaurant (茗香菜馆) - Best Authentic Hokkien Cuisine? @ 112 - 116 Amoy Street [Singapore]

As a descendant of the Hokkien dialect group in Singapore, i have been exposed to Hokkien cuisine since i was borne, although i could not pinpoint exactly what the cuisine comprises of. Mom has a knack for learning how to cook from other Chinese dialect groups and incorporate whatever she feels delicious into our meals!

Therefore, when Kon suggested visiting the best Hokkien restaurant in Singapore, i was curious yet excited. It would be great to know finally (at the age of 32 if i may add) what authentic Hokkien cuisine really taste like!

I found the facade really familiar and it didn't take me long to realise i have been to Beng Hiang a long time ago (put it this way, the eldest child is now in secondary school) for a wedding banquet! Unfortunately, i could not remember much from that visit.

This was the scene at 8.10pm! A full house always implies good news whenever the Gang of Four tries a new food establishment; the chance that the food would taste horrible would likely be quite low.

The Great Kon knew precisely what to order and it was a matter of 10 minutes or so before the kitchen served the following on our table:

Fish Maw Thick Soup with Crab Meat
蟹肉鱼鳔羹
Advocates against shark's fins soup should request that major hotels and restaurants replace the common wedding dish with the fish maw soup from Beng Hiang.

Overflowing with ingredients like crab meat, the thick soup was incredibly flavourful and i would have gladly voted this over a bowl of shark's fins soup! 

Fried Sausage and Fried Prawn Balls
五香虾枣
My mom's Hae Zou (Hokkien for 虾枣) is legendary and a comparison was required. To put it succinctly, this would be a battle between the housewife and the chef! 

The winner goes to Mom! The chef's deep fried prawn balls had a spicier twang to them but the lower prawn ratio had resulted in a drier filling that could only be remedied with the sweet sauce. 

Fried Oysters with Eggs
香脆蚝煎
A popular dish among diners, i expected a lot for this oyster omelette after the massive drop in standard for my favorite stall in Kuala Lumpur. First, i could not comment much on the pulpy-looking oysters since i don't take them. 

Disappointing would be appropriate to describe the oyster omelette here. It was way too oily, way too starchy with a crispiness that was simply put, fried for far too long! 

Traditional Hokkien Noodles
焖福建面
Dripping with savory dark sauce, this plate of noodles is a standard offering for tze char stalls in Singapore. It was actually quite delicious even though when we analyzed deeper, it would not have much differentiation from a good tze char stall in the heartlands.

It might turn out better if the deep fried shallots are replaced with crispy pork lard! Oh gosh, i seem to enjoy putting the sinful pork lard in anything! 

Steamed Bread with Braised Brisket
扣肉花包 aka Kong Ba Pau
Beng Hiang's signature dish; i was again wondering how theirs would match against the all time favourite Kong Ba Pau from Westlake. 

The other three members loved the braised pork while i wasn't that convinced. My personal preference is a sauce that had a sweeter sensation whereas the Kong Ba in Beng Hiang was marginally more salty. 

Furthermore, the steamed buns were not as pillow-soft as those from Westlake. Having said these, my view represented merely 25% of the Gang's vote! 

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Location
112-116 Amoy Street

Map
As above [red star]

Opening Hours
Opens Daily from Monday-Sunday
Lunch: 11.30am to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.00pm to 9.30pm

Reservation
Call 6221-6695 or 6221-6684

Website (includes menu)

Price
Fish Maw Thick Soup w Crab Meat - S$28
Fried Sausage n Fried Prawn Balls - S$8
Fried Oysters w Eggs - S$12
Traditional Hokkien Noodles- S$12
Kong Ba Pau - S$15
[Subject to GST Only. No Service Charge]

Additional Information
It's already nice to know that no service charge (normally 10% of total bill) was imposed but it was a pleasant surprise to find a bowl of complementary red bean soup at the end of the meal! 

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