My friends from Singapore often asked me, where can they find traditional dim sum within walking distance from City Square in JB.
Recently, I stumbled upon Hock Chiang Hin 福振兴餐室, one of the oldest kopitiams in JB and it serves traditional dim sum :) There used to be at least three dim sum shops in JB downtown, but now, Hock Chiang Hin is the only one left.
Hock Chiang Hin had its grand heydays when it was the nearest kopitiam to the JB CIQ - less than a stone's throw away. In those days, many workers and commuters going to Singapore will pick up some paus from Hock Chiang Hin before crossing over to Singapore. After the CIQ shifted, most of these regulars were gone.
But good old Hock Chiang Hin is still here and the paus are still as good as ever - many still say that they are the best in JB. After trying them, I begin to appreciate that claim :)
Hock Chiang Hin is the only such kopitiam in downtown JB, so if you want freshly made dim sum and paus, this is it.
Ordering is easy. Just say or point to what catches your fancy :)
This is Hock Chiang Hin's signature big pau 大包 at RM2 each.
The snowy skin was light and porous with many "holes". The skin tasted slightly sweet and the texture was soft, bouncy and fluffy.
The filling made with sliced pork was tender, moist and juicy. Well marinated, tasty and quite sweet.
The little brother was equally good - small (pork) pau.
The vegetable pau for herbivores.
The lo mai kai 糯米鸡 was a tight mound of glutinous rice well infused with syrupy sweet and savoury sauce. The large pieces of chicken were well marinated and tender. Made according to traditional tastes and needs, the lo mai kai might be a tad greasy for modern tastes. In those days, workers appreciate an affordable meal that kept their stomachs filled much of the day.
These were the other dim sum that we tried today.
Hock Chiang Hin's dim sum are reasonably priced - starts at RM1 and the most expensive item, their signature big pau, is RM2.
A dab of this chili sauce makes the dim sum tastier :)
These are heritage pictures of Hock Chiang Hin (with much thanks to 陈由东, a third generation owner). For the owners, the shop is the centre of everything. All major events and milestones are celebrated at the shop.
Hock Chiang Hin in the 1940s. The gentleman in the middle is the founder.
The wedding of the second generation owners.
Seventies. That signboard in the background is still around, in the kitchen now. Panda was a popular party guest :))
Only one of that old style ornate marble tables is left at the kopitiam. Go take a look at Hock Chiang Hin. It's authentic heritage furniture - not a replica.
The founder is the gentleman on the left and the present owner 由东 is the little boy just in front on the left.
Eating dim sum at Hock Chiang Hin is an opportunity to appreciate our culinary heritage, and its flavours and tastes. It's also a chance to experience one of JB's rare historic shops.
Restaurant name: Hock Chiang Hin 福振兴餐室
Address: Along Jalan Siu Nam opposite the ESSO petrol station
Hours: 6:00am to 1:00pm (Closed on Sunday)
Dates visited: 15 Nov 2012, 19 Nov 2012