Chiobu and I descended from Hakka on both sides of the family, which makes us 200% Hakka. So this gastronomic excursion to a 80s-styled Hakka restaurant was a tracing of roots for us. Surprising, we weren’t the only ones tracing roots. When we were there, the clientele was strangely groups of friends in their early 20s or families.
My two lo goon peng you thought the food was generally tasty. Huccalily was on the fence while Chiobu and I voted against the food. We grew up eating our grandmothers’ cooking and the standard here was a far cry from home.
For instance, the suan pan zi 算盘子 (abacus seeds) is yam, softened by steaming, then mashed and mixed with tapioca flour, and finally rolled into abacus seeds shape as a symbol of prosperity. A good yam to tapioca flour ratio is 1:1 but many hawkers, to cut cost, use more flour. Ironically, here, they used more yam and less flour, which made the dish dense and heavy and earthy, losing a playful bouncy texture and a beautiful translucence.
The fried prawns in Hakka wine 酒槽虾球 was unfamiliar because our mother cooks the fermented vinegary wine with chicken in a claypot. Perhaps it didn’t stew like in a claypot and that was why I found it diluted and half-hearted.
The pork belly wasn’t tender in the salted vegetable with pork 梅菜扣肉, not worth the calories and the salted chicken 东江盐鸡 (below) had too much 5-spice powder.
One other thing was the food came out cool. While I know that most of the food we ordered could be prepared beforehand, they could at least keep the food warm. 5 of us paid about $16 each for 5 dishes. Affordable but don’t think we will return.
Plum Village 梅村酒家 Singapore
16 Jalan Leban Singapore 577554
11.30am-2.30pm, 6-10pm daily
Rating: 2.909/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.