Choon Hoy Parlour: New concept from the folks of The Masses weaves a vibrant tapestry of local heritage flavours

By Evan Mua May 25, 2024
Choon Hoy Parlour: New concept from the folks of The Masses weaves a vibrant tapestry of local heritage flavours
The Masses has vacated Beach Road but Choon Hoy Parlor takes its place! Photos: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

Beach Road lost one of its most iconic F&B fixtures in late April when stalwart The Masses moved to its new Capitol Singapore location.

After seven memorable years, there was an indelible, restaurant-sized void in its place. Thankfully, The Masses’ 36-year-old chef-owner Dylan Ong was already one step ahead.

As of May 15, 85 Beach Road officially has a new tenant: Choon Hoy Parlor. Following a soft-launch period, it ceremoniously opened its doors to the public.

“Singapore soul food”

choon hoy parlor
After seven years, 85 Beach Road has a new facade. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

Much like its older sibling, the new restaurant pays the deepest homage to familiar local flavours.

By contrast, though, this concept is also a supremely personal one for Dylan. The restaurant’s name is a tribute to his mother, who had raised him by herself after the family patriarch suffered an unfortunate stroke. She’d taken up three jobs to support the family.

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It retains many of its old eclectic trappings but an array of flowers soften the edge. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

In paying respect to his biggest role model, Dylan sought to engender a style of “Singapore soul food” that was more intimate and closer to the heart — or “food that tugs at the heartstrings”, as he puts it.

His vision: To incorporate time-honoured heritage cuisine and guarded heirloom recipes into The Masses’ iconic style of modern-Singaporean cooking.

To achieve his ambition, Dylan has enlisted the skilled helping hands of two up-and-coming local female chefs to helm the kitchen at Choon Hoy Parlor.

One is chef Benji Chew, 37, whose parents had specialised in zi char when she was younger, before an eventual transition into selling rojak in a smaller, wieldier stall as they aged.

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Food for the soul is the mission here. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

The other is chef Renee Tang, 29, who first made her mark when she opened the now-defunct Jelebu Dry Laksa, raved for its unique and addictive dry laksa. 

But it’s not just dry laksa — she also brings to the fray an assortment of heritage Teochew recipes that she has inherited from her grandmother.

A melange of influences

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This dish marries two cultures. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

Choon Hoy Parlor’s menu is one that’s eclectic — very eclectic. 

It’s evident from start to finish. The small plates showcase the spectrum of Singapore’s cuisine, ranging from gratifying Indian favourites to niche Teochew specialities.

An intriguing bite to start your meal is the Fu Zhou oyster cake stuffed in pani puri (S$9.90 for three, S$18.90 for six) that marries two cultures.

Essentially a deconstructed oyster cake, it builds upon a garlic sponge with an ensemble of oysters, ikan bilis, peanuts, minced pork and scallion, encased within a crunchy pani puri shell — a gratifying one-bite wonder.

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Rojak ice cream is something new to us. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

Then there’s also the CHP signature rojak, our own way (S$8.90) where chef Benji borrows from her family’s experience in making rojak, but gives it a drastic twist.

It’s served with Japanese cucumber, jicama, ginger flower, you tiao (dough fritters), and salted egg and crowned with a dollop of rojak ice cream, giving it a taste profile that’s familiar, but with a wildly different, colder texture.

choon hoy parlor
It’s impossible to stop eating these fried pomfrets. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

But if there was one dish that came out on top as one of our table’s favourites, it had to be the mini fried pomfret (S$8.90 for five, S$15.90 for 10).

A motley of barely palm-sized pomfrets, it’s served with Choon Hoy Parlor’s special plum taucheong (fermented soybean paste) sauce, adding an addictive burst of tang and salinity that further elevates the flavourful and crunchy fish. 

You’ll inadvertently find yourself shovelling these into your mouth without restraint or dignity — it’s so worth the calories.

