Ming Chung – Satisfying Henghua Food in Jalan Besar
Henghua is a minority Chinese dialect of the immigrants from Putian in Fujian province. The dialect and cuisine are closest to that of Foochow and Hokkien dialects, but is also unique in its own ways. As the province is located near the coast, ingredients such as sea weed, oysters, clams and other seafood are commonly used in Henghua cuisine.
Ming Chung has been preserving and whipping up authentic HengHua cuisine since 1933. The restaurant, which was started by the late Ho Ah Tong, a migrant from Putien in Fujian, China, has been passed down through three generations now. Catering to the Henghua immigrants’ cravings for home-style Henghua food, the restaurant became a meeting place of sorts for the local Henghua and Hokkien communities.
Ah Tong’s son, Ho Boon Lim, eventually took over the business and together with his wife and sons, continues to run the restaurant, serving the same perennial Henghua favourites. Most things have not changed. They are still serving the traditional thick noodles. We took a peek into the kitchen as the owner showed us the bamboo basket which he places the noodles on. Ming Chung used to make the noodles in-house with just flour and salt.
The Henghua Lor Mee (braised noodle) is a must-have for the regulars. Unlike the Hokkien’s dark sauce version, Henghua Lor Mee is cooked in a lighter and starchier broth that’s brimming with prawns, beancurd, lean meat, clams and vegetables. I like the smooth and slippery texture of the noodles. The addition of seafood made the broth delightfully sweet. Just a few drops of vinegar and you are all set!
Another famous Henghua dish is Fried Bee Hoon, which is also known as White Bee Hoon. The ingredients are similar to Henghua Lor mee, except that the thin vermicelli is stir-fried with fresh seafood, pork, and vegetables. It has a subtle smokiness which I enjoyed. It’s best eaten with their chilli sauce.
To pair with the noodles, you must order their Fried Batang fish (Spanish Mackerel). Marinated with soy sauce and deep fried till it is golden brown on the outside, the fish has that slightly briny taste, and deep savoury flavours from the soy sauce. Another popular dish is the Prawn Fritters. This dish brings back childhood memories as my grandpa used to bring this home after cooking at wedding dinners. I like the puffy and fluffy texture of the batter.
We also had the Stir-Fried Flower Clams that is served with their special homemade chilli sauce. You can taste the sweetness of the fresh clams which are coated with a sweet and garlicky chilli sauce. This goes well with a bowl of white rice. In addition, we also had the Kai Lan & Bean Curd Skin.
Authentic Heng Hua cuisine is really hard to find in Singapore these days. Ming Chung is a gem. We had a table of 7 and each of us paid just $19.
Ming Chung Restaurant (民眾菜館)
Address: 67 Maude Road, Singapore 208348
Phone: +65 62963428
Opening Hours: 3:00pm to 11:30pm (Closed on Mondays)
MissTamChiak.com paid its own meal at the stall featured here.
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