Johor Kaki Travels for Food

Singapore based personal blog of true stories by johorkaki@gmail about best food, people & places around the world

Monday, 23 July 2018

Henghua Cuisine in Singapore at Ming Chung Restaurant @ Maude Road 民众菜馆

I had long wanted to visit Ming Chung Restaurant 民众菜馆 at Maude Road for its authentic Henghua cuisine. So, I was glad that the makan kakis were gathering at Ming Chung, one of the oldest Henghua restaurants in Singapore (founded in 1933).

For decades already, there had been a lot of concern about the (lack of) continuity of Singapore's hawker culture. My impression is that clan restaurants like Ming Chung and Hokkien compatriots like Beng Hiang etc are under similar, if not even greater pressures due to their smaller numbers.

Located at the Jalan Besar area where there are 3 or 4 Henghua restaurants, most of the folks at Ming Chung are not here looking for the latest food thrills or culinary innovations. Most are here to reconnect with the comforting flavours, aroma and feel of their heritage food.

Throughout the dinner, I heard Alvin mentioned his late dad many times... "My late father brought me here... " "My late father always ordered this...." etc etc.

Ming Chung is in the third generation now - it specialises in homely, affordable Henghua dishes. Most things have not changed, like the humble thick noodles which is a big part of Henghua cuisine. Ming Chung used to make these in house with just flour and rock salt.

Putian, the city of Henghua people is located where the Mulan Brook (river) meets the sea at the south coast of China's Fujian Province between Quanzhou and Fuzhou - so, seafood is abundant. Like Quanzhou and Fuzhou, seafood like fish, prawns, clams and seaweed feature a lot in Henghua cuisine.

White Lor Mee is an icon of Henghua cuisine (which differs from the dark brown Hokkien version). The lor (sauce) is starchy and thick, and well infused with layers of gentle sweetness from the prawns, clams, pork, and various vegetables. The gooey sticky sauce thoroughly coated the thick soft noodles, making them slurpy smooth.

Many people like to zest up their sweet white lor mee with sourish zing from a dash of black vinegar (from that re-purposed Corona bottle). Me too 😄

Similar to the white lor mee but without the lor - it's mainly layers of sweetness from seafood and vegetable stock infused into the strands of tender noodles. The peanuts and dried seaweed at the side provided some more texture and flavour accents.

Henghua fried bee hoon has the same infusion of sweet seafood stock, pork and vegetables. Pieces of fried pork belly added savoury balance to the sweet savoury dish.

豆皮芥蓝 Kailan vegetable fried with tofu skin and seafood stock.

Fried Batang fish (Spanish Mackerel). The Henghua version is marinated in a robustly savoury soy sauce then fried till the outside is well browned. The resulting little steaks are slightly stiff but still moist inside. The savoury taste outside is balanced with the slightly sweetish briny taste of white Batang fish meat. I like the deep savoury flavour of the soy sauce they used. 

I tried three pieces of Prawn Fritters to be sure about this popular dish. All three times, the little prawn inside played hide and seek with me inside the thick batter. But, the sweet savoury batter itself was nice with its puffy tender texture. I enjoyed it with the sweet savoury sourish dip.

Fried La La Clams. Small shellfish stir fried and bathed in a mildly savoury spicy sourish sauce.

👉 Henghua dishes tend to be mildly flavoured and leaning on the sweet side, so it suits my taste buds. The more memorable dish this evening was Ming Chung's white lor mee. I would love to be back for this white lor mee - it's a convenient and delicious one dish meal. 

Seven of us, each of us paid $19 for our share of the total bill.

Restaurant name: Ming Chung Restaurant 民众菜馆
Address67 Maude Rd, Singapore 208348
GPS1°18'29.3"N 103°51'29.3"E | 1.308133, 103.858150
Tel6296 3428
Hours: 3:00pm - 11:00pm (Monday off)

Non Halal

Date visited: 19 Jul 2018

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1 comment:

  1. Henghua or Putian food is simple and very tasty. I specially like the fried fine meehun and Lor mee with their unique taste, texture and flavours. Not as common as Char Kway Tiao and Hokien mee in Singapore and Malaysia, but certainly less oily and should deserve to be more widely propagated and enjoyed by all! 🌷🌷🌷


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