Lao Zhong Zhong Fine Spice Stall: Handmade Teochew-style prawn fritters stall with over 70 years of history

Lao Zhong Zhong Fine Spice Stall, which has been in operation since the 1950s, finally found its permanent home at Tai Thong Crescent in 2008, where it continues to thrive to this day.

In early July 2023, the legendary wu xiang xia bing (Teochew-style prawn fritters) spot, China Street Fritters in Maxwell Food Centre, sadly closed for good. And with its closure, a part of me died too. It was my favourite place to enjoy this particular dish, and its absence leaves a void that’s hard to fill.

lao zhong zhong - coffee shop

Approaching the stall, I couldn’t help but notice its old and faded signboard, reminiscent of a vintage flea market find. The stall proudly displayed a sign in traditional Chinese characters, asserting its position as the one and only original establishment and warning others against copying their unique branding.

lao zhong zhong - stall front

The various ingredients were neatly stacked together, allowing you to use the provided tongs to select whatever you desired, much like a yong tau foo stall.

Each variety’s price was clearly stated right in front, making the ordering process straightforward and transparent. To my surprise, I noticed that this stall did not offer any type of noodles, like fried bee hoon, which I had expected to find on the menu— yayers, lesser carbs for me then.

What I tried at Lao Zhong Zhong Fine Spice Stall

lao zhong zhong - platter

My platter of ingredients for my dining partners (my parents) and me amounted to a total of S$19. For clarity, here’s the breakdown of my selection:

  • 2 Fishballs (S$0.30 each)
  • 1 Tau Kwa (S$1)
  • 1 Ngoh Hiang (S$1)
  • 2 Water Chestnut Cakes (S$1 each)
  • 1 Prawn Fritter (S$1)
  • 1 Prawn Fritter Stuffed with Tau Kwa (S$1)
  • 1 Century Egg (S$1.20)
  • 1 Octopus (from S$3)
  • 1 whole Pork Sausage (S$8)

The Water Chestnut Cakes looked appealing in its bright orange hue with browned edges, thanks to the refrying process that brought the delightful blend of egg, flour, water chestnuts, and pork lard back to life.

They were crispy on the outside and scrumptiously delicious on the inside. With every mouthful, the crunch of chestnut bits added an extra layer of texture to the overall experience.

lao zhong zhong - water chestnut cake

In all my years of savouring this dish, octopus as an ingredient was entirely new to me. The orange colouration on its surfaces resembled that of char siew, and my mum quickly recognised it, triggering fond memories of her younger days when my late grandfather used to take her out for street food.

I offered her the first bite, and with a nod of approval, she conveyed her satisfaction. Contrary to my initial expectations, the octopus wasn’t tough but rather pleasantly tender and cooked to perfection.

lao zhong zhong - octopus

The Prawn Fritter Stuffed with Tau Kwa was yet another unique element. Once you bite through the crispy umami-filled crust, you’ll be treated to a silky and luscious bean curd filling. Dipping it into the chilli instantly lifted my spirits with its bright, tangy notes.

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Ah, speaking of the chilli, it seemed to possess a magical charm, leaving me pondering which wizard had cast a spell on it. The crushed peanuts sprinkled on top added a burst of colour to each mouthful, infusing it with a subtle nutty essence.

lao zhong zhong - tau kwa prawn fritter

lao zhong zhong - chilli dip

The Ngoh Hiang here wasn’t your typical mix of meat and water chestnuts. Instead, it was filled with mashed yam. With each bite, I could also discern subtle infusions of cloves and star anise spices that added an intriguing depth of flavour.

lao zhong zhong - ngoh hiang

Let’s give the Pork Sausage its well-deserved 15 seconds of fame because, honestly, it truly deserves it. Ordering a plate of wu xiang xia bing without this iconic pink sausage would be nothing short of blasphemy, just like having a plate of char kway teow without the heavenly lard!

lao zhong zhong - ngoh hiang

Unlike other places that often skimp on the meat and load up on flour, the rendition here is juicy and packed with meat; every bite was an absolute pleasure.

lao zhong zhong - prawn fritters

The Prawn Fritters were wonderfully crispy, hitting that ‘shiok‘ level of satisfaction, all without the challenge of prawn shells that can be difficult to chew.

Final thoughts

lao zhong zhong - ingredients

Ladies and gentlemen, I must declare that Lao Zhong Zhong Fine Spice Stall is the best wu xiang xia bing spot in Singapore to-date, and it has even surpassed my beloved fritters found at China Street Fritters.

I could taste the dedication and hard work the kitchen team had poured into handcrafting these amazing fritters. Indeed, their efforts truly shone through, and I am already eagerly anticipating my next visit whenever my craving for this delectable dish arises.

Don’t be fooled by the stall’s unassuming appearance. Try it and believe me… you’ll be sold!

Expected damage: S$4 – S$9 per pax

Order Delivery: foodpanda

Fete Kopi & Toast: Zhng-ed kaya toast with mentaiko & yuzu, with house-made caramel kaya by 51 Noodle House

Price: $

Our Rating: 5 / 5

Lao Zhong Zhong Fine Spice Stall

29 Tai Thong Crescent, Singapore 347858

Price
Our Rating 5/5

Lao Zhong Zhong Fine Spice Stall

29 Tai Thong Crescent, Singapore 347858

Operating Hours: 11am - 11pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon

Operating Hours: 11am - 11pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon

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