My love for chee cheong fun runs deep; I hold much affection for those translucent slippery, silky folds.
For as long as I can remember, they have been a staple at Sunday breakfasts and an absolute must at the dim sum table. If you share my sentiments then you’ll also be pleased to know that we even compiled a list of places to get your chee cheong fun fix. You can thank me later.
Now, for my chee cheong fun connoisseurs, you’ll know that there are two variants to chee cheong fun.
There is the Singaporean-style chee cheong fun where the folds are slightly thicker and chewier and served with a sweet red sauce and chilli.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong-style chee cheong fun possesses a much more delicate skin enveloping goodies such as char siew, prawns, or even scallops in between those tender rice folds and doused in a light soy sauce.
Don’t get me wrong, I hold high regard for both types of chee cheong fun; but for the purpose of this article, we shall only concern ourselves with the Hong Kong-style chee cheong fun.
The two contenders I have chosen for this chee cheong fun showdown are titans in their own right.
First up, Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun (现做现卖猪肠粉) is located at Old Airport Road Food Centre. This stall boasts a twenty-year stint and even offers side dishes like congee and ngoh hiang.
This second-generation stall is run by an affable sister duo who took over the business from their mother.
Just like their namesake, their chee cheong fun is made-to-order and freshly steamed. I loved watching how they expertly picked up the gossamer-thin rice roll and with a wide spatula and turned it into chee cheong fun. An entrancing and hypnotising process that I could watch forever if not for the constant billows of steam blowing in my face.
Not only that, Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun has an excellent variety of chee cheong fun if the normal ones ever get too boring (how can they ever be boring?).
At Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun, you can get your chee cheong fun with Century Egg 皮蛋 (S$2.50) or Pig Liver 猪干 (S$2.50) if you are feeling adventurous.
Over at Pek Kio Market, we have the family-run Pin Wei (品味) Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun with four solid options to whet your appetite. Just like Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun, they make your chee cheong fun right in front of you.
Watch as one of the owners Eddy, gingerly places the filling on the half-cooked rice roll before transferring to a lightly oiled surface to be folded. They work with the finesse of a well-oiled machine fulfilling each order smoothly and with no fuss.
It’s a delicate craft and one that’s not easy to get right.
To keep things fair for this showdown, I will be comparing three types of chee cheong fun from each stall. Namely, the Plain, Prawn and Char Siew. I also went down to each stall one right after the other so I could compare these two very good plates of chee cheong fun as accurately as possible.
I started with the Plain (S$2) from Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun. It’s not the most popular choice for chee cheong fun but the Plain option does serve as a good barometer for the rest. Additionally, the flavour of the chee cheong fun changes with the introduction of the topping.
For Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun, their chee cheong fun comes with a liberal amount of light soy sauce, a sprinkling of fried shallots and a healthy dollop of chilli at the side.
True to all the reviews and numerous accolades, their chee cheong fun was smooth, soft with the light fragrance of rice wafting from the plate.
Texture-wise, this was a pretty stellar plate of chee cheong fun. My only gripe with Freshly Made’s chee cheong fun was that perhaps that it was a tad too soft and was falling apart by the time I got to the end.
For Pin Wei, I found the Plain (S$2.70) chee cheong fun rolls a little more resilient than the ones from Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun. Just like Freshly Made, they were slippery and silky but sprinkled with sesame seeds instead.
The chee cheong fun folds were a smidge thicker than those at Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun and held their shape a little better towards the end and still had a good amount of bite.
I also preferred the soy sauce that accompanied the chee cheong fun, which was lighter but still had that lip-smacking savoury quality.
I moved on to everyone’s favourite variation next, prawn. What you want in your prawn chee cheong fun is an even distribution of prawns that are nicely enveloped in between those rice folds.
For Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun, their Prawn (S$2.50) chee cheong fun was comparable to those you can find at restaurants. Several bouncy and fresh pink prawns were swaddled in each fold and coupled with those melt-in-your-mouth rice rolls, it was a real textural delight.
As for Pin Wei, I found their Prawn (S$4.50) chee cheong fun just as tasty but where Pin Wei had the slight upper hand was that their prawns were just a little bigger and plumper.
Together with their slightly more supple folds, Pin Wei’s prawn iteration had a better mouthfeel.
The char siew chee cheong fun has to be the meatiest option we have on the menu. Personally, this is not my absolute favourite rendition of chee cheong fun as I’m not the biggest fan of the sweet char siew together with the savoury folds.
Nevertheless, char siew chee cheong fun is one of those quintessential flavours when it comes to chee cheong fun; naturally, I couldn’t forgo this flavour.
For Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun’s Char Siew (S$2.50), there was a generous amount of minced char siew that peeked through those silken curtains. The char siew was well-seasoned and toed the precarious line between sweet and savoury.
The char siew was of a good size such that they melded together with the rice roll which I appreciated. A heartier version of chee cheong fun that would make breakfast a real treat, if you must.
For Pin Wei’s Char Siew (S$3.50), this came with a substantial amount of minced char siew scattered throughout the rice roll, so you get a little more char siew to rice roll, which will please meat lovers anywhere. The char siew pieces were smoky and stayed snug within the chee cheong fun.
A little fun fact: Pin Wei gets their char siew made from another stall so it’s uber fresh. I was pretty satisfied with both char siew chee cheong fun‘s and if I were to split hairs, I would have to go with Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun’s Char Siew.
A Fold Above The Rest
Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun and Pin Wei Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun both present strong and scrumptious plates of chee cheong fun.
As to which one I preferred I would have to give my vote to Pin Wei Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun. While Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun was good in its own right, I found Pin Wei’s chee cheong fun to be more finely tuned in terms of flavour and texture.
It could be down to personal preference or otherwise, and if that’s the case you’ve got to try both of these places for yourself and let us know what you think!
Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun (现做现卖猪肠粉): 51 Old Airport Road, Old Airport Road Food Centre, #01-155, Singapore 390051| Opening Hours: 7am – 8pm (Tues to Sun), Closed on Mon
Pin Wei Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun: 41A Cambridge Road, Pek Kio Market and Food Centre, #01-25, Singapore 211041 | Opening Hours: 6.30am – 2pm (Thurs to Tues), Closed on Wed