There are many types of chicken wings. There is the buffalo wings from the US, spicy wings from UK, BBQ wings from …..er….Australia? You get what I mean……but none of the chicken wing variants can claim to be a country’s favourite food. The exception is Singapore, where Prawn Paste Chicken Wings is the country’s favourite (according to some trusted surveys).
This restaurant has the best fried prawn paste chicken wings (har cheong gai, as it is commonly known in Singapore). The right fermented prawn or shrimp paste, sufficient marinating time for the flavour to infuse into the wings and the right deep frying temperature are 3 crucial factors in making a good prawn paste chicken wings. Ban Leong Wah Hoe has perfected this. The chicken wings are crunchy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside and flavoursome all round. They are delicious. I have kept coming back for more since my first bite many years ago. Yes, I am an addict!
I was told that Ban Leong Wah Hoe has been around for more than two decades. It must be a testament to the quality of the food it has been producing, as the setting is pretty inconspicuous. It is a simple and relatively inexpensive Chinese restaurant, or Zi Char as referred to in Singapore. The round tables and chairs are basic, similar to those that you will get from catering companies. It has a fish tank section showcasing the fresh fishes on offer, but nothing flashy. It occupies two shop lots with sittings within the shop area and outside along the walkway. There is no air-conditioning in sight, but plenty of powerful fans.
Next on the menu is Asian Clams or La La which is stir fried with a touch of chilli and green vegetables. This dish is finished off with a steam/simmer for the ingredients to come together. You have to have the meat from the clams with a scoop of the sauce…together you will get plenty of shellfish punch, amazing flavour. The meat has an interesting ever so slightly rubbery texture to it.
The Hot Plate Beancurd is a unique dish. Don’t think I came across it anywhere else. It is Japanese beancurd, peeled prawns and omelette in a sizzling hotplate topped off with healthy portion of a mildly spicy sauce. I am unsure about the flavour of this dish, seems a touch overpowering to enjoy the subtle taste from the beancurd. The overcooked prawns certainly didn’t help either.
Apart from the dishes reviewed today, many people have shared glowing reviews about the chilli crab, pepper crab and mee sua. I’ll have to go back again and take some decent photos of it next time and update this blog.
Ban Leong Wah Hoe is kids friendly and there are plenty of child seats available.