Ho Fook Hei Soy Sauce Chicken, Great World City: Soy Chicken and Other Cantonese Dishes

The latest venture by Joyden Concepts, Ho Fook Hei at Great World City, is a home grown Cantonese restaurant presenting recipes that have been passed down within the family for generations. They pride themselves on the authenticity and rusticity of their food.

The braising sauce of the Specialty Rose Wine Soy Sauce Chicken (Whole $35++|Half $19++) is delicate and fragrant with the light floral aroma of the rose wine. The chicken itself is succulent, juicy – even the breast is tender.

Their other specialty dish the Honey Glazed Black Barbeque Pork Belly ($13++) is chunky with a good balance of sweet and salty. I particularly like their way of roasting the char siew so that it isn’t over cooked – the fat still firm, the meat, moist.

One of their pride and glory is their home-made Egg Noodles ($3.80++): thin without the pungency of alkaline water, it is delicious and reminiscent of Hong Kong’s version.

The Pork and Prawn Rolls Hae Zor ($7.80++) is pretty normal – nothing spectacular, I wish it were prawnier, porkier just so the bite has less give.

Of the two fish dishes, the Cod Fillet Steamed with Old Ginger Sauce ($24.80++) stands out for its generous use of ginger – a thick layer of earthy, mildly piquant ginger paste. Even though it is old ginger, it is fragrantly mellow. The fish is slightly overcooked; not as soft and moist as an oily fish like cod should be.

The Seabass Fillet Steamed with Signature Nonya Assam Sauce ($14.80++) is one-dimensional, not spicy, just very fruity and tart. It lacks spiciness and depth of flavour.

The Red Grouper Fish Fillet Congee ($9.80++) can definitely give any established Cantonese restaurants in Singapore a run for their money. Made with short-grain rice, it’s suitably mushy, spring oniony, gingery, refreshing and wholesome tasting.

The Shrimp Dumpling Soup ($8.80++) is a passable fare. Filling adequately full and savoury, skin a little thick. But I applaud them for using shrimp roe in the broth to give it a little more depth which is not something common here. On the other hand, the soup is reminiscent of the generic wanton soup I had had when I was a child peering through the kitchen glass and seeing the chefs open these grey sachets of soup powder, sprinkling them into boiling water.

Dessert is a disappointment. The Warm Red Bean Soup with Aged Mandarin Peel and Lotus Seed ($4.50++) is excessively, unnecessarily thick with cornstarch; the red beans are merely a smattering. I was told this is a one off, an anomaly. I’m just writing what I had. The orange peel in the red bean soup is a little overpowering for my dining companion, but for me, I think it’s perfect – strongly citrussy and herbal.

This is a hard restaurant to review because with the Michelin Starring of Liao Fan, everyone seems to want in on the action. Soy Sauce Chicken is a dime a dozen; Cantonese fare, even more so. There is nothing that truly stands out; but there is nothing truly deplorable either. If you’re in the area and want something Cantonese, come here. The mains won’t disappoint.

Ho Fook Hei
1 Kim Seng Promenade, #01-141 Great World City, Singapore 237994
tel: +65 6219 2262
11.30am – 3.30pm, 5pm – 9.30pm daily

Food: 6.5/10
Value: 7/10
Decor / ambience: 6/10

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Lucky House Cantonese Private Kitchen 陶然居私房菜, East Coast: A Three-month Waiting List for this Private Home Kitchen

Written by Paul Ng. Deathrow meal: steamed uonuma koshihikari rice, sunny side up eggs drizzled with slow-rendered pork lard, kicap cair dark soya sauce with a side of gribenes. And a bowl of uni. Aspiring taitai. Also co-owner of Provisions Food – local maker of baked goods, snacks, condiments and sauces inspired by the flavours of Asia.

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