Pin Wei Chee Cheong Fan – Handmade Rice Rolls at Pek Kio Market
As I walked into Pek Kio market, I was greeted by a decent rendition of “城里的月光” that was being blasted from an old speaker. I glanced about and spotted the stall that I was here for. It wasn’t difficult to spot it, as there was a queue stemming from Pin Wei Chee Cheong Fan.
In our local scene, we generally have two kinds of chee cheong fan. The more common version is doused in a sweet sauce, and has a chewy texture. The other kind is a savory dish which you will likely find in a Hong Kong dim sum restaurant. It is covered in a light soya sauce, has a thinner skin, and usually encases a prawn or meat filling. Pin Wei Chee Cheong Fun sends out the latter.
The owner, 46-year-old Eddy Tan, has been making chee cheong fan for 8 years. He learnt his craft from his father who was a hawker as well. You would think that Eddy has been doing this all his life, judging from how quick he is. However, chee cheong fan would only be his second most practised dish. The father-son duo was making chwee kway before they swopped to chee cheong fan. Due to a change in business direction, they spent almost 2 years researching and developing the Hong Kong style chee cheong fan.
The traditional method, bu la chang (布拉肠), refers to having a rice flour batter poured on a cloth over a steamer. After it forms a sheet, ingredients are put in and cook through if need be. Lastly, the cloth is used to bring the entire sheet onto an oiled metal surface where it is skillfully removed and rolled up.
There are 4 types of chee cheong fan available at Pin Wei Chee Cheong Fan – plain, prawn, char siew and scallops. I decided to go for the prawn, and char siew as they are the more popular variants.
The mouthfeel of freshly-made chee cheong fan is certainly pleasurable. The white sheets, lightly coated with light soya sauce, slid around playfully on my tongue. The crunchy prawn was just the icing on the cake. The real star was, no doubt, the flawless chee cheong fan skin.
The char siew roll was packed with small bits of char siew, which Eddy cuts up after procuring them from a neighbouring hawker. The chee cheong fan entertained the palate in its own way. The taste of the char siew wasn’t too strong, which matched the delicate wraps perfectly. The roll was extremely satisfying, and it deserves extra points for holding the char siew bits tightly, that none slipped out. Remember to pair the chee cheong fan with some chilli if you fancy a mildly spicy kick.
Authentic handmade hawker food is very rare these days. You can hardly find freshly-made chee cheong fan anymore. The skills and dedication required to make this dish by hand are strong deterrents for people to pick up this trade. Eddy shared that even after so many years in the kitchen, he still has to wear a thumb-glove because the steamer gets very hot. I would never have noticed that he was affected by the heat, as he seemed so calm and composed in the kitchen. If you love Hong Kong style chee cheong fan, or are looking for something similar to what you’ve tasted in Hong Kong, I’ll definitely recommend that you stop by Pin Wei Chee Cheong Fan.
Pin Wei Chee Cheong Fan
Address: 41A Cambridge Road #01-25, Pek Kio Market and Food Centre
Phone: 8180 2013
Opening Hours: 6.30am to 1.30pm daily, closed on Wednesdays.
MissTamChiak.com made an anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.
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