The recommended offerings here include a range of roast meat, such as roast duck, crispy roast pork (siew yuk) and barbequed pork (char siew).
While the roast duck and char siew certainly lived up to expectations, the star dish was definitely the prawn dumplings (sui jiao). A single dumpling easily covered the entire base of the Chinese-style soup spoon typically found in such eateries. The filling of this relatively big dumpling was chock-ful of good stuff: a whole prawn, which was fresh and crunchy; marinated meat that was infused with shreds of black fungus and grounded dried cuttlefish, which imparted a distinct umami flavour.
We had six pieces of these dumplings that came with the dumpling noodle soup. The noodles were cooked perfectly. It was springy. At $3 for this dish, it’s certainly value-for-money.
Now, back to the meat–the char siew was so good that we concluded it was worth every sinful calorie. It was cut in large bite-sized chunks and not the usual paper-thin slices. The barbeque flavour was obvious, with enough “wok hei” (heat of the wok) to create that smoldering, burnt taste. We appreciated that the meat wasn’t bright red in colour—proof that very little or no colouring was used in the cooking process.
The siew yuk, however, disappointed us. While it passed the taste test, it failed the one for texture. The skin of the pork wasn’t crispy at all and the meat felt like it had been braised instead.
The platter of siew yuk and char siew set us back $6.
Meanwhile, duck lovers should consider ordering the roast duck noodle ($4). Again, the noodle was done perfectly al-dente. Paired with the special sauce, the dish shined. We could’ve eaten just the saucy noodles alone. We had the breast meat and it was firm without being overly dry. It also didn’t have that “ducky” aroma, thank goodness! The noodles were served with a full-bodied soup that was slurpingly delicious.
This dish scored also for good value, coming in at $4 per serving.
Overall, Hiang Ji is a simple, non-fussy eatery where the service is polite and efficient. It is clear though that the focus is on the food.
Hiang Ji Roasted Meat & Noodle House
Address: 190 Toa Payoh Lorong 6
Opening hours: 10am-10pm