In a Singapore set on putting modern twists to local favourites, one stall in Tampines has managed to stay quite hidden. Jin Hock Seafood Restaurant is only well-known by people who live in the area, and it’s one of the go-to places in the neighbourhood for zi char dishes.
Tucked away in a corner of St 82 Coffeehouse, the humble stall sells a variety of dishes but one in particular caught my eye: deep fried hor fun.
The actual name of the dish is Double Flavoured Hor Fun ($15), and it’s clearly a bestseller on the menu (judging by the three thumbs up), but I’d never seen or heard anything like it before.
The unique dish is a medley of hor fun done two ways: normal, smooth hor fun in a thick broth that is topped with a deep fried version. The massive portion is good enough for two hungry people and comes laden with clams and green leafy vegetables.
I obviously cracked on with the component that drew me to this dish in the first place. The deep fried hor fun was as crispy as keropok on the outside and had a lovely, slightly chewy middle.
The mix of textures worked wonderfully when dipped in the broth, and it was hard to stop myself from just eating all the deep fried bits first.
Whoever thought to deep fry hor fun is a genius, and should probably package it and even sell it separately as a snack.
I’d recommend enjoying it between spoonfuls of the regular hor fun, which had also been fried before the broth was added. The wok-hei flavour was undeniable and really added another dimension to the dish.
The broth itself was packed full of seafood flavours and had the perfect consistency. It’s always such a let down when the broth is too runny, and this version was ideal for clinging to the hor fun.
Another highlight of the dish was the clams — I counted a whopping total of 20 clams which were fresh and meaty. I definitely got my money’s worth and didn’t mind that no other seafood was added.
You can also have the dish with clams AND pork but I love my hor fun with seafood alone.
This was one of the most well-thought out hawker dishes that I’ve had in awhile and a twist to a classic dish that has worked out really well.
I’ll definitely be returning to Jin Hock Seafood Restaurant to try the other zi char dishes, but the hor fun is a must-order!
Expected damage: $7.50 per person