Beng Who Cooks – There’s a New Ah Beng in Town & He’s Cooking!
He may call himself the ‘Beng who cooks’, but he doesn’t really seem like an Ah Beng at all! Meet Jason Chua, the co-owner cum chef at Beng Who Cooks.
Jason got his moniker from his friends, who all claimed that he behaves like an ah beng. The straightforward 26-year-old was very willing to share his story.
During his childhood days, he would help out at his parents’ fruit shop. That was when he slowly realised that he had a passion for cooking. He then worked in a few restaurants in Singapore, grabbed an education in culinary arts, and opened his own hawker stall.
When asked why he wanted to start a hawker stall, Jason said that it was because it was the cheapest alternative to starting a restaurants or cafe.
The hawker shop is co-owned by two other Muslim partners. One of the two is Muhamad Ridhwan, a professional Singapore boxer.
His partners gave him quite a free rein on the dishes sold at the stall. This allows Jason to showcase his culinary talent fully. Jason said that he changes the menu every two to three months, to keep things fresh for returning customers.
The stall is known for their poke bowls, and Jason shared that he sees poke bowl as the modern version of chap chye png. He prepares and cooks a variety of different dishes, before assembling each dish on demand.
The ordering process is simple, and similar to the many other poke bowl eateries in Singapore. Ordering is done via an order chit.
The stall has two options — the Hawker Bowl ($6) or Towkay Bowl ($9). The Towkay bowl is basically an upgraded version of the Hawker bowl, which comes with a carbohydrate, a protein, two sides, a topping and sauce.
We tried the beef stew, which is braised for at least 24 hours. The meat was well flavoured and juicy, and wasn’t too stringy.
Another item under the protein section that might interest you is the Sweetheart Chicken Thigh, which is something very different from the usual chicken breast. The chunks of chicken thigh were tender, but were a tad under seasoned.
For sides, the fried tempeh was an interesting option. Tempeh is a very traditional Malay ingredient, which is nutty and savoury when fried. Other than that, the usual offerings of roasted cherry tomatoes, edamame and onsen egg can all be found.
Each bowl comes with a serving of sauce. The minty yoghurt, which reminded us very much of Indian raita, and Beng’s Salted Egg Sauce, an explosion of sweet and savoury notes, are great options. The addition of curry leaves in the salted egg sauce spiced things up a little as well.
Jason is well loved by his neighbours, who poke fun at him and bring him food. He does his fair part by making poke bowls for them, and chatting with them. I guess that’s the traditional ‘kampong spirit’ that used to be prevalent in our tiny nation. It’s great to see that this spirit still lives on!
Beng Who Cooks
Address: #01-44 Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, Blk 531A Upper Cross Street, Singapore 051531
Phone: 9353 1428
Opening Hours: Weekdays: 10am to 7.30pm, Saturdays: 10am to 3pm, closed on Sundays.
MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.