Today I’ll share one of my family’s favourite traditional restaurants in Singapore. It’s a place we go for authentic Hokkien comfort food and Beng Thin Hoon Kee is definitely a household name that has been around for a long time. The restaurant has been very successful and favourite with many families since it was founded in 1949 by Lim Yew Hoon who sadly passed at 91 quite recently. It moved to its current premises at the OCBC Centre rooftop carpark in 1979.
Price: $$ – $$$
They serve up a variety of sets for different numbers of people, but on average, you can expect to pay about $35-45 each per pax if you go for the full works including soup, fresh fish and seafood like prawns and crab claws.
One of my favourite dishes here is definitely the Cold Duck Salad.
This is a wonderfully appetising start to the meal with shredded roasted duck meat, fresh sliced cantaloupe, cucumbers, crunchy jellyfish, chopped peanuts, parsley and a delicious tangy honey plum sauce. Absolutely mouthwatering.
Then, the Shark’s Fin Crab Meat Soup.
I do try to avoid shark’s fin for environmental reasons, but when it comes to Chinese dinners, like many of the older patrons of the restaurants, this dish is quintessential to a celebratory dinner and gathering. The sentiment is changing among the younger generation though.
This soup was full of flavour, had a perfect thick and smooth texture and was filled with mushrooms, fish maw, and stirred in with egg white. I do wish they’d add more crab meat though.
Next, the very addictive Roasted Chicken with Salt.
I enjoy this chicken mostly because it’s not too oily. Some might find it slightly dry, but I find the meat very tender and soft, even the breast meat. Dipped slightly in cinnamon salt, this chicken had amazing flavour paired with some deep-fried crackers.
Next up, the Steamed Red Grouper.
Just look at the colour on this dish. The fish was excellent. Very fresh, not too many small bones to struggle with and the scallion, fried ginger, spring onions, garlic and parsley really brought out the sweetness in the fish. We clean this little guy out down to the bone.
My other favourite dish is the Crab Meat Egg Omelette and Lettuce Wrap.
This is one mouthful of melt-in-your-mouth egg-y awesome chockfull of generous lumps of sweet crab meat, and fried with mushrooms, carrot and spring onion. Rolled up in a fresh, crisp lettuce leaf, this is one orgasmic omelette dish.
Now for two of Beng Thin’s signature dishes. First, the Fried Black Hokkien Mee.
I’m in two minds about this one. On one hand, sometimes when I come down, it’s the best Hokkien Mee I’ve ever had. I kid you not. The noodles are coated beautifully with a thick, aromatic lard and prawn broth that slides so perfectly down your throat leaving a savoury flavour that lingers in the mouth.
Other times, it really falls short. I pinpoint the inconsistency to a change of cooks from time to time. There seems to be one guy that gets it right and it’s a pity there’s a possibility you might get something sub-standard. Either way, it’s a gamble.
Additionally, the Fatty Pork Buns or Kong Bak Pao is another specialty dish.
This style of fatty pork is slight sweet with a thick, slightly more viscous sauce. The cut was a good mix of lean and fatty, but I (and my whole family) have been spoilt by my mom’s flawless take on the dish to be overwhelmed by this. But definitely give it a try. It’s one of the better ones I’ve had in Singapore.
Finally, to end off the meal, there is a good selection of desserts from Mango Pudding to Almond Paste, to Gui Ling Gao (herbal jelly) to Almond Beancurd. Classic Chinese restaurant favourites.
The Almond Paste is very impressive. I prefer mine less sweet and pounded so fine one can barely detect the powdery texture and this really cuts it for me. None of that artificial almond taste that a lot of restaurants who get their powder instant serve up.
Overall, you can’t really go wrong with a restaurant that has been a favourite for so many families in Singapore across 3 generations. This is a great place to celebrate a special occasion together, have meet-ups over Chinese New Year or even just pop by for a casual lunch. Prices are affordable and the food is simple, comforting and delicious. Let me know what you think if you head down!
Beng Thin Hoon Kee Restaurant 茗珍奋记菜馆
OCBC Centre, 65 Chulia St #05-02 s049513 (Raffles Place)