Lee Heng Restaurant: No milk XO Fish Head Bee Hoon!

San Lou Hor Fun

In England there is the pub. In Japan, the Izakaya. Here in Singapore we have the Cze Char (lit cook fry). The Cze Char really started as a kitchen away from home where you get to eat home style cooked food. I guess, in the old days when most of our forefathers were immigrants who have left their families back in their home country, the Cze Char is their surrogate home kitchen where you come back from a hard day's work to find something to eat.

Our Cze Char dishes are unique because they are an amalgamation of the styles of cooking from the different dialect groups mostly from the Southern Provinces of China. In the early days, I would expect that Cze Chars could be classified into Teochew, Hokkien or Cantonese, but as time went by, new Cze Char hits are copied by other Cze Char stalls such that nowadays, Cze Chars serve a cuisine that can be called uniquely Singaporean.

The Cze Char dishes continue to evolve, taking in the new ideas from other parts of the world. For example, we have Siang Hee's pumpkin prawns which incorporates western flavours into the dish. We are also seeing more Cze Char places incorporating Japanese ideas like wasabi prawns and fried udon noodles. Over time, these too will be considered classic Cze Char dishes.

I realize that there are still so many Cze Char places which I have not blogged about yet and so I am now making a more concerted effort to archive Singapore's best Cze Char restaurants. It is a daunting task because it would be difficult to have a top 10 Cze Char restaurant list. But what I thought would be feasible is to list the best Cze Char dishes and where to find them instead. So I have started a sort of Cze Char Menu in our forum where everyone can give their inputs as to where to find the best Hor fun, Pork Ribs, XO Fishhead Bee Hoon, Yam Ring, Har Lok Prawns and so on. Do join in and add your favourite Cze Chars onto the growing list!

Fish Head Bee Hoon

Most Cze Chars would serve the usual Cze Char favourites like sweet and sour pork, Hor Fun and hotplate Tofu, but there seems to be one branch of Cze Char which serve what I term as Hong Kong St style food. Hong Kong St was famous for its Fish Head Bee Hoon and San Lou Hor Fun and some Cze Chars have made this the focus of their restaurants. Why this should be so I really don't know, since the ingredients should be available at any Cze Char restaurant.

The original Hong Kong St Cze Char is no more, but there are some who claim direct descent from the original stall. The most famous one who would stake the claim Hong Kong St Chun Kee. Since then, lots of "Hong Kong St" style Cze Chars have sprung up using the "Hong Kong St" name.

The thing that attracted me to this stall is the fact that they still make their Fish Head Bee Hoon the traditional way without the addition of milk. The way to do this is deep fry the fish head first and then add the stock in a quick rolling boil in order to form an emulsion. This is the case with the fish head bee hoon but not the sliced fish bee hoon where they still need to add milk to give it that milky consistency. That is essentially because there is a lot more collagen in the fish head which aids in the emulsification process.

I like the San Lou Hor Fun here as it comes with a bit of gravy and the Hor Fun is smooth and slippery. With a lot of other stalls, the Hor Fun tends to lack the gravy, but this stall makes theirs with a bit of gravy which is very nice. 4/5 The fish head bee hoon is also very good though I felt that it could have had a bit more ooomph in the soup. However, as I said, it is one of the few stalls which pride themselves at making it without the use of milk powder which I think is quite commendable. 4/5

Signature Pork Ribs

As with many Cze Char stalls, they have a few signature dishes where everyone tends to order. One of them is the special pork ribs which is braised pork soft bone served with fried Man Tou which is very good. The meat is braised till tender but not to the point of being dry and the sauce is excellent with the fried Man Tou. 4.25/5

Prawn Rolls

The other signature dish is their Prawn Rolls which is quite special as they put a whole prawn into each roll rather than mincing it. The prawns are also quite large and fresh so each prawn roll is quite a treat. 4.25/5


If you are looking for an old school Cze Char in a rustic environment, then this is a good place to visit. The food is very good in general, nothing mindblowing, but a good place to gather a few friends and have a nice meal and reminisce about how Singapore was like in the Seventies.

Lee Heng Restaurant Blk 118, #01-29,
Commonwealth Crescent
Singapore 140118
Open for lunch and Dinner daily


cactuskit said...

Wow! Looks good. I love old style rustic cze char. Must visit it. Thks for the review Les. Is this place across from 2 Chefs? : )

Jasmine said...

Will definitely give it a try since Commonwealth is rather near my place. The Ngoh Hiang really looks enticing!

ieat said...

Yes just across from 2 chefs.

For desserts there is Bee Gardens and Xi Le Ting in the food centre upstairs.

Mutton soup across.

Just click on Commonwealth Crescent Food Centre and you can see all the food around there!

J2Kfm said...

even here in Malaysia, the fish head beehoon is served differently in different states.
in the Klang Valley, the fish head beehoon almost always incorporate fresh milk/evaporated milk and lots of tomatoes into the concoction.
while the northern version, in states like Penang and Perak, the soup is commonly the clear broth, sometimes with addition of salted vegetables.

dory said...

actually i dun like my fish bee hoon soup with milk.. i prefer clear original soup.. (no seaweed also) pure original soup..

nasriza said...

hi, just drop here, to say hai.. zup..

Holy Drummer said...

Wah the ngor hiang looks power packed!

P.S: Had solid ngor hiang @ Charlie's last evening.

For fish soup, my fav remains the one @ Katong SC basement.

ALiNe said...


cactuskit said...

The one besides the chicken rice Leslie revioewed Holydrummer? I haven't tried that stall. Will go check it out. : )

holybro said...

Don't forget to try Big D's grill which is just next to the fish head stall!

Holy Drummer said...

Cactuskit: Yes, it's called Sen Huat Fish Soup. Nice old couple helming it. Super cheng yet tasty soup. Healthy stuff too.

cactuskit said...

Holybro, I think you're referring to the Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hoon at Blk 46 Holland Drive. I like that stall too : )

Drummer, thks : )

jems said...

This is the one I have mentioned some time back in da forum. The prawn rolls is good. The black bean deep fried fish head is also good. signature pork ribs is very popular. their claypot yong tau foo is also quite yummy :)

makando said...

Yes cze char stalls. They are more harder to pick, cause more dishes are at stake.
Acknowledge Leslie and team had put in a few dishes on this topic.
just great!

bird² said...

Went there for dinner with my folks after seeing the post, and ordered the san lou, fishhead bee hoon, braised pork, prawn rolls and "mai" vege with the "tau joo".

San lou - Not too bad;
Bee Hoon - Not bad;
Prawn rolls - Could do better with some water chestnuts in it;
Vege - Nice but a tad oily. Must eat with rice otherwise it will be too salty; and

Braised pork - A total disappointment. Sauce tastes like some kind of BBQ sauce, the meat was tough and not tender.

Anonymous said...

True, true ...

I've ben following this forum for awhile and have gong to those place mentioned by ieat. Honestly, most of the time I ended up with disappointment. My only success was the Crystal Dining In which is really good.

I wonder did they cooked differently for ieat because he is a reviewer. Or is it ieat has lower the bar when he is doing the review.

Another good example of good review but bad food is the briyani rice. Nowadays I take it that ieat and I have different taste bud..

ieat said...

I guess we have no yuan Anonymous.

But with the Biryani, a lot of others also said it was good. So for that one case, it might be that you are in the minority.

Derrick said...

cactus, we should try here sometime

hmmm, two chefs and the chicken wing place was so crowded on weekends with queues and queues of people. parking not easy too

i would suggest a more sane time to dine here would be a weekday evening.

There is a really good fish head/slice and hor fun stall in the same food center as Bee garden. (go up the escalator). Very popular and have to wait a bit

My Dad always used to bring me to eat there as a secondary one student after my tution in maths... =P

cactuskit said...

Ate lunch here with Reychen (nice meeting you for the first time my fren), soundman, chris and porkiepie for the latter's farewell lunch. Nice meal. All the best Porkiepie! Stay in touch via the blog! : )

Choon Boon said...

Does anyone know if this stall is still open?

John Dough said...

Bad Experience at Lee Heng Restaurant !
I frequent Lee Heng Restaurant about 3 to 4 times a month for the last 2 years. However in mid Apr 2013, i was served with sweet sour pork that was Rancid臭油 (i.e. fried in bad oil) at Lee Heng. I developed a sore throat after that. I told the stall lady about the Rancid food, she did'nt even apologise, and she only quickly inform her chefs to change the frying oil. I'm not going back there anymore. Lee Heng Restaurant has been in business for very very long, how can they have this kind of issue?


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