Food Champ 今食代 – East Coast Road (Closed)

(Food Champ had since ceased operations.)

Food Champ is a newly-opened eatery along East Coast Road which had been in business for around a month.

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Situated right beside Mongkok Dim Sum, Food Champ also serves Dim Sum alongside roasted meats and noodles. Furnished in a rather simple but haphazard manner, the walls are covered with metal platings at half height while fitted with wooden and marble furniture.

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(Prawn Rice Roll)

Being the first dish to appear at the table, the Prawn Rice Roll set the expectations for the following dishes well. Rice roll was smooth, slippery and slurpy, carried a rice-y taste while the soy sauce helps to lift the flavours by adding a savoury taste and a hint of mellow sweetness to the rice rolls. The prawns came pretty plump and fresh; a pretty well-executed rice roll dish here.

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(Har Kow)

Har Kow was also pretty decent here; the skin was not too thick nor too thin and did the dumplings did not stick to one another or onto the paper lined beneath. The prawns, just like in the Prawn Rice Roll, were plump and fresh, delivering a good bite.

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(Stir-Fry Carrot Cake)

One of the dishes that could do with some improvement in terms of execution was the Stir-Fry Carrot Cake. While the overall texture of the carrot cake chunks was pretty soft, the dish could not carry a harmonised flavour from the other ingredients that it was stir-fried in, resulting in a dish that lacked complexity in flavours and a tad on the bland side. Perhaps they could consider adding preserved turnip (cai po) and shallots to help enhance the flavour of the dish further.

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(Yam Paste Custard Bun)

While Food Champ serves a Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun on their menu, they recommend the Yam Paste Custard Bun which is rather unique to themselves. The buns were decently-sized and came with adequate thickness while the insides are filled with molten yam paste custard that is pretty similar to the local favourite Liu Sha Bao. The flavour of the custard was a crossover between the fillings found in the Taro Pie of Burger King (or the discontinued Old Chang Kee version) and the traditional bowl of yam paste; the flavour comes pretty much earthier than the ones found in the abovementioned pies and also substantially less sweet, but also just a little more liquid than those of the traditional yam paste. An item that yam paste lovers should give a try at the very least.

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(Siew Mai)

Serving Siew Mai in its simplest form, Food Champ’s Siew Mai makes the versions served in restaurants and other fine dining restaurants feel over-excessive with the use of too many ingredients. Simply just a chunk of pork wrapped in yellow skin, the Siew Mai comes with a good bite and pretty simplistic; works great with the Cantonese-style chilli on the side for a little kick in flavour.

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(Char Siew Bun)

The Char Siew Bun were actually pretty decent though there are better ones around. The bun itself were fluffy without being too dense, though the filling could do a little saucier. That being said, we did enjoy the sauce which is more towards the savoury side, while the cut of the meat used for its filling was pretty fatty but diced in smaller chunks that gave the bun just a good amount of bite that is still pretty tender overall.

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(Steamed Pork Ribs)

Steamed Pork Ribs was one of our favourite dishes on the table. The portion of meat served was pretty generous, with some parts having only a small chunk of bones. The meat was pretty tender, while the steamed pork ribs came with a savoury yet sweet broth from the fermented black beans and honey; a pretty good balance of flavours at play. Biting on the chilli evokes a good hint of spiciness and aroma, though part of us was missing the yam chunks that some places would have included. Still, one of the dishes we would recommend here nonetheless.

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(Roast Pork + Char Siew – Personal Platter)

Despite being the last to appear on the table, the Roast Pork and Char Siew platter that we have ordered was the dish that made the most impression. The portion was decent for a personal portion at $5, and while the Roast Pork was not particularly memorable for it generally lacked the crisp skin that we were looking for, the Char Siew was superb with its crusted exterior while coming with tender and succulent meat. Coated with sauce and what seemed to be malt sugar, the glistening char siew came with a lingering sweetness, even at the charred bits. Simply heavenly.

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The food at Food Champ had both hits and misses, but overall it’s still pretty decent and some dishes such as the Steamed Pork Ribs and Char Siew were pretty stellar and worth trying; quite an impressive feat for a new eatery. Service was also pretty fine with courteous staff, though we had to remind them about three of the items that we have ordered which did not come after a while which they responded pretty quickly. That being said, it is pretty much a competitive neighbourhood to be in to serve dim sum and other Chinese fare, not to mention that it also faces stiff competition from Mongkok Dim Sum next door. Hopefully, Food Champ would be able to maintain the standards for those dishes they are doing exceptionally well, while continue to improve on service as well as the execution of other dishes; we would definitely find ourselves back again for the Char Siew as well as to try other dishes another time.

Food Champ 今食代
195 East Coast Road
Singapore 428900

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