Johor Kaki Travels for Food

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

Friday, 22 June 2018

Kun Shu Food Stall (Gen Shu Mei Shi Shi Jia) @ Toa Payoh Vista Market 根叔 (美食世家)

Followed Uncle Bob this morning for brunch at Kun Shu Food Stall at Toa Payoh Vista Market in Singapore. Kun Shu Food Stall is the place where foodies in the know get restaurant standard, authentic Hong Kong dim sum by a veteran HK chef at a hawker centre. (Kun Shu Food Stall is also known as Gen Shu Mei Shi Shi Jia.)

Coming back to Toa Payoh Vista Market was like a homecoming for me as I lived 100 metres from this market till I was 17 years old (before moving to Ang Mo Kio). The old 1960s vintage building was demolished and replaced with this airy and bright hawker centre and market.

Chef Lam Kun 林根师傅, affectionately known as Kun Shu 根叔 (Uncle Kun), hailed from Hong Kong and came to Singapore in 1978. In his 70s now, Kun Shu started working in restaurant kitchens since he was 14 years old. He worked in several dim sum kitchens in Hong Kong, including the iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant, before coming to Singapore at the invitation of Tsui Wah Restaurant (of 1970s Singapore).

In Singapore, Kun Shu also worked in Shangri-La Hotel's Shang Palace. He was Mouth Restaurant's Head Chef and Consultant for 15 years before retiring. 

But, Kun Shu couldn't stay away from the kitchen for long and so set up his hawker stall in Toa Payoh in 2003. Kun Shu said he is in semi retirement mode but even today, 14 years on, Kun Shu still comes to his hawker stall at 3am every morning to prepare his dim sum. No shortcuts. No excuses. No compromise.

Even in a hawker centre, Kun Shu never forgets his restaurant roots - professionally dressed in his chef overalls, he also drapes the table for regulars like Uncle Bob (who are more like friends).

Over teh tarik and Hong Kong dim sum in a Singapore hawker centre, Kun Shu shared with us the 3 principles that guided him in his 6 decades in F & B. They are 准则 (standards), 原则 (ethics), and 心德 (passion).

To Kun Shu, the principle of 准则 means maintaining standards so that customers always get the same high quality food and experience every time. 原则 means ethical business practises like fair pricing and use of quality ingredients instead of shortchanging customers with cheaper substitutes. 心德 means true love for his own products and never serving any food that he himself does not enjoy eating.

Kun Shu's menu is right up there at the top of his stall. The menu consists mainly of dim sum 点心, porridge 粥 and steamed rice pots 盅仔饭.

We had a little picnic at the hawker centre with Kun Shu's dim sum. Kun Shu serves his food in beautiful plates which keep getting pilfered but he just refuses to use plastic, or worst, Styrofoam plates. That's standards and (environmental) ethics in action 😄

Top of the mind is Kun Shu's signature oblong shaped lo mai gai 糯米鸡 price S$4.20).

The tender sticky savoury sweet glutinous rice wrapped Cantonese waxed sausage slices, salted egg yolk, stewed mushroom and stewed chicken inside.

It's the best lo mai gai dim sum that I have tasted.

腐皮卷 Crispy Tofu Roll packed with minced pork, chives, julienned carrot and crunchy greens. Love this crispy, juicy, crunchy roll.

烧卖皇 Siew Mai Dumpling. Kun Shu's rendition is tightly packed with minced pork and tipped with a sweet wolfberry.

炸虾角 Fried Prawn Dumplings.

香菜饺 Vegetable Dumplings packed with chopped coriander, parsley, carrot, yam mash etc. Kun Shu puts a lot of heart and things into his dishes, so it is really hard to pin down everything inside except to say that the dumplings were delicious 😄

荔枝湾艇仔粥 Boat Porridge. Kun Shu said that a good boat porridge must be 软,滑,绵,香 soft, smooth, cottony and aromatic. Yes, they were all there in the bowl of thick creamy porridge. The salted egg and century egg added more savoury layers to the savoury sweet dried seafood flavoured porridge. The fried groundnuts and cracklings added a bit of crunch and crispiness to the soft textures.

Double Boiled Soup of the Day was Old Cucumber Soup 老黄瓜汤. Well balanced savoury sweetness with chunks of soft old cucumber, tender pork ribs, and lots of various herbs. Not the usual hawker centre double boiled soup - this is Kun Shu Food Stall.

4-Star (out of 5). Part of the beauty and the fun of Singapore hawker centres is to find such unexpected gems in humble settings. 根叔 (美食世家) Kun Shu's dim sum is comparable to the best dim sum restaurants in Singapore, no... anywhere in the world for that matter. There are many more dim sum dishes which I need to come back to Kun Shu to try. Also love to try Kun Shu's other signatures such as his 盅仔饭 little steamed rice one pot meals.

Restaurant name: Kun Shu Food Stall 根叔 (美食世家) Gen Shu Mei Shi Shi Jia
Address: Stall #01-03, Toa Payoh Vista Market, Blk 74, Lorong 4, Toa Payoh, Singapore 
GPS1°20'04.7"N 103°51'07.9"E | 1.334651, 103.852182
Tel: 9640 5752 (for bulk order)
Hours: 6:00am - 1:00pm or earlier if sold out (Mon off)

Non Halal

Date: 22 Jun 2018

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1 comment:

  1. My favourite hawker dimsum place.. Price is reasonable and food is yummy. Since 06 Aug 2003, for the past 14 years, he has been selling Cantonese style of breakfast and lunch specialties at Toa Payoh Vista hawker centre in Toa Payoh Lorong 4. Gen Shu was almost thinking of giving up in 2006 when he was discovered by mediacorp staff who brought Dasmond Koh to feature his stall in 下一站,吃什么 Next Stop… Bon Apetite program. After that, the media circle knows about his good food. Today, 2018, he is already 72 years old and has been in this F&B Industry for almost 6 decades and he has a succession plan for his daughter Pamela Lam to take over the business.


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