Friday, November 29, 2013

Seow Choon Hua Restaurant : Traditional Foochow Cuisine

My father said he brought me to eat the fish balls here when I was 5 but honestly I have no memory of this. Seow Choon Hua has been around for more than 70 years and is one of the few places in Singapore that you can try traditional Foochow cuisine.

But now, I'm back at this place, which specializes in handmade Foo Chow fish balls. These are definitely not your typical QQ fish balls that you can bounce or throw like ping pong. 

Made with fish paste coming from four different types of fish, each golf-ball sized fishballs are dense and cottony. Meat filling is flavourful though some might find it a little too salty. Precisely because they are handmade, I had to be forgiving when I picked one with literally no meat at all.
The Spicy Dry Mee Pok $4.50 looks more like wan ton mee style than Bak Chor Mee style Mee Pork. Less chewy and firm, they did not have much spicy kick. 
Even if you are not pregnant or under confinement, you can order this bowl of Red Wine Mee Sua $5.00. Compared to the Hakka version, this one is less sweet. 
The broth did not smell overwhelmingly of the "Ang zao" and was not oily at all, though the flavours did not penetrate into the chicken. I think it would be acceptable even to those who are afraid of the wine.If you like to make this dish at home, they sell bottles of "ang zao" or the red glutinous wine lees (红槽)
Besides Foo Chow fishballs, we had the 福州燕皮 Foochow Yanpi $4.50, which is another traditional dumpling made with pork. Think a fusion of 60% wanton and 40%Siu Mai. The resilient skin was stuffed with filling made with minced pork and water chestnuts. Very meaty and no less delicious than the Foochow fishballs.
Lastly, despite knowing that I should not overestimate our stomach space, I stubbornly ordered another dish-the Abacus balls. It's steamed and so significantly less oily. But flavour wise, it still lacks the punch from shallots, diced mushrooms and sesame oil. 
Teochew Ah Pa and Hakka Ah Ma find that the Foochow fishballs and noodles taste different from that in the past. Perhaps due to a change of cooking hands. Nonetheless, I liked the Foochow fishballs here and hopefully I can still enjoy them when I'm old.



Seow Choon Hua Restaurant
33 Sultan Gate Singapore 198481 (Nearest station: Bugis)
Tel(65) 6298 2720 
10am–10pm (daily)

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