Cafe de Hong Kong – Excellent HK Eatery for Live Big Grouper & French Toast
It seems like the city is running out of hidden gems and hole-in-the-wall places that make us fall in love. But if you look closely enough, you might just be able to find your new favourite eatery, nestled securely behind a busy street. If you’re in the mood for live big grouper and authentic Hong Kong cuisine, you need to check out Cafe de Hong Kong in Balestier.
There is no other place in Singapore that I would have authentic HK style meals than Cafe De Hong Kong. It is probably one of my best kept secrets for excellent Cantonese food. Francis is from Hong Kong himself, and has managed to garner a strong following. His eatery sees a stream of regular diners everyday.
The menu is, in my opinion, too vast. Cantonese favourites such as scrambled egg prawns, typhoon shelter crab, and even French toast can be found here.
The new chef, who used to work in a popular Cantonese restaurant in Singapore, stays true to the cuisine’s authentic flavours. They have also recently introduced new dishes which incorporate live big grouper. If you think it’s like eating your usual steamed snapper, you are wrong. This fish is quite different from the fish that you eat everyday.
The HK Steamed Garouper Fish Head ($22) is so gelatinous. It was dark and mottled on the outside and delicate within. The familiar preparation was simple and effective — the fish is steamed until the flesh seemed to quietly exhale. This was a reminder of how satisfying a meal can be when you know where to go. As with all Hong Kong cooking, the seasonings generally are light, to accentuate the natural flavour of the ingredients. In this case, you need fresh fish to be able to get it right.
Part of the beauty of a meal here is experiencing the different flavours of Cantonese cuisine. We started from something light, and moved to more saucy dishes such as Steamed Grouper Fish in Nonya Sauce and Braised Fish Head With Bitter Gourd in Black Bean Sauce.
Being a huge fan of bitter gourd, this is a dish that I can never resist. The fresh and meaty pieces of fish are first patted lightly in cornflour and then deep fried. This seals in the freshness and juiciness of the fish meat, and the mildly, spicy and salty black bean sauce just clings to the slightly starchy coating. Each piece of tender fish has a good meaty bite.
Both good to pair with rice, each dish is reasonably priced at only $22. Cafe de Hong Kong doesn’t charge you based on seasonal price nor weight, it’s a standard $22 per plate. You can’t beat that!
Other seafood dishes available include freshly cooked scallops that only cost $3.50 each! Served with a small bed of vermicelli and fried garlic, the salty briny taste from the molluscs paired well with the aromatic garlic.
If you need something lighter, especially on rainy days, the Fish Head Beehoon Soup ($22) and Braised Fish Slice Beehoon ($22) are good options.
Instead of white rice, I like to pair my dishes with CDHK Fish Roe Fried Rice ($10). Every mouthful is so light and crunchy— you feel as though the fish roe was dancing with the rice during the frying process. There’s a nice wok hei, and we love it so much that we usually go for the large portion. Other dishes which I always order include Roast Chicken, and Charcoal Tofu.
You need to save some space for their French Toast and Hong Kong milk tea. The thick toast is spread with peanut butter and deep fried till golden brown, and finished off with maple syrup and a slab of butter. The combination of crisp exterior and soft pillowy interior makes it a perfect dessert after a heavy meal. This is the best Hong Kong French Toast you can find in Singapore.
It’s time to take a break from your usual crowded Chinese restaurants and check out this hidden gem. Cafe de Hong Kong is the kind of restaurant that warrants repeat visits, as there are so many excellent dishes for you to try. In addition, the service is intimate to a point that Francis remembered I ordered an extra serving of fish head bitter gourd for my grandfather. “Would you like to take away a portion for your grandfather today?” How can I reject such great service?
Located along Balestier Road, right across the famous tau sar piah place, this hole-in-the-wall eatery continues to dish out fantastic Cantonese Cuisine. Each dish embodies the skills and care of the chefs. Don’t worry about the lack of parking space, because there are ample lots along Ah Hood Road (beside EASB, East Asia Institute of Management).
Cafe de Hong Kong
Address: 586 Balestier Road #01-01, Singapore 329898
Phone: 6255 3865
Opening Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays: 11.30am to 2.30pm; 5.30pm to 9.30pm. Closed on Mondays.