Kok Sen Restaurant – Honest Cze Char Classics at Keong Saik Road
Keong Saik Road has been one of the best-known red light districts in the 60s and is a place where the towkays (bosses) keep their mistresses. But now, the brothels have been replaced with fashionable café, restaurants, lifestyle shops and boutique hotels. Thankfully, some heritage still stand and one of them is Kok Sen Restaurant (國成球記菜社).
This is one of the few cze char places that uses chopped chicken chunks for the Prawn Paste Chicken ($12 / $18 / $24) instead of the wings. It’s well seasoned and deep fried till perfection. But some of my friends prefer to eat the mid wings instead.
You can spot the Big Prawns Hor Fun ($16 / $32 / $48) in almost every table at Kok Sen. Seldom will you find large prawns in your hor fun. But what we love more is the delicious gravy that is slathered over the slightly charred hor fun. With red chilli added to the sedup brown sauce, it is thickened with raw egg and it’s sooooo good that I can just drink it on its own. Each ribbon of hor fun has some smoky flavours of wok hei and soaks up the gravy.
Their Claypot Yong Tau Fu ($14 / $21 / $28) comes with assorted pieces of beancurd, eggplant, capsicums stuffed with fish and prawn paste drenched with a brown braising sauce. They made their own squid and prawn paste to stuff the yong tau foo, hence it has more bite.
I like their Bittergourd Braised Pork Ribs with Black Bean Sauce ($13 / $20 / $26) more as the ingredients are braised long enough to create that umami robust flavours. Cooked till soft, the bittergourd is mildly bitter infused with the rich flavours of black bean sauce. It works and I ordered a bowl of rice specially for this dish.
Dining here does not burn a hole in the pocket. But my advice is, never come here during special occasions or weekend dinner because you will probably get impatient with the waiting time and the less-than-perfect service. Nevertheless, you cannot deny that Kok Sen does pretty good, honest Cantonese cze cha classics.
Kok Sen Restaurant
Address: 30-32 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089137
Tel: +65 6223 2005
Opening Hours: 12pm to 2.30pm; 5pm to 11.30pm
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