Cheap & Good: Hua Zai HK Style Roasted Delight
The scrumptious roast pork at a stall in a Tampines coffee shop takes two days to make.
Mr Sky Tiew, a supervisor at Hua Zai HK Style Roasted Delight, learnt his roasting skills from a Hong Kong chef and has obviously honed them to perfection over the years.
The 36-year-old Malaysian says the meat is roasted until it is 60 per cent cooked and allowed to cool before the cooking is completed the next day. And this is partly what makes the pork nice, he says with a tinge of pride. Another important factor, he adds, is the control of the roasting temperature. And that is all he would reveal.
The proof is in the eating. On the few occasions I eat there, the roast pork is still warm and the skin so crispy it crackles in the mouth. The meat is firm yet moist, and a delight to savour.
The roast pork is in such great demand that you can see a few men seasoning slabs of pork belly at the back of the stall.
Last Saturday, I ordered a mixed platter for two (above), with soya sauce chicken, roast pork and char siew, which costs $10. The roast meats go well with a plate of chicken rice (50 cents), noodles ($1) and dumpling soup ($3).
The well-seasoned char siew is very good, with the succulent meat infused with a tinge of sweetness. The meat from the soya sauce-braised chicken falls off the bone easily and is flavourful to boot.
The dumplings are tasty and plump with pork filling and a whole prawn each.
Prices at the clean-looking, five-year-old corner stall are reasonable. You can get a plate of char siew rice or roast pork rice for $2.50.
Mr Tiew says he believes in keeping the food affordable as he makes more with a higher turnover.
That he does not have to worry about. The trickle of customers starting in the morning builds up to a long queue come lunchtime, which is why I usually go there at about 11am on Saturdays whenever I crave roast pork.
HUA ZAI HK STYLE ROASTED DELIGHT
Tampines West Foodcourt, Block 827 Tampines Avenue 3
Open: 7am to 8.30pm daily
This article was first published on March 22, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.