Good Taste Zhu Chao (美味小炒) is a corner stall right by the main pathway of the hawker centre specialising in Zi char dishes. They have over 20 types of zi char noodles or rice. The name of the stall is a pun on the standard of the zi char dishes they served.
The hissing of gas and the smoking wok brought us to this stall. On closer inspection, the smoking hot wok to the start of each cooking are beckoning us to try the zi char. The cooking is helmed by an elderly gentleman in floral print shirt with a gentle disposition. The scenario takes a sharp 180 twist when this elderly chef starts cooking. With a swift swing of the handle, the stove bursts into flame with a roaring sound. The wok starts to spew white smoke. In goes a splash of oil and chopped garlic, the garlicky flavours starts to fill the air. He quickly seal all these flavour in with spoonfuls of flavourful broth. Followed by some seasonings, ingredients and a handful of jade green nai bai.
When the gravy starts bubbling to his desired consistency, he ladles the gravy atop a plate of pre-fried kway teow and brings everything to life again. The whole cooking scenario looks like a kungfu movie showcasing the master furiously cooking up a storm of good food. The other pair of stall hands will promptly bring over the hot piping plate of order and serve. After cooking, the elderly chef will take a back sit literally to recharge after using up his energy “元气” in each cooking session. The duo are unassuming and friendly hawkers.
They are generous with the free flow condiments to go with your order such as pickled green chilli, sambal belacan chilli sauce, lime, pepper, vinegar and soy sauce to please those with a penchant for intense taste palate.
We ordered the seafood horfun $4.50. The seafood horfun is basking in a luxurious pool of copper hue gooey gravy. For the price, you get prawns, sliced toman fish, loads of green nai bai and fish cake. The generous amount of gravy here is unheard of in the usual zi char and makes me curious.
The mystery of the large pool of gravy makes sense when you pick up each and every item in this dish and they are drenched in the savoury goodness. The kway teow are stir fried before hand and has a strong wok hei to it. The wok hei does not impart bitterness to the noodle but gives it a smoky flavour which many love. These coated kway teow are so silky and slippery that you need to go in together with a spoon and chopstick to pick them up.
The kway teows are interlaced with some slightly brown parts and some are just well cooked to ensure that there is a balance between the two. These are those kissed by the wok with slightly toasted edges to them.
Enjoy this with some pickled green chilli for some extra zest to the hearty horfun. The green chillis are like tiny sour bombs to the savoury horfun, making you yearn for more bites. Somehow the pickled green chilli tastes different here, almost like freshly pickled with an earthy flavour to it and with a crunch. Try the sambal belacan chilli the next time you are there with some lime, the chilli looks promising. We forgot to add some of it in our haste to dig in.
We easily polished off the plate of horfun as the portion is slightly small for a tasty plate like this.
Here is the Good Taste Zhu Chao menu at Queen Street. They have 20 choices of zi char – Yang Zhou fried rice, seafood fried rice, ginger onion chicken, ginger onion pork, sliced fish, sweet and sour pork, fried mixed vegetable, mee goreng, xing zhou bee hoon, fried Hong Kong mee, crispy noodle, mixed horfun, san lor, fried fish head thick bee hoon soup, twin fish thick bee hoon soup, fried fish soup, sliced fish soup, wok fried sliced fish bee hoon, lala bee hoon with sea prawn and sliced fish bee hoon with sliced abalone starting from $4 to $10.
The star of this plate is really the horfun with the gravy that you can slurp up, the other ingredients such as prawns, fish cake and cabbage are playing second fiddle. Head over to “Good Taste” Zhu Chao the next time you are there.
11.30 am till 9.45pm ( time subjected to change)
Albert Hawker Centre and Market
Good Taste Zhu Chao ( 美味小炒) Mei wei xiao chao
270 Queen St, #01-63, Singapore 180270
Good Taste Zhu Chao number: Not available