Hou Lah: Taiwanese cafe with unique puff pastry thick toasts, milk noodles & pan-fried egg crepes

In recent months, I’ve found myself becoming increasingly obsessed with Taiwanese food— seriously, I can’t seem to get enough of braised pork rice, fried chicken cutlets, scallion oil chicken rice… the list goes on and on. Though most Taiwanese eateries in Singapore offer the usual classics, Hou Lah has a pretty different menu.

hou lah - storefront

Hou Lah is a Taiwanese cafe located along North Bridge Road. Unlike most other eateries, this cafe doesn’t offer the usual Taiwanese dishes and treats. Instead, you’ll find more unique selections, with their thick toasts being their most well-known offering. Aside from that, you’ll also find noodles served in milk and shaved milk ice on the menu.

What I tried at Hou Lah

hou lah - classic puff pastry thick toast

I began my meal at Hou Lah with their most popular product, the Classic Puff Pastry Thick Toast (S$8.80).

hou lah - classic puff pastry thick toast

Cutting into the toast revealed a thick layer of buttery filling within. The filling was sweet and milky with a soft and crumbly consistency. The intense fragrance of the mysterious custard was a delight to savour, and I loved how generous Hou Lah was in this aspect.

hou lah - classic puff pastry thick toast

The actual puff pastry aspect of this toast was disappointing, to say the least. I had expected it to be flaky and crispy, but it was unfortunately soft throughout, and lacked flavour too. It didn’t do much in enhancing the dish at all— compared to the other toasts on the menu, this one was S$3 – S$4 more expensive, which I did not find to be justified. At least the fillings were satisfactory.

hou lah - beef with cheese & milk

Next, I opted for the TW. Noodles in the flavour of Beef with Cheese & Milk (S$9.20). The dish comprised of thin, maggi mee-esque noodles, a fried egg, a slice of cheese, sliced beef, shallots and broccoli. The aspect of the dish that I found to be the most interesting was the fact that the noodles were soaked in milk, something that I’d never seen before.

hou lah - beef with cheese & milk

I was surprised at how much I liked the noodle + milk combo— the milk gave the noodles a sweet and creamy flavour without being too overpowering or jelak. The slice of cheese went well with the noodles too, with its piquant taste being enhanced by the milk.

Wen Li Taiwanese Food: Mee Sua with oysters and bonito flakes and $5 for a packed bowl of braised pork rice

hou lah - beef with cheese & milk

The beef was really sweet and soft, with a slight pepperiness complementing the sweetness of the meat. All in all, the noodles were pretty tasty, but very overpriced— every aspect of this dish felt like something that I could easily whip up at home by myself at a fraction of the cost.

The portions weren’t very satisfying either, to be honest. I wouldn’t recommend paying S$9.20 for a plate of glorified instant noodles with toppings that you could throw together yourself.

hou lah - hash brown taiwan crepe

I love Taiwanese crepes, so I was looking forward to trying them here. Hou Lah has 6 types of crepes, with fillings like egg omelette, sweet corn and cheese.

The Hash Brown Taiwan Crepe (S$6.20) consisted of a crepe wrapped with egg and hashbrown.

hou lah - hash brown taiwan crepe

Unfortunately, I wasn’t all that impressed with this crepe. It was fairly bland, due to the lack of sauce within, making each bite pretty uninteresting. Though the dish came with a dollop of sweet and salty sauce on the side, that was all it was— a dollop that was barely enough to coat all pieces of the crepe. The crispiness of the hashbrown was also overpowered by the chewy texture of the wrapping.

hou lah - fish floss taiwan crepe

The Fish Floss Taiwan Crepe (S$6.20) at Hou Lah fared slightly better, due to the more intense, salty and savoury flavours of the fish floss. The floss wasn’t fluffy, like I had been expecting— instead, it had a crumblier texture that reminded me of hae bee hiam.

hou lah - fish floss taiwan crepe

Like the Hash Brown Taiwan Crepe, the Fish Floss Taiwan Crepe wasn’t all that exciting, given how there weren’t that many ingredients within. At least this crepe was more flavourful than its predecessor.

hou lah - milo snow ice

Finally, for dessert, I enjoyed the Milo Snow Ice (S$6.80), a shaved milk ice dish topped with honey stars.

hou lah - milo snow ice

The ice had a lovely texture that melted in my mouth beautifully. The actual milo flavour was very mild, and tasted quite diluted. Despite that, I thought that this was a pretty refreshing dessert, albeit not being all exciting, especially in comparison to bingsu desserts that are often loaded with ingredients.

Final thoughts

hou lah - dishes

While I liked that Hou Lah offered dishes that aren’t commonly found in Singapore, I didn’t really find them to be all that impressive or outstanding. The Taiwanese crepes fell a little short of expectations given how simple they were— I find that I prefer when crepes are more well-loaded with ingredients and sauces. The noodles weren’t super mind-blowing either, though I quite enjoyed them. I would have appreciated if the price had been lower.

I did think that the Classic Puff Pastry Thick Toast was the most interesting item, and I would consider trying their other thick toasts in the future.

Expected damage: S$4.80 – S$20 per pax

饗好吃 Xiang Taiwanese Desserts and Food: Affordable Taiwanese lu rou fan & comforting desserts in the neighbourhood

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 3.5 / 5

Hou Lah

783 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198751

Price
Our Rating 3.5/5

Hou Lah

783 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198751

Operating Hours: 11am - 10pm (Daily)

Operating Hours: 11am - 10pm (Daily)
| Instagram

Newest