It seems that Xing Hua (Putien) cuisine is on an uprising of its own recently, considering the number of such establishments popping up in the heartlands.
Taking over the former premises of a Chinese eatery, Xinghua Delights is a newly opened establishment that serves up Xing Hua cuisine. Having seen a familiar face serving us in at Xinghua Delights, it was later revealed to us that the Xinghua Delights is helmed by the former head chef from The Rice Table at Sim Lim Square zichar-cum-economic rice shop situated just a couple of units away from Taste Good; we are also fans of their Cereal Chicken Rice) . Furnished rather simply, Xinghua Delights is more of a typical Chinese zichar eatery in terms of vibes, with more functional furnishings and fittings without a theme. Skimming through the menu served at Xinghua Delights, one would notice the jumble of items served here — apart from serving up Xing Hua cuisine, the establishment also serves up other Chinese cuisines such as Spicy Grilled Fish, whilst also serving up many zichar dishes that would be familiar to those who have had visited The Rice Table before.
(Xinghua Bee Hoon – Medium)
Going for the more authentic Xing Hua dishes on the menu here, we went for the Xinghua Bee Hoon. Available in small, medium and large sized options, we opted for the medium; a pretty decent size to share between three to four pax. The bee hoon comes pretty flavourful, yet light given how it was simmered in broth and reduced all the way down until the bee hoon absorbed the flavours. That being said, we did feel that more attention could be paid to the condiments that come alongside however; the strips of pork were a wee bit dry. While the prawns did not carry any undesirable stench, the flesh was difficult to separate from the shells. Despite so, we liked how the clams were seemingly fresh and slightly briny without any fishiness, while the seaweed provided a hint of umami. While not the best version of this dish that we have had tried, this would work well to satisfy any cravings developed for this dish.
(Stir-Fried Yam – Small)
Sharing a couple of the communal dishes on the menu, we went for the Stir-Fried Yam; an item we would not do without at any Xing Hua cuisine establishment. On first look, it is difficult to deny how spartan their rendition of this dish looks; one that is pretty much in-the-face without much garnishing. It also can be observed that the chunks of yam are exceptionally thickly cut here as opposed to other Xing Hua outfits we have visited thus far. Whilst the exterior of the chunks of Stir-Fried Yam were pretty crisp, the variant here would work well for those who prefer a heavier taste of the yam; the earthiness of yam is the main driver for the variant of this dish offered here at Xinghua Delights, while the malty sweetness coating its exterior takes on a complimenting role here. That being said, we felt that the dish could do with more consistency when it comes to the coating of the chunks of yam in the malty, sticky sweetness; some parts of the dish just was not coated in enough sweetness causing a flavour imbalance throughout the dish.
(Homemade Prawn Rolls – Small)
Perhaps the weakest link of all of the dishes we have had ordered at Xinghua Delights, the Homemade Prawn Rolls is an item that leaves much room for improvement. Yes, the variant at Xinghua Delights may have come with all the goodies; the inclusion of chestnut and perhaps even yam (?) were commendable, but the thick batter and the lack of meat just left our hopes hanging. Definitely a dish that would work with some tweaks to the recipe.
(Oyster Omelette – Small)
Having tried a number of variants of Oyster Omelettes from various Xing Hua outfits previously, the version at Xinghua Delights probably comes with their own twist. Whilst coming with the usual oysters scattered across an omelette, the Oyster Omelette also comes with long beans — a pretty interesting take that provides a crunch almost similar to cai por (preserved turnips). The oysters were fresh and briny, and the egg is relatively crisp around the edges and fluffy; a decent version of the dish that comes with their own take — rather creative overall.
Having tried a number of dishes from various categories at Xinghua Delights, we felt that the items we have had did definitely solve the cravings for Xing Hua cuisine, but could have been further refined for more impact. While the dishes do generally taste the part, minor details could have been better-taken care of, such as that of the condiments in the Xinghua Bee Hoon and Stir-Fried Yam. Whilst Xing Hua cuisine still remains a hard find in Singapore, the sudden expansion of brands such as Xing Hua Lou into food courts and the opening of more Putien stores across the island means that competition is getting stiffer in this segment of the F&B scene in recent years. Places like Xinghua Delights and other places which serve a jumble of dishes would work well with those who have yet to try, but are generally interested to give Xing Hua cuisine a try, allowing patrons to go for a mix of Xing Hua dishes and other familiar dishes for safe measure — their place in popularising Xing Hua cuisine being essential to the local F&B scene should not be overlooked. That being said, we wished they would have done a little more to create a more impressionable experience overall. Still, Xinghua Delights would be an interesting dining spot in the far north of the island, joining the league of Xing Hua eateries such as Heng Hua Restaurant at Yishun to offer diners yet another dining option, albeit different than your usual zichar stall, in this part of Singapore.
Xinghua Delights 回味轩兴化菜馆
7 Jalan Legundi
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/xinghuadelights/