You know me, 5 years into Johor Kaki blog, combing back streets, alley ways and off beat small towns for good food - I've never used the cliché, "a hidden gem". It's also not my style to use hyperbole. But, I shall break my own record and describe this zichar shop in a quiet corner of Jurong East as "a hidden gem".
Adrian, founder of Singapore Journal of Photography invited me to join a blogger-photographer meet-up to share personal experiences. I readily agreed as I have a lot to learn about photography.
I really "tan tio 赚得" (colloquial Hokkien for "benefited a lot") as well known professional photographer Calvin Huang generously shared food photography tips with us.
And, then I got a chance to try this brilliant little zi char shop tucked away in Jurong East.
Double bonus, it had been a great day :-D
First dish submitted for our cameras was this Braised Pork Trotter in Brown Sauce 红烧元蹄 (SGD25 for large serving).
Tender juicy meat in a thick sleeve of soft skin in sexy folds and jelly fat underneath. The pork's sweetness balanced with the mildly savoury sweet brown sauce.
The pork knuckle was delicious even though we spent a lot of time photographing it and then discussed photography before sinking our forks into the tender flesh.
Must order this Fried Prawn Paste Chicken aka har cheong gai 虾酱炸鸡 (SGD12 medium serving).
The skin was still crackling crisp after our long photo session. The chicken was not greasy, yet the meat was tender and juicy. The savoury sweetness was just right.
Hot Plate Meng Gu Prawn 蒙古铁板虾 (SGD24 medium serving).
Good sized prawns (shell on) battered, deep fried and sauteed in a savoury slightly spicy sauce. Nice spongy texture with a slight crisp, the "Mongolian sauce" masked the prawns' natural flavours. People who like robust flavours will like this.
Curry Fish Head 咖喱鱼头.
Mdm Zhao, the lady boss personally goes to Jurong Fish Port to handpick the red snapper fish. The fresh fish head is boiled and then served in a curry made from scratch with coconut milk, ground spices and chili. The creamy curry is savoury, sweet and spicy with the grainy feel of ground spices.
And, well, the natural sweet flavour of fresh sea fish doesn't need any further elaboration :-D
This bean curd with minced pork is another Must Try.
The tender house made tofu has a soft crisp outside and is creamy soft inside. Interesting, multiple layers of savoury sweetness from the tofu, minced pork/diced black mushroom/carrot, and sloshing golden brown sauce.
One of my favourites of the day.
Stir Fried String Beans with Dried Shrimps.
The dish's name said it all. Well executed. The string beans were still juicy crunchy and it's green sweet flavour was balanced by crustacean savouriness from the dried shrimps.
After a while, we started to expect every dish that leaves the kitchen to be good.
Chinese Spinach in Superior Broth.
Another dish I enjoyed.
Superior Pot with prawns, fish, tofu and dried fish maw in savoury sweet brown sauce.
The chef, Ah Liang hails from Kulai in Johor. He is camera shy, so I could only managed this long shot of him in action.
Ah Liang started as a kitchen help at Johor Bahru's Peking Restaurant when he was 15 years old. Peking Restaurant needs no introduction in JB. Peking is JB's best known old school banquet restaurant. Always trusted for weddings, events and entertaining important guests. After learning the ropes at Peking Restaurant, Ah Liang came to Singapore and had been a zichar chef for 5 years.
Looking at Ju Feng Garden Kitchen's extensive menu, Ah Liang's repertoire rivals his old "school ground".
I shall be back and next time, I hope to try Ju Feng Garden Kitchen's crab dishes, K.L. style black Hokkien mee, salted kampung chicken, and a fried hor fun (to check out the wok hei :-D ).
->> This sleepy corner is the "little zi char jewel of Jurong East". Quality restaurant style food at reasonable prices.
Restaurant name: Ju Feng Garden Kitchen 聚丰园小厨
Address: Blk 318 Jurong East Street 31 #01-40 Singapore Singapore (7 minutes walk from Chinese Garden MRT station)
GPS: 1.347477, 103.730766 / 1°20'50.9"N 103°43'50.8"E
Hours: 11:00am - 2:30pm, 5:00pm - 11:00pm
Tel: 9325 7816
Date visited: 16 Apr 2016
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