88 Hong Kong Roast Meat Specialist, Jalan Besar: Inconsistent but When It Is Good, It Is the Best in Singapore

For this review of 88 Hong Kong Roast Meat Specialist at Jalan Besar, we visited twice. For the first time, it was spectacular, but the second time was not so good. But I’m jumping the gun.

The first we visited the kopitiam stall, we ordered EVERYTHING. There were three of us but we ordered 4-person portion of roast duck, char siew, and sio bak. In addition, we also ordered wanton mee from The Wanton Mee Co. by 88 Hong Kong Roast Meat. Both stalls are side by side.

And then, the xiaodi asked, “Hm… Do you want wanton soup?”

I replied, “Sure.”

He asked again, “Do you want vegetables too?

I replied, “Ok. Why not?” And he stared at me with his eyes wide as saucers. I guess he didn’t expect me to say yes to everything. It was that kind of yes day; I would say yes if he dared to ask.

First off, I have to say, skip the wanton mee and the wantons. The wantons are bland. The egg noodles from the wanton mee are not bad but the sauce is too thick and salty.

“Why did you order vegetables?” My friends complained.

“I thought we should be healthy and have some fibre in our diet,” I replied.

They said, “If I want to be healthy, I’d go to a salad shop.” Ok, point taken. No vegetables next time.

Now the roast meats. The roast duck looks amazing: the crispy skin glistens. But unfortunately, it is lean and bland.

The char siew and sio bak, however, are amazing. For the char siew, they add malt sugar to pork loin. A strip of fat runs through the middle of the char siew. The surface is charred beautifully with a bittersweet, smokey caramelized flavor. There is a heavy cinnamon taste. And I daresay it is as good as or perhaps even better than the char siew at Char which many people consider the Best Char Siew in Singapore.

The sio bak takes more than 2 hours to braise, dry, and roast. It is AMAZING. The skin is so crispy but not hard. And there is a great taste to the skin, almost carb-like like a very good roasted potato. No wonder people say this is the best sio bak in Singapore. It’s really fantastic.

We were there for lunch the first time we went. But the second time, dinner, the situation was different, as you can see from the photo above. Since I already knew what was good, I only ordered the sio bak and char siew.

The sio bak, this time, was dry and hard, although the skin was still fantastic. But the char siew was extremely disappointing. It was lean and dry without the excellent char on the skin.

Not sure if it was because the meats had hung there for the entire day and when it was dinner time, they were dry and hard. But the food is inconsistent. When it’s good, they are the best sio bak in Singapore, and perhaps the best char siew. But when it’s bad, it’s disappointing.

We paid $46 for three persons on the first visit, and $26 for two persons on the second. There will be a third, fourth, fifth visit.

88 Hong Kong Roast Meat Specialist
153 Tyrwhitt Road Singapore 207566

Food: 8.5/10
Ambience/Decor: NA
Service: NA
Price: 5.75/10

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Written by A. Nathanael Ho.

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