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The crackle and the fragrance drove us wild. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

If you’re looking for something even more indulgent, then look no further than the Malay-inspired ayam goren berempah (S$15.90 for six). 

Raucous crackles and juicy insides, along with an intoxicating marinade and serunding (spiced coconut floss), make this one of the best ways to kick off your meal at Choon Hoy Parlor.

Choon Hoy Parlor’s signatures

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Chicken rice might just be the ultimate Singapore soul food. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

But if we’re talking about food that tugs at the heartstrings, it’s undoubtedly our hawker creature comforts such as laksa and chicken rice.

And if it’s chicken rice you’re looking for, Choon Hoy Parlor’s signature Hainanese kampong chicken is one of the recommended signatures, priced affordably at S$15.90 for half a chicken and S$28.90 for a whole chook.

There’s nothing inherently outlandish about this, just great execution that ensures the silkiest, most tender chicken. 

On top of that, it’s adorned with balmy ginger and scallion and also accompanied by some zesty chilli to complete the experience.

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The newest rendition of the Jelebu dry laksa might be even better. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

Of course, rice is important and the suggested partner-in-crime is the A Lil Lard A Lil Soy A Lil Love rice (S$4) that contains starchy short-grain rice jazzed up with fried pork lard and soy sauce.

Should there be strong laksa cravings, you’ve also come to the right place: Chef Renee has rolled out a new version of her signature, titled the CHP x Jelebu signature dry laksa v2.0 (S$18.90, feeds three).

Compared to the original, this version at Choon Hoy Parlor takes on a wetter Hokkien-mee-esque look which uses both thick and thin beehoon, all slicked in a creamy gravy — absolutely fragrant, spice-rich and umami. 

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Soup for comfort, who says no? Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

Oh and the fresh cockles? Scandalously plump and juicy.

While we’re still on the topic of comfort, Choon Hoy Parlor also serves up wholesome soups such as the CHP signature white pepper pig stomach collagen soup (S$25.90) that’s somehow crisp, sweet, rich, and peppery all at the same time.

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The luscious and melt-in-mouth short rib is a showstopper. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

Zi char enthusiasts would probably also be entranced by the CHP signature 16-hours bone-in coffee angus short rib (S$69 for 700g to 800g) that uses Vietnamese-inspired seasoning in the marinade to give it that extra zing.

Each sliver of meat is luscious, melt-in-the-mouth and tastes just as good on its own, but can be wrapped up with lettuce and pickled cucumber for more balanced bites.

For your dessert stomach, Choon Hoy Parlor also offers some tasty twists on nostalgic staples.

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Cendol with a twist. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

Go for the yuzu citron chng tng (S$10.90) for something refreshing, or the CHP signature durian cendol (S$13.90) for an intriguing rejig, which features velvety corn espuma on top and gula melaka sponge cake at the base.

If you ask us, there just might be a bit too many dishes to parse through and the diversity of influences is crazy — but that’s a good problem to have.

There’s definitely something for everyone here and, more importantly, the eclectic but earnest flavours really do tug at the heartstrings.

This was a hosted tasting.

For more ideas on what to eat, read our stories on the other new hot dining spots you ought to visit and which stalls are worth travelling to Changi Village for.

Do explore the new GrabFood Dine-in service for awesome deals.

You can also book a ride to Choon Hoy Parlor.

Choon Hoy Parlor

85 Beach Road, 01-02
Nearest MRT: Bugis
Open: Monday to Saturday (12pm to 3pm, 5.30pm to 9.30pm), Sunday (12pm to 3pm, 5.30pm to 9pm)

85 Beach Road, 01-02
Nearest MRT: Bugis
Open: Monday to Saturday (12pm to 3pm, 5.30pm to 9.30pm), Sunday (12pm to 3pm, 5.30pm to 9pm)

Evan Mua


Evan started off writing about food on Instagram, before joining outlets such as Buro and Confirm Good to pursue his passion. His best work usually comes after his first whisky shot in the morning.

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