Monday, 21 March 2011

Beng Thin Hoon Kee Restaurant 茗珍奋记菜馆

Today is my father's 70th birthday. We had originally planned to throw a party for him at my house to celebrate the occasion with the family and extended family. However, my father decided he wanted a quieter affair.  So we shelved the idea. Since my pa is a true-blue Hokkien, so over the past weekend, we celebrated for him earlier at a Hokkien restaurant. He usually enjoy his favourite few typical Hokkien dishes.  

Beng Thin Hoon Kee Restaurant is one of the few Chinese Hokkien restaurants in Singapore which we frequent not so often. Its long history dates back to 1949, founded by a Mr Lim, a migrant worker from China. Beng Thin started its operation in a shophouse in Hokkien Street, Singapore, serving Fujian dishes, after which they relocated to their main branch in OCBC Centre in 1979. I found out they have a new branch in Toa Payoh Central, so we decided to have our little dinner celebration there.

Beng Thin Duck Salad
We ordered the set menu as it has most of the dishes we wanted to try, and we ordered a couple of additional compulsory dishes. Here is a delightful starter, their special Beng Thin Duck Salad.  It has shredded duck and jellyfish on top of honey dew and cucumber cut into strips. You can opt to add on mango strips too.  Very appetizing.

Tossed and mixed Duck Salad
The server poured honey on the dish before tossing and mixing all the ingredients for us. It looks like Yu Sheng. Together with plum sauce and honey, the natural flavour of honey dew and cucumber offers a mix of sweet and tangy taste goodness.

Crabmeat Fish Maw Soup
A big bowl of chunky crabmeat and fish maw together with mushroom and other ingredients. 

Crabmeat Fish Maw soup served, with a dash of vinegar.
My soup is served, and I added a dash of vinegar and pepper. They were really generous with the portion. My nephew insisted it is not the same as Sharksfin. We told him to be mindful of not harming sharks. The taste is exactly the same in this soup, with or without sharksfin.

Crispy Roast Chicken
Next on the menu, Crispy Roast Chicken was well-done, crisp on the skin and tender on the inside. They were accompanied with crackers. However, I must say, for this dish, I still remember fondly the delicious USA Crispy Chicken served in Roland's Restaurant. 

Shrimps in Yam Basket
This is one of my usual favourite dish to order in a chinese restaurant or a tze char coffeeshop.  The yam ring is deep fried to a crispy state and melts in your mouth.  The other ingredients were stir fried and filled to the brim inside the yam ring. 

Shrimps in Yam Basket ingredients revealed
Again, the server, help us break the yam ring, and gave it a thorough mix with the ingredients of big fresh prawns, capsicum, cashew nuts, onions, and celery. A delightful mix of crunchy ingredients and yam. Yums!

Steamed Fresh Pomfret
Next was a huge plate of Steamed Fresh Pomfret. The light soup that came with the fish was very refreshing which goes well with steamed plain rice. 

Feng Li Stewed Pork Buns
I was wondering why the Pork Belly was not the usual darker version. I was expecting Kong Bak Pao, the equivalent of chinese hamburger as you eat the pork belly with buns. Kong Bak Pao is one of the must-order dish in a Hokkien restaurant. However I realised this dish is not Kong Bak Pao but quite similar.  The Pork Belly was well done till tender and braised with pineapple slices. It has a slight hint of herbal taste. 

How Stewed Pork Buns are eaten
The server cut the pork belly into long slices, and we have to wrap each slice into the piping hot bun.  The pork belly with a good mix of lean meat and fat, melts in the mouth, with the taste of the fragrant herbal sauce totally permeated into the meat.

Orh Jian (Fried Oyster Omelette)
Now this is another must-order dish in a Hokkien restaurant called Orh Jian, or Fried Oyster Omelette, which we ordered extra in addition to the set menu. They were pretty generous with the oysters which were fried and topped on very crispy and thin flaky sweet potato flour. This was quite unique and slightly different from the usual fried oyster we find in the hawker centres.  This was my favourite dish of the night.

Fujian or Hokkien Fried Noodles.
Dining in a Hokkien restaurant is not complete without ordering Hokkien Fried Noodles. And a birthday celebration is not complete without having noodles. The long noodles symbolise longevity, hence it is a must to order this. The traditional Hokkien noodles are my favourite, as well as my father's.  The Hokkien noodles in Beng Thin is more wet, and not as dark as the ones I am used to in Old Hokkien Restaurant. Their version here is not bad, however it would be even better if they had added little pieces of pork lard. Haha!

Ngo Hiang Prawn Rolls
Another Hokkien dish to order is a combination of Meat Roll (ngo hiang) and Prawn Rolls. I had again mistaken that this dish was to be included in the set menu.  But it was not. And by now, after the 8th dish, we were already extremely full. Hence we had to give this dish a miss this time.  Our tummies were really really bursting by now.

Herbal Jelly and Pumpkin Honey Dew Sago
Finally it was time for desserts. We customised our order with 2 types of desserts - the nutritious Herbal Jelly (Guilin gao) and a cold refreshing Pumpkin Honey Dew Sago.  Because we were so full, my father decided not to cut his birthday cake at the restaurant. 

Happy and full diners - the old couple outside the restaurant and their grand daughter.

We had a brief stroll around Toa Payoh Central before heading home to cut the cake! The birthday (old) boy is ready to cut his birthday cake! Here with his grandchildren. 

Drama papa - we sang the birthday song, he made a wish, he blew the candles and then symbolically he cut the mango cake!

May you be healthy, happy and in good luck always!

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