This article was first published on Sunday, 25 March 2012
BEST ALL ROUNDER: Kim Heng HK Roasted MeatBlock 214 Serangoon Avenue 4, 01-88, tel: 6283-3695, open: 8.30am to 7pm daily
Few places do everything well, but Kim Heng, a stall tucked away in a cluster of HDB blocks, turns out excellent roast pork, roast duck and char siew. The charcoal-roasted meats in this two- decade-old business look luscious hanging behind glass.
On my first visit, the char siew had a good amount of fat and what thrilled me was a hint of ginger juice that came in suddenly at the end of a mouthful.
The crispy skin on the roast pork was excellent and under that was perfectly seasoned meat that had not dried out.
Burnished skin made the duck look very appetising and there was a satisfying crunch when I bit into it. The meat was tender and moist, something that cannot be said of many of the roast ducks I tried.
Prices start at $3.30 for a plate of char siew, roast duck or roast pork rice.
Roast pork with crackly skin from Lau Phua Chay Authentic Roasted Delicacies at the Alexandra Village Hawker Centre. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
BEST ROAST PORK: Lau Phua Chay Authentic Roasted DelicaciesAlexandra Village Hawker Centre, Block 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1, 01-20, tel: 9663-6862, open: 11.30am to 3.30pm, closed on Saturdays
Many places I went to were able to produce roast pork with crackly skin, but so many versions were too salty. There were also a couple of stalls with dried-out pork.
Lau Phua Chay’s pork ticked all the right boxes: very crispy skin, tender pork and just the right amount of salt. Ask for the sauce on the side so you can enjoy the full effect of the crackling, and do dunk the meat into the excellent chilli sauce, zippy with lots of lime juice.
Prices start at $2.50 for a plate of char siew rice.
Roasted duck meat from Fu Shi (Traditional) Roasted, a stall at Block 320 Shunfu Mart. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
BEST ROAST DUCK: Fu Shi (Traditional) RoastedBlock 320 Shunfu Mart 02-25, tel: 9237-8157, open: 9am to 2pm, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
Long queues form at this stall and it stays open only until just after lunch.
It was the first one I tried and after two days of duck with crispy skin and bland meat or flabby skin with fat attached and dry meat, I had to admit that the first one was the best.
The skin is not atomically crispy but it was the flavourful meat, aromatic with five-spice powder, that made me sit up and take notice.
Prices start at $2.50 for a plate of roast chicken rice.
A platter of roasted char siew meat from Yee Kee Specialist Roasted Duck in Silat Avenue. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
BEST CHAR SIEW: Yee Kee Specialist Roasted DuckBlock 148 Silat Ave 01-14, tel: 9697-7083, open: 10.30am until the food runs out, closed on Sundays
There is a tie because it was hard to choose from several stalls with excellent barbecued pork.
Foong Kee’s springy char siew came close and so did Kay Lee’s. Yee Kee’s version (right above) was one of two that made the cut for this category.
The lean version was good, with tender meat. But the fattier cut is the one to order. The caramelisation added depth of flavour but the char siew was not too sweet. Burnt bits at the ends added texture and crunch.
Go early or call ahead to order. Sometimes, the roast meats run out by 1.30pm. Prices start at $3 for a plate of char siew rice.
Bu jian tian char siew, or roasted char siew, from Fatty Cheong, a roasted meat stall at the ABC Brickworks Food Centre in Jalan Bukit Merah. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
BEST CHAR SIEW: Fatty CheongABC Brickworks Food Centre, Block 6 Jalan Bukit Merah 01-120, tel: 9882-4849, open: 11am to 7pm, closed on Thursdays
This stall’s bu jian tian char siew is a textural delight. It is made with a part of the pig that does not see the sky.
Those less poetic will just call the cut the pig’s armpit, seeing as it sits in between the neck and belly. The strip of fat on top is springy, the meat is tender and moist.
If the pork had been less sweet and had come with lightly charred bits, there might have been only one winner in this category.
Prices start at $2 for a plate of roast chicken rice.
The other stalls that LifeStyle went to:
Foong Kee Coffee Shop6 Keong Saik Road, tel: 9181-1451, open: 11am to 8pm, closed on Sundays
Hong Kong Jin Tian Eating HouseBlock 58 Eng Hoon Street 01-15, tel: 9005-6151, open: 7am to 8.30pm daily, closed on alternate Wednesdays
Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint125 Upper Paya Lebar Road, tel: 6743-8778, open: 10.30am to 7.30pm, closed on Tuesdays
New Rong Liang Ge Cantonese Roast DuckBlock 269B Queen Street 01-235, tel: 9451-9669, open: 7.30am to 8pm daily
Toh KeePeople’s Park Food Centre, Block 32 New Market Road, 01-1016A, tel: 6323-3368, open: noon to 7.30pm, closed on Mondays