Tuesday, November 29, 2005

One Man's Bee Hoon Craving led me to Pu Tien

Pu Tien Restaurant
127-129 Kitchener Road
Singapore 208514
Tel: 62956358

The first time I sampled this simple but scrumptious plate of Fried Hing Wa Bee Hoon, I was came here as a captive eater. After a couple of Friday-after-work-drinks, we were hungry for some grub and so we made our way to the car in search of some dinner. On our way to the car, we had tossed around a few suggestions: burgers at Carl’s juniors, crabs or as our designated driver suggested, this memorable bee hoon that he had at a restaurant at Kitchener Road. We all piled into a pretty small car, and while I sat at the back seat, with my body contorted and my face almost pressed up against the window, we threw up a few more suggestions, only to be shot down by our friend who was behind the wheel, “No! We are eating bee hoon!” As the captive passengers of the car, we were basically held captive and powerless in deciding on our dinner destination, so while we drove to this Bee Hoon promise land, we continued to murmur in the car about our various other possible destinations and warning of the repercussions if this bee hoon was going to taste terrible.

Fried Hing Wa Bee Hoon

For all that hype, the bee hoon was not as mind blowing as I thought it would have been. Nonetheless, it was still good, very lightly fried with condiments such as peanuts and seaweed. The food here is home style rather than the fancy delicate Cantonese restaurant cuisine, but executed rather well. In my two visit to Pu Tien, there have been a mix of hits and misses with the food, here’s the account of what I have tried from the menu.

The Fried Hing Wa Bee Hoon is a must have, since it was the Bee Hoon nazi that brought us here in the first place. The drunken cockles are absolutely wonderful, fresh, cleaned and marinated with a sweetish garlic sauce; you’ll risk hepatitis for this dish. The other dish that we had on our return visit was steamed prawns in Bamboo Shoot. The prawns were fat and juicy and the broth naturally sweetened and flavoured by the prawn juices. A few other hits on the menu were self-made bean curd (sic), which was soft, silky and had its own delicate flavour; deep fried chicken with garlic that was crisp, juicy and topped with crispy garlic chips and curry leaves; and the deep fried squirrel fish with gravy. The squirrel fish is a little like sweet and sour fish, but better, and the dish is named after the form the firm takes after being deep fried, rather than having any real affinity to the squirrel family. Having tasted those dishes, I can safely say that most things on the menu are alright, if you remember that they are serving restaurant home styled food, but stay away from the kai lan fried bean curd skin, which tasted terribly floury and insipid.

The best part, dinner here would not set you back too much. A budget of $15 a person would feed you adequately.

* Can someone tell me more about Hing Wa cuisine other than the fact that it is from a minority dialect group in Pu Tien, Fuijian?

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Blogger Unknown said...

that beehoon sounds pretty good and I truly empathise with the captivity notion (for me, it happens even when I'm behind the steering wheel, especially when a more resolute (sic: stubborn) person is passenger!).

12:11 PM  
Blogger joone! said...

hahaha. well, i guess someone has to be the victim!

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strange . there is a battle going on betw my bro and I. He favours Chung Meng (some thing like that) -cheaper and good. I like Pu Tien cause I got more X taste.
Hing Hwa people lived by the sea and so the cuisine is mainly seafood. Beside Bee Hoon, Pa Mien (pronounced Pa Mean in Hinghwa) is the icon of Hinghwa people. It is a shame how some people change the name pa mien to loh mien. It taste the same but the appeal to a true blooded Hinghwa is dimished....

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heng Hwa's are from Fujian province. i am a true-blood henghwa (all 4 of my grandparents are henghwa. so, here's a pedigree talking. heehee). food tends to be on the salty side most of the times (or at least, that's how my 2 grandmothers cooked them).

one important component in henghwa dishes is the chinese dried seaweed (not the teriyaki-marinated japanese versions). they are often deep fried and added to vermicelli. yum-yum.

henghwa's are mainly involved in business of transportation. both my grandfathers own bicycle shops, which later evolve into motorcycle shops.

love your blog, joone. been printing out your archives. plan to make a eatery manual out of it.

thanks for your efforts

4:56 PM  

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