I have been presenting the SPH Food Masters Awards for three years now and I always look forward to the one day of the year where I get to do a food trail across Singapore! Over the years I have discovered many interesting eateries while giving out the awards and today’s eatery is another one of the them!
This little chef owner Zi Char is another one of those places best described as a “Hidden Gem”. Tucked below an old HDB flat in Bukit Ho Swee, it is the kind of place that no one really goes to unless you are living around the area.
The one dish that really caught our attention was the garlic fried pork. This is the type of dish that you would get hooked on after the first bite. At first glance, there seems to be an inordinate amount of garlic, but somehow it works! The pork is marinated with nam yee and fried till it is golden before a whole bowl of smashed garlic is added to the oil and fried thill it’s fragrant and crisp! The whole thing is then given a drizzle of dark sweet sauce to give it a sweet accent. It’s not the first time I have come across the dish, but Jia Wang’s version is about the best that we have tasted so far. 4.5/5
The other signature dish is their Assam Fish head that is served in an opeh leaf. The assam gravy is very well balanced and the Ang Koi fish head is lively and fresh. I don’t think the opeh leaf added any extra flavour to the dish if you are eating there, but it might if you brought it home. 4.25/5
They do their oyster omelette a little differently from other places. The sambal chilli is first mixed into the scrambled eggs before it is fried so that the flavours are all infused into the eggs and they are still half cooked on top while the bottom continues to be fried by the hot plate. The soft eggs taste a little like otah which goes quite well with the oysters. 4.25/5
Other staples like the French Beans were done very well. It really does make a difference when the chef also happens to own the joint. The beans were crisp and sweet and the dried prawn garnishing was generous. Not the best I have ever tasted, but very good. 4.25/5
Pork trotter beehoon $9
If you are looking for a one dish meal, you might want to try the pork trotter beehoon. Most stalls just use canned pork trotters for this dish, so the secret lies in the way the beehoon is fried. The version at Jia Wang has got the requisite wok hei, so it passes the test! 4.25/5
Cosy little Chef/Owner zi char in a secluded old HDB estate. The crispy pork and garlic is definitely the star but the other dishes are also very competent.
Jia Wang Cafe