Jump to content

Weekend food diaries: Legendary Hong Kong Restaurant @ Jurong Point

Weekend food diaries: Legendary Hong Kong Restaurant @ Jurong Point

donutdontu

502 views

Broadly speaking, Cantonese food isn’t hard to find in Singapore.

Dim sum joints are a dim(e) a dozen. And if we’re talking larger names/chains, Swee Choon, Tim Ho Wan, and of course, Canton Paradise, are the first to come to my mind. Even hawker centre/food court staples, such as wanton noodles, or sweet and sour pork at caifan stalls, have their roots in Cantonese cuisine. 

Traditional Hong Kong-style diners, however? Those require more conscientious hunting. Also known as 茶餐厅 (cha can ting in Mandarin, caa can teng in Cantonese), these feature a distinct, functional style of interior decoration - tiled walls, rounded metal chairs, etc - and importantly, also a wide ranging menu including virtually every diner-favourite you can imagine. Naturally, we're talking milk tea, bo luo bao, egg noodles, cheese baked rice, toast and of course, dim sum.

04.thumb.jpg.509f0df27d66c432430abf1aa0b28fe9.jpgThe perceived rarity of these diners in Singapore is perhaps the reason why I routinely return to one specific spot that I feel captures the magic so well: The original HK Legendary Restaurant and Cafe outlet, housed on the third floor of Jurong Point (which - yes - is confoundingly located at Boon Lay MRT station). For context, I live in Punggol.

The length of even three entire blog posts would still not do justice to the breadth of delicacies you can eat here. As such, I'll just list some of the dishes my mum and I got to eat during our most recent visit:

09.thumb.jpg.708ccb6578e999fb041fdabe460010cb.jpg

Starting out with some iced milk tea (the tea leaves are flown in directly from HK!) and garlic kai lan...

08.thumb.jpg.8178c9b5eaba25fbb980d2d88ac6b4f6.jpg

My mum loves her sliced fish porridge

11.thumb.jpg.3a52f7fa6cb4389189f5b0b60db730dc.jpg

HK style fishball soup! Everything here - the taste of the soup, the consistency of the fishballs, and of course, the inclusion of yet more kai lan - makes this really different from the sort you find at bar chor mee stalls

07.thumb.jpg.f04bc64f70d2cb4dfc6ddfed164548d0.jpg

What would an outing at a caa can teeng be without some har gao?

10.thumb.jpg.d2fc8ba14fff272db0f5805120727a5f.jpg

And of course - some proper indulgence!

 

The cherry on top of the icing (or the sweet chilli on top of the har gao, if we want to remain on-theme) is that your orders are taken and filled out via coloured A4 sheets - in pink, green and yellow - which list down the entire menu of options available. In all, as charmingly close to the experience I've gotten from my few trips to Hong Kong.

Ruminating - again

I started reflecting more deeply on my previous food outing about why certain culinary spaces stand out to me, and in this reflexive process of documenting my weekend adventures, it has increasingly become clearer to me that I tend to associate emotions with the act of eating. 

05.thumb.jpg.6b33250aca098d37f06fe147e8b8f1a8.jpgAs with DMQ Ban Mian and its sleepy Ubi environs, Legendary Hong Kong and Jurong Point both also hold a special place in my heart. (Notably, this isn't the only Legendary Hong Kong outlet. The one at Funan - a cart noodles-only joint - feels like a feeble, watered-down version of the original outlet; a distant offshoot un-seasoned by the franchise's stardust. The one at Rochester Park, while pleasantly quaint, feels too polished.) 

For starters, you feel like you've been transported outside of Singapore even before stepping into the restaurant. The reason? That entire corridor along Level 3 - also known as Mongkok Street - is decked out in glaring neon signs that evoke the bustling lanes of downtown Hong Kong. 

Then, the very fact that it takes 40 minutes by car to get here (yes, I know how indulgent it is, and how privileged I am, to be able to drive so far just for a special meal) means that any visit here has already been preceded by a mental state of serenity. 

13.thumb.jpg.19d9a8113cc7a7e5a8f1de2057bbb4b1.jpgWhen I make the cross-island trek, I am often relaxed; restful in the knowledge that my evening is not beholden to any other appointment, piece of work, or activity. Having found it increasingly difficult to consistently carve these spaces of rest out for myself in recent years, the comfort that the restaurant envelops me in is hard to put into words. 

There are also the memories that the restaurant evokes: Tea break after fetching my sister from NIE; dining with my mum after finishing my last exam of my final year at uni; and even just transporting the entire family over at last, when business resumed for the first time after the pandemic. 

Once again, I admit that a lot of this has been heavily romanticised by me. Legendary Hong Kong would just be another fancy dining spot if I were a denizen of the West - its food, too overpriced to be enjoyed regularly; Mongkok Street's neon lights, too garish to evoke any un-Singaporean magic. 

12.thumb.jpg.bb1fe14139317b51d694284d60ce059e.jpgYet as mentioned previously, it is precisely these reliable - if irregular - spaces of solace that feel so precious given how mundane and trying the weekly hike from Monday to Friday can be.

Incidentally, Legendary Hong Kong at Jurong Point underwent a significant refresh sometime within the last two years. I remember lamenting to my parents that the place had lost a bit of its charm when we returned for the first time after; a part of me fearful that the place would soon befall the fate of every other site in Singapore by relinquishing its old-time allure. I hope the once-in-a-decade round of renovation is the only thing that will befall this place. I'd hate to permanently lose this other world, in which - in turn - I feel the weightlessness to lose my worries in.

- Matt

P.S. If anyone has any HK-diner style places to recommend, please feel free to do so! (Again, Xin Wang does not count...) 




4 Comments


Recommended Comments

aiyo. so far. East side best side! Can review Five Star Hong Kong Style Handmade Dim Sum At Shun Li Building next round? 

Link to comment
On 4/3/2024 at 12:34 PM, kobayashiGT said:

aiyo. so far. East side best side! Can review Five Star Hong Kong Style Handmade Dim Sum At Shun Li Building next round? 

Good!

  • Praise 2
Link to comment
On 4/3/2024 at 11:36 AM, inlinesix said:

Good!

Good, you never bring me go eat! 😁


good things must share! 

  • Haha! 1
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Is 'tiny living' really irrelevant in Singapore?

    I discussed the possibility of living in tiny houses in Singapore in an earlier blog post. But as we know, it isn't an option to begin with – no thanks, of course, to our lack of land space.  Someone also pointed out that the idea of tiny houses is "romanticised" – which, I don't deny (but hey, that's why it's a dream). While it's clear tiny houses aren't going to work out here, the concept of 'tiny living' is; not just physically but also mentally. Anyone who has lived enough years lo

    dailydoseofcoffee

    dailydoseofcoffee

×
×
  • Create New